Yeah, we know, we are out of order, but here is the Week 8 Preview against a former Lone Star Conference foe, The University of The Incarnate Word Cardinals. Let’s dive in.-
When: Saturday, October 29, 2 PM
Where: The Hawk, Commerce, TX
IWU Mascot: Cardinals
Distance from Commerce: 340 Miles
2021 Record: 10-3, Southland Conference Champions
Head Coach: GJ Kinne (First Season)
Back in 2009, UIW started a Football program. From 2011-2012, they were members of the Lone Star Conference and then very quickly moved their way into the Southland. Since then, they have won the Southland Conference twice and gone to the FCS playoffs twice, both in 2018 and 2021. During that stretch, they were coached by former Texas Tech standout slot receiver Eric Morris, who was an integral part of the offense of the 2008 Texas Tech team that won 11 games and defeated # 1 Texas in one of the greatest college football games I have ever seen. (Morris caught an 18 yard TD pass against in that game.) Morris has since moved on to Washington State as offensive coordinator where he will continue to spread the word of the powerful Air Raid offense on the hills of the Palouse in Eastern Washington State.
The Man replacing him is a guy that most people know who follow Texas High School Football, GJ Kinne. I feel somewhat odd and old writing this because my High School played against the Kinne in the first game he ever started on the Varsity level. It was 2003, my Senior year and I made the trip to Canton to watch my classmates takes on the Eagles. It was apparent that he was going to be a special player when he lit up the East Texas sky with a lot of passes. (Just a side note, my high school alma mater Grand Saline High beat Canton that year, 20-13). That aside, Kinne went on to help turn around Canton High School football and spent his Senior year at East Texas powerhouse Gilmer, near Longview. After his high school career, he originally committed to Baylor but went to Texas where he was buried on the depth chart, and then went to Tulsa where he was an All-Conference Quarterback for the Golden Hurricanes. After his college days, he played in the NFL for the New York Jets, The Philadelphia Eagles, and the New York Giants. He also played in the Canadian Football League for the Calgary Stampeders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He then got into coaching and has coached at SMU, Arkansas, Hawaii, and Central Florida. He also spent some time in the NFL with the Eagles as an assistant coach. This is his first head coaching job on any level, but he seems to have been raised for this his entire life, as his father is a lifelong coach.
As far as the Cardinals themselves, they had their best season in school history last year going 10-3 and winning the conference. Make no mistake about it, this is a VERY, VERY GOOD football team. They took # 1 Sam Houston State to the limit in the second round of the 2021 FCS playoffs, and after watching film of their final play, had a wide receiver WIDE OPEN that would have caused them to knock off Sam Houston and move on to who knows what else. The fact we have this game in Commerce is a very good thing. We do have a history with this program, and we have never beaten them. We played them in 2010, losing 17-16, losing again in 2011 23-22, before IWU finally blasted the Lions in 2012 31-9.
At that point in the season, I believe we will be at BEST- 6-1 and at worst, 4-3. We will have played some quality opponents at that point, but it is important to remember that IWU has been to the FCS playoffs twice and they are now in a nice and comfortable spot. I believe this will be the third toughest game on the schedule, and the only reason it is not the second toughest is because we get this one at home. This game will also be a measuring stick as to how good we really are and what we need to work on. We need to have a huge crowd rocking the Hawk and pump this game up. We will need every break to go our way, and it will be a HUGE test for our vaunted Blue Gang Defensive unit. It will be the high flying Cardinals versus the vaunted Lion defense.
At that point in the season, we will see how good we really are.