Greetings, Lion fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Blue Gang Notebook. The Lions travel to the Rio Grande Valley to face a longtime Lone Star Conference foe the TAMUK Javelinas(for some of us older alums, it’s still Texas A&I.). The 1-3 Javelinas would like nothing better than to extend the Lions misery for another week. Let’s dive right in and take a look.
UP FRONT/TALE OF THE TAPE-
Javelina Offensive Line- 6’2″ 269 lbs.
Lion Front Six(D Line and Linebackers)- 6’0″ 259 lbs.
The Hoggies are led up front a pair of red shirt juniors, Nathan Sosa, 6’5″ 250 lbs, and Jorge Rios, 6’4″ 330 lbs. . They are well experienced and are very aggressive.
The Lions are led in the front six by sophomore defensive end Ronathan Elmore, 6’5″ 255 lbs., who has developed into a real pass rushing threat. The interior is anchored by senior Chris Williams, 6’1″ 285 lbs. , and Pierre Leonard, a 5’10” 300 lb. senior.
The Lions have done a great job so far against the rush, allowing just over 92 yards per game. Where their problems have been is getting the opponent off the field on third down. A sustained fourth quarter drive by CSU-Pueblo in which the Lions defense was on the field for an extended period that led to the game winning score.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS/THE BACK LINE-The Javelinas are led in rushing by red shirt senior Luis Lopez, 5’7″ 220 lbs., who has 277 yards in 45 attempts, with 6 touchdowns, and a long of 70 yards. Senior Kris Barnes, 6’2″ 230 lbs., has 120 yards in 36 attempts, with 3 touchdowns and a long of 24 yards. Together, while their number may not look like much, they form a duo of big backs that will wear an opposing defense down.
Redshirt junior Cade Dyal, 5’11” 195 lbs., directs the Javelina attack and has lots of targets from which to choose. Red shirt junior Darrian Hambrick, 6’6″ 220 lbs. is a size match up problem for any defense. He has 16 catches for 270 yards, with a lone of 43. Red shirt senior Devin Milburn, 5’10” 180 lbs., leads the receiving group with 23 grabs for 277 yards and a team leading 2 touchdowns.
Redshirt junior Alex Shillow, 5’11” 185 lbs., leads the Lions secondary in tackles, and always seems to be around the ball. He has 22 tackles (14 solo). Redshirt senior Neema Behbahani, 6’1″ 230 lbs., paces the linebackers with 16 tackles (8 solo).
VERY SPECIAL, INDEED- The Javelina punting game is handled by redshirt freshman Karch Kasper, with a 40.0 average on 16 punts. He has had a kick blocked this year.
Romario Perez, a 5’9″ 175 lb. freshman is the Kingsville kicker, and is 2 for 3 with a long of 30 yards.
Dominique Ramsey, the 5’9″ 180 lb. senior, last week was again a victim of outstanding directional punting by CSU-Pueblo. For the year, he has 5 returns for 96 yards and one touchdown. Ramsey also has 5 kickoff returns for 110 yards. Senior Kader Kohou also has 2 returns for 64 yards.
WHAT’S GOING DOWN-The Lions, coming off of a loss, have no time to rest. Another long road trip awaits, and the team they face when they get there would enjoy nothing more than to knock off a ranked opponent.
The Javelinas and Lions have had some real battles in the past. This one comes on the 40th anniversary of one of the most brutal battles of them all, a 3-0 Lions victory in a 1979 high stakes classic.
Throw out the record books, fans. This one’s going to be a street fight. Who wants to win it the most.
See You Saturday.