Before we get to the five thoughts, The Lion Wire wanted to express our deepest sympathies to AD Tim McMurray and his family, as his Father passed away recently. I did not want to go public with it but in his post game interview, HC David Bailiff mentioned it and I wanted Tim to know that we are praying for him and his family for comfort and the love that Lion nation can send to guy who not just a great AD, but a great overall guy. Tim, we are praying for you and your family and send all the love we have to you.
Onto the game-
- Overall-Better. Not perfect, but better. The first half was flat and uninspired and full of mistakes. The second half was the total opposite. The defense just became a brick wall and started to pressure the Javelina offense into making mistakes and going nowhere. The offense started out the second half on fire and Miklo Smalls continued his superb play managing the offense, taking what the defense was giving him and taking care of the football. We needed a game where we went on the road and delivered a blow to a team we love to hate. We did that tonight, and General Chennault’s Cup stays in Commerce for at least one more year.
- Offense-The Offensive unit rolled up 470 total yards, 248 on the ground, and 222 in the air. The rushing game was much better than the previous game and the offensive line did a fantastic job protecting Smalls. The receivers continued to make big catches. The first half was miserable, the second half was near perfect. Smalls is rolling up the yards but not throwing the ball 40-50 times a game to do it, he is so efficient in his passing game he does not need to. Props to the Offensive Line for their play, there was a noticeable difference tonight.
- Defense-In the first half, the Lions defense played overall decent but kept letting Kingsville extend drives on big plays. The second half was a totally different story. They game out and just let the Javs have NOTHING on the ground or through the air. The Lions only allowed 32 rushing yards and were constantly harassing Cade Dyal all night long, forcing him into bad throws and overall not letting him have time to make reads or look for guys downfield. Teams continue to be somewhat efficient on third downs, but this team gave up just 6 points tonight. 6. You have to give them a tremendous amount of credit for that.
- Special Teams- Jake Viquez had his usual good game, though he missed a field goal attempt at the end of the game, it really was not on him totally. The snap wasn’t great and Preston Wheeler tried to handle it the best he could and Jake just stepped into it to try not to get it blocked from what I could see. Nobody is perfect but Jake has been money. Andrew Gomez punted very well again and the coverage units did their jobs. One final thing, when it looked like Kingsville was going to kick an extra point to bring the game within 3 to end the first half, the Lions blocked a PAT and added 2 points to their total, taking the momentum out of that touchdown drive and letting it extend into their strong play in the second half.
- Going Forward-Next week, the Lions return to The Hawk to host Midwestern State for the first time in 2 years. Letterwinners and Hall of Fame weekend is also that Saturday, and for good measure, ESPN will be broadcasting the game as part of the small college showcase. The Hawk will be rocking, and Midwestern dropped their second straight game tonight to Eastern New Mexico (looks like the win over the Greyhounds looks better and better). That being said, it is a chance to make a statement on national television and give the team a chance to beat a big name LSC team before the biggest test of them all, the final President’s Cup Game at Tarleton State and the defacto Lone Star Conference title game. But before we go that way, Midwestern State first. Beat the Mustangs at home. They will be there and ready for a fight, and we better be ready to.
How the rest of the LSC fared-
Western New Mexico-47, Texas-Permian Basin-28
Eastern New Mexico-27, Midwestern State-24
Tarleton State-30, Angelo State-13
West Texas A&M-48, Central Washington-41