David Bailiff gets his first LSC Win and does so against a good Eastern New Mexico Squad- Here are 5 Thoughts on the big win.
- Overall-An impressive win against a good team. Eastern New Mexico is a pretty solid squad and they never gave up. They kept grinding away and refused to quit, even after the Lions went up 31-6. The good news is, the Lions kept firing away on offense. This team was prepared to take on a good conference opponent and the crowd was very into it. It was not a perfect win, but it was a win to feel good about heading into a harder test next week.
- Offense- Miklo Smalls really just wowed everyone today. He not only showed he could pass, he showed how he could buy time with his feet and make something big out of broken plays. He was just outstanding today and that is all I can really say. His numbers so far this year are this; 39 completions out of 49 attempts for 565 yards and 6 passing TD’s. If you look deeper, he is completing 80 percent of his passes and averaging 14.5 yards per completion. Chance Cooper had his best game in a Lion uniform as he caught two perfectly thrown passes for Touchdowns. EJ Thompson left the game after a foot injury and should be back, but Carandal Hale did a great job in his absence. Finally, the offensive line was just outstanding. They gave Smalls time to pass, but played not only great passing protection but also stayed with their blocks. The offensive unit was just very good tonight. Not perfect, but very good.
- Defense- Eastern took the opening drive and scored via a field goal. Once the Lions starting plugging holes and running lanes, it got easier to tell what the Greyhounds were going to do, especially off play action. Wyatt Strand is a formidable quarterback to defend, and the Lions defended him about as well as anyone can. Up until late in the 3rd quarter, the Lions had essentially shut down the Hounds on offense. Two scores that ENMU had came via junk time and the other was on a blocked field goal attempt that was recovered and then just poor tackling allowed Eastern to score. Again, just like last week, a big play here and there allowed to Eastern to score 27, but still kept them well below their average rushing yards and average points per game.
- Special Teams- Jake Viquez has answered the question as to whether or not he is the kicker. He is, and he has earned what he has. Extra points are now automatic, and he hit a 42 yarder that would have been good from 52 yards. He also kicked 3 perfect pooch kickoffs that resulted in Eastern turning the ball over deep in their own territory twice. Dominique Ramsey took a first quarter punt to the house from 55 yards out and the coverage was good for the most part. Ramsey made you feel that every time he touched the ball on a punt he could take it to the house. Big plays on all 3 sides of the ball tonight.
- Looking Forward- The Lions travel to the Rockies next week to face Colorado State-Pueblo. The Thunderwolves lost at home to Colorado-Mines 34-14. They will no doubt drop from the Division II top 10, but will stay in the top 20. The Lions are facing tougher tests as the season goes by and in the history of this season, CSU-Pueblo is the biggest game. Going on the road and defeating a strong RMAC opponent is something that would be enormous for David Bailiff and the new staff. The Lions also have their annual tilt with the Hoggies of Texas A&M-Kingsville on the road before the Lions return to the Hawk in just under 3 weeks to face Midwestern State, and if things shake out the way I think they will, it is going to be a HUGE game.
How the rest of the LSC Fared-
Midwestern State-14, Texas-Permian Basin-8
Angelo State-44, Texas A&M-Kingsville-7
# 7 Tarleton State-58, West Texas A&M-28
Central Washington-36, Western New Mexico-27