Greetings, Lion fans, and after a tough win over West Texas A&M in the Panhandle last week, the Lions return home for a key matchup with the much improved UT-Permian Basin Falcons. . UTPB is 5-2 on the season, and 3-1 in the LSC, including a 42-31 win over the Buffaloes. They are a fast improving team, and not to be taken lightly. With that being said, let’s dive right in and take a look.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Pass- 163.2 ypg
Turnovers- 13 (+5)
The Lion offense still have issues to work on, obviously. There were numerous drive and explosive play killing penalties due to holding calls. And again, there was much more of an emphasis on attacking the perimeter of the defense, and a lack of adjustment to attack the middle of the field, where there were opportunities. Other than the opening drive of the second half, the Lion offense failed to sustain a touchdown drive all night long. There is obviously room for improvement.
The Falcon defense, while improved, still shows to be somewhat soft in defense against the run. The Falcons have produced their share of turnovers, but are just as liable to give up the big play. There are definitely some areas for the Lions to exploit.
UP FRONT/TALE OF THE TAPE:
Lion Offensive Line: 6’4″ 308 lbs.
Falcon Front 6: 6’0″ 266 lbs.
The Falcons are led in tackles by junior linebacker Miquon Mayes (5’11” 215 lbs.), with 42(28 solo). he is closely followed by fellow linebacker Derrian Forge (5’11 220 lbs., Jr.) with 36 tackles (19 solo). Senior defensive lineman La’Daidreain Glasker (6’1″ 330 lbs.) leads the team with 4.5 sacks. This is a big and quick position group capable of the big play.
The Lion offensive line seemed to have trouble picking up the various pressure packages at times last week, and inopportune holding calls hampered drives. That being said, quarterback Miklo Smalls was only sacked once. Whatever mistakes there are, definitely are correctable.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS/THE BACK LINE:
Lion Movers and Shakers: 6’1″ 212 lbs.
Falcon Back Line: 5’11” 180 lbs.
The Falcon back line are led in tackles by D’Ondre Robinson (5’10” 190 lbs., Sr.) with 35 (22 solo). Redshirt sophomore defensive back Jaques Tyler (5’10” 175 lbs.) is a real ball hawk in the secondary with four interceptions so far. They are a good blend of size, speed, and experience.
The Lion rushing attack is led by redshirt senior Antonio Lealliiee (5’11” 210 lbs.) with 364 yards on 55 carries, one touchdown, and a long of 73 yards. He is followed by redshirt senior Carandale Hale (5’11” 190 lbs.) with 326 yards on 55 carries, two touchdowns, and a long of 28 yards. Senior J.T. Smith has shown some flashes of speed and explosiveness, and has 267 yards on 31 carries 3 touchdowns, and a long of 39 yards.
Redshirt junior quarterback Miklo Smalls, (6’2″ 210 lbs.) continues to improve after sitting out the early part of the season due to injury, going 51-84-4, for 603 yards, 3 touchdowns, and a long of 74 yards. He is beginning to make plays with his feet again, scoring the Lions only touchdown on a scramble last week.
Senior Chance Cooper (6’3″ 200 lbs.) returned last week, and continues to lead the Lion receivers with 27 catches for 359 yards, 4 touchdowns, and a long of 65 yards. His running mate on the other side, redshirt junior Matt Childers (6’4″ 180 lbs.) has 24 catches for 297 yards, a pair of touchdowns, and a long of 44 yards, as the Lion offense continues to spread the ball around close to evenly.
VERY SPECIAL, INDEED: Lion punter Mitchell McGarry (6’4″ 225 lbs., RS-Fr.)just continues to get better. Averaging 38.3 yards on 16 punts, with a long of 59 yards, He has shown the ability to flip field position in the Lion’s favor, giving the defense room to work.
Senior Jake Viquez (5’10” 190 lbs.)showed incredible heart and resilience last week. Despite missing two long field goals, Viquez accounted for 7 of the Lions 15 total points, connecting on field goals of 40 and 42 yards that were vital to the win.
D’Ondre Robinson leads the Falcon punt return game with 5 returns for a 16/2 yard average, with a long of 46. Freshman Jayvon Davis (5’5′ 160 lbs.) has proven to be a very exciting kick returner, with 8 returns for a 26.7 yard average, a long of 99 yards, and a touchdown.
The Lion kickers have done a great job of keeping the ball away from the opponent’s big play returners (Tobias Harris of WT, 1 return for -2 yards), and will certainly have to be at their best this week.
THE LIONS WIN THIS MATCHUP IF:
ADJUSTMENTS- There are opportunities are there for the Lion offense this week, if they are able to adjust to what the Falcons are giving them defensively, and as the baseball saying goes, “hit ’em where they ain’t.” If that means running the ball 40 times, then there is a stable of four very solid running backs to choose from. If that means putting the ball in the air 50 plus times, then air it out. four wide, five wide, and ATTACK ALL OVER. Seams, quick outs, tunnel and jailbreak screens, seam and post routes. Whatever is needed to get the ball down the field and into the end zone.
LAUNDRY DAY-The penalties have to stop, whether it is the holding at the most inopportune time, or, the pre snap, self inflicted type. If they can clean this up, then the offense will roll.
ONE AT A TIME-One game, one play at a time. Make the routine play, and the rest will take care of itself.
See You at The Hawk.