Greetings, Lion fans. Here’s hoping everyone is staying safe, healthy, and in these uncertain times, sane. We here at The Wire are doing our best to help everyone through these days. We’re one day closer to a solution.
In this week’s edition of the 2020 season preview, we take a look at one of the Lions oldest rivals, the Javelinas of Texas A&M-Kingsville. The Lions have owned the Piggies in recent memory, but there have been some epic battles at times. For example, the 37-36 double overtime thriller in 2018. The Lions trailed by two scores multiple times in the fourth quarter before pulling out the victory.
The two teams also have enjoyed throwing the proverbial monkey wrench into the other’s season . In 1977, the Lions ended a long Javelina winning streak with a 7-6 win, and in 1979, shut out the defending NAIA National Champions in Commerce, 3-0. The Piggies returned the favor in Kingsville the next season, handing the Lions a tough 14-7 loss in 1980, a season in which the Lions were a hair’s breath away from a national title of their own.
This is one of those match ups, that no matter the records, the teams will go after each other in a no holds barred brawl. Let’s break it down:
2019 Record: 2-9 (8th in the Lone Star Conference)
Biggest Win: Sul Ross University, 72-0
Biggest Loss: UT Permian Basin, 70-14
Returning Starters: 5 Offense, 8 Defense
THE SKINNY- Mike Salinas takes over for the Javelinas in 2020, and seemingly has a way to go to rebuild a once proud program.. Kingsville is suffering from a lack of facilities and damage to the stadium from recent storms.
Rushing: 106.2 ypg
Passing: 264.0 ypg
Total: 370.2 ypg
Rushing: Amonte Bowen (5’10” 210 lbs., RS-Soph.) 48-175 yds. 2 TD, Long 17
Passing: Cade Dyal (5’11” 195 lbs., RS-Sr.) 131-233-12 1,484 yds., 11 TD, Long 63
Receiving: Darrian Hambrick (6’6″ 220 lbs., RS-Sr.) 50-682 yds., 2 TD, Long 63
Ryan Martinez (5’9″ 195 lbs., RS-Jr.) 33-429 yds., 3 TD Long 53
THE SKINNY-Hambrick returns to lead the Javelina offense. A big, rangy receiver, Hambrick has the size and speed to create nightmares for opposing defensive coordinators. Dyal, who started 9 games in 2019, seems to have settled in at QB 1, and looks to improve in 2020. Four starters return on the offensive line, but the Javelinas lose their top two rushers from 2019, so there are still questions to be answered in the Kingsville backfield.
Points: 39.6 ppg
Passing: 230.6 ypg
Total: 460.2 ypg
Returning Leaders: Trey Tutt, LB (5’10” 210 lbs., RS-Jr.) 120 tackles (60 solo)
Jacob Clarkson, DL (6’2″ 230 lbs., Sr.) 58 tackles (29 solo)
Alec Lewis, DB (6’0″ 230 lbs., RS-Jr.) 57 tackles (32 solo)
THE SKINNY-While returning 8 starters, the Javelina defense has much room to improve. Tutt and Clarkson lead a crew that surrendered almost 40 points and 500 yards per game, while not producing many turnovers.
Punting: Karch Kasper (6’3″ 180 lbs., RS-Soph.) 57-41.3 yds., Long 68 1 blk.
Kicking: Romario Perez (5’9″ 175 lbs., Soph.) 6-8 Long 35
Kick Returns: Amos Coleman DB (5’10” 175 lbs., RS-Soph.) 12-27.3 Long 79
THE SKINNY-Kasper and Coleman return to lead the Javelina special teams. Kasper is a very effective punter, averaging over 41 yards per punt. Coleman, while not producing a touchdown, is a very explosive return man. Perez takes over at kicker, and while not having a big leg, is very accurate, connecting on six of eight attempts.
THE LOW DOWN-The longtime LSC rivals look forward to another epic battle in 2020. Darrian Hambrick is an excellent big play threat on offense, and with a settled in Dyal at quarterback, will most certainly present problems, despite not having much experience at running back.
The Javelina defense, returning eight starters, look to improve on a disappointing 2019. Tutt and Clarkson lend experience, and most certainly will be better.
The special teams, while not having gaudy numbers, have the potential to be very explosive, and can’t be overlooked.
The Lions have certainly owned this matchup in recent years, and given the struggles of the Kingsville defense, look to do so again. If they play to their potential, the Lions should win this game, and win it handily.