Greetings, Lion fans, and this week, we’ll take a look at an old rival, the Javelinas of TAMU-Kingsville. First, though, this take a look back at was a very tough week.
LOOKING BACK-The game against CSU-Pueblo was a very frustrating loss. There was no area the Thunderwolves particularly dominated in, yet the Lions still came out on the short end. Miklo Smalls, despite being pressured all night, was still 24 of 36 for 235 yards, with one interception, and the Lions were in a position to take the game into overtime at the end.
What the loss came down to is this: The Lion offense never solved the blitz package all night. As a result, the run game was stymied, Smalls was sacked five times, and never got into a rhythm the entire game. Yes, there was some questionable officiating, to say the least, but the bottom line is, this was a game the Lions had opportunities to, and should have, won. The question is: How do they respond? Let’s take a look.
UP FRONT/ TALE OF THE TAPE-
Lion Offensive Line-6’3″ 290 lbs.
Javelina Front Six(D line and linebackers)-5’11” 244 lbs.
The Lions definitely have the size advantage here. Kingsville operates out of a 3-3-5 set defensively. ? Their leading tackle is redshirt junior Tre Tutt, 5’10” 200 lbs., who has 49 tackles(24 solo). He is followed by redshirt sophomore Alec Lewis, 6’0″ 230 lbs. Junior with 24 tackles (10 solo) . Junior defensive tackle Jacob Clarkson, 6’2″ 230 lbs., has 22 tackles(14 solo).
The Lion offensive line is anchored by redshirt junior Amon Simon, 6’5″ 290 lbs., and center Christian Hernandez, a 6’1″ 285 lb. redshirt junior. Despite the struggles last week, the line has done a great job opening holes for the backs and allowing Smalls time to throw.
Adjustments will be the critical factor this week. Every team remaining on the Lions schedule surely watched the film from last week. Will they able to handle the pressure? The word here is yes.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS-The Lions have some work to do here. With EJ Thompson possibly out for the season, and redshirt junior Antonio Lealiiee suffering a back injury, David Bailiff and his staff have to put together some answers quickly. Redshirt junior Carandale Hale, junior transfer TJ Smith, and true freshman Spencer Long look to plug the gaps.
The Lion receiving corps is faring well so far, with junior Chance Cooper off to a fast start, with 12 catches for 225 yards 3 touchdowns, with a long of 73 yards. Sophomore Jeremiah Bridges has come on strong with 14 grabs for 151 yards, 2 touchdowns, with a long of 36 yards. Senior Ryan Stokes has 12 catches for 140 yards, with a long of 52.
The Javelinas have some size in the back line, led by senior Ronnie Larue, 6’1″ 210 lbs., and senior Jordan Semanant, 6’2″ 195 lbs. They are certainly not to be overlooked.
VERY SPECIAL, INDEED-The Lion kicking game is in good hands. After a tricky first point after attempt, Jake Viquez has really come into his own, making good on all four of his field goal attempts, with a long of 44 yards. His 43 yarder with a tricky wind was outstanding. He has been equally as good with his pooch kicks and directional kickoffs.
Junior Andrew Gomez has been a pleasant surprise at punter, with 12 kicks for a 44 yard average. He has been very effective in changing field postion in the Lions favor.
Senior Donte Ross lead the Javelinas in punt returns, with 10 for a 15.8 yard average, with a long of 48 yards, and a touchdown. He also has 4 kick returns for a 16.4 yard average, with a long of 27.
BY THE NUMBERS-
WHAT’S GOING DOWN- There is a quote by Confucius….”Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
This very true for the Lions this week. They’re certainly smarting after a loss, and are working to overcome injuries and disappointment. There’s no time to rest, however. The Lions old rivals from the Rio Grande Valley may be 1-3, but they’re still the Javelinas. If the past in this rivalry has proven anything, it’s that the record books can be thrown out the window. This one is about who wants it the most.
If you can’t get in front of a screen, or tune in Brock and Charlie, be sure to check in here at The Wire. We’ll be there with quarterly updates and in game analysis.