Greetings, Lion fans, and in this week’s edition of the Notebook, we’ll take a closer look at our guests from out west in Silver City, the Western New Mexico Mustangs. Again, we’ll dispense with the overlook of last week that was discussed in the Monday column.
The Blue Gang, with the exception of second half meltdowns against Midwestern and West Florida, due to spending too much time on the field, have been what we expected this season, absolutely stellar. The defensive line has done their job in holding up the offensive line, not allowing them to penetrate, and freeing the linebackers and the WHIP, Dominique Ramsey, to roam free and make plays. With the addition of Rice transfer D’Angelo Ellis, the secondary has become more solid.
The key to continued success on both sides of the ball remains third down. If the offense is able to sustain drives, and the defense is able to get off the field, ,then the Lions are very successful.
Now, onto Western New Mexico…..
BY THE NUMBERS:
Points: 17.0 ppg
Rush: 91.0 ypg
Passing: 261.0 ypg
Total: 352.0 ypg
Turnovers: 8 (-3)
Blue Gang Defense:
Points: 18.0 ppg
Rush: 95.5 ypg
Passing: 142.0 ypg
Total: 237.0 ypg
Turnovers: 11 (+1)
Again, Western New Mexico is very young and inexperienced offensively (5 true freshman and sophomore starters), and rely heavily on a wide open passing game. They are led in passing by freshman quarterback Devin Larsen (6’3″ 200 lbs.) who is 132-231-6 for an average of 255.0 yards per game, with 6 touchdowns, and a long of 53 yards. The Blue Gang secondary will certainly be tested, but if the front six are able to generate some pressure, they should be able to control the Mustangs.
UP FRONT/TALE OF THE TAPE:
Mustang Offensive line: 6’1″ 300 lbs.
Blue Gang Front Six: 6’1″ 262 lbs.
The Mustangs have a very big and quick, but very young offensive line. The Lion defensive line has been able to generate quarterback pressures without a lot of blitzing (4 sacks last week). Sophomore linebacker Michael Noble (6’1″ 230 lbs.) leads the team with 33 tackles (8 solo), followed by redshirt senior linebacker,, Xavier Morris (6’0″ 230 lbs.) has 28 tackles (7 solo). Senior defensive end, redshirt senior Elijah Earls (6’0″ 240 lbs.) has 26 tackles (15 solo) and leads the team with 4.5 sacks.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS/THE BACK LINE:
Mustang Movers and Shakers: 5’11” 193 lbs.
Blue Gang Back Line: 5’10” 186 lbs.
The Mustangs are the typical spread, run and shoot team that prefers the smaller, quicker wide out, with the exception of leading receiver Allen Ortiz (6’3″ 180 lbs.) who has 11 catches for 258 yards, a touchdown, and a long of 45 yards. Senior Bryce Coleman (5’9″ 185 lbs.) leads the rushing attack with 304 yards on 70 carries, 3 touchdowns, and a long of 24 yards.
Redshirt senior defensive back Dominique Ramsey (5’9″ 185 lbs.) leads the back line in tackles with 28(17 solo). While they may not have many interceptions to show for their efforts, overall, they are limiting opponent to just 142 yards per game passing. In today’s wide open passing game, that is almost unheard of. They’re certain to need that kind of effort yet again.
VERY SPECIAL, INDEED: Freshman Nicholas Herber (5’10” 160 lbs.) is both the kicker and punter for the Mustangs, and does very well. He averaged 37.5 yards per punt, with a long of 62, and is 3 of 5 on field goals, with a long of 29, and has had one blocked.
Dominique Ramsey continues to lead the Lions in returns, despite most teams not kicking the ball anywhere near him, or out of bounds. In spite of this, Ramsey still averages 17.4 yards per return, with a long of 45, and 22 yards averaged on 8 kickoff returns, with a long of 44 yards.
THE LIONS WIN THIS MATCHUP IF:
THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME: Third downs, on both sides of the ball, and for the reasons that have mentioned earlier. This is Job #1 for David Bailiff and his staff.
JUST LOAD THE WAGON: Don’t be concerned with anything other than what they can control, and that is the Western New Mexico Mustangs.
BRING THE WOOD-If the Blue Gang is able to generate a pass rush, or at least disrupt the quarterback’s timing, they should be in for a very good afernoon.
DAYS OF MAGIC: Commerce on fall afternoons….well, there’s no better place to be. With the weather expected to be more like fall than ever, there’s no better time to Pack The Hawk.
Remember fans……as long as there are games to play, there’s hope.
See You At The Hawk.