Joe Price

LSC – Playoff Week 3 – Commerce in the NCAA Regional Finals and LSC Bowling

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Last week in the playoffs was incredibly interesting. We saw Midwestern State’s number finally called up this season, as Minnesota State Mankato cruised pass them with a dominant performance. On the other side, we saw Commerce escape Central Washington with a memorable game that was settled in over time (more on that in the write-up). Now, the Lone Star Conference has only 1 team left in the NCAA Playoff field of 8. The Texas A&M Commerce Lions are 2 games away from the National Championship Game (quarter and semifinals).

This week also marks several bowl games for the LSC. Tarleton State and Angelo State both received bowl invites and have to be happy with the extra time to participate in football. Those two games will have previews this week.

Harlon Hill Trophy WATCH – 2nd Edition

The Lone Star Conference has 1 player named to the list of 10 for the Harlon Hill Trophy.

QB Luis Perez, Texas A&M Commerce

The only other out of Super Region 4 is Gardner from Humboldt State

CORSICANA BOWL: Tarleton State (6-5) v. Central Oklahoma (7-4): Saturday, December 2nd Noon CST - Corsicana, Texas

The Texans will take on their former LSC companion that left for the MIAA several years ago. The Central Oklahoma Bronchos make the trip to Corsicana, Texas for what should be a great bowl game. UCO ended the season on a 5-game winning streak and had a really good season. Their four losses come at very little marginal wins, with 7-points being the max amount that they were beaten by. Central Oklahoma has been a pass dominant team all season, led by the passing efforts of QB Chas Stallard (65.9 completion percentage, 162.9 Effic., 3,209 passing yards, 28 TDs). Stallard is also the leading rusher for the Bronchos with 510 rushing yards for 4 TDs. He is one of the standouts for UCO this season. In the passing game, his favorite target is J.T. Luper, who has 101 grabs for 1,544 receiving yards with 12 TDs. For the defense, Stephan Robinson has been the shark towards the ball, bringing in 5 INTs, with 1 for a TD. Overall, the team has 13 INTs compared to the 6 INTs thrown. LB Colton Lindsey leads the team with 92 tackles, 5 TFLs and 1 INT. Defensively, UCO gives up 412 yards per game, which has pushed them out of the NCAA Playoff picture. The catch is that this team can put up an average of 460 yards per game and in a hurry.

The Texans became inconsistent during the season, especially at times during conference play. They were very identical in terms of defense compared to UCO, giving up 440 yards on average. The Tarleton offense has not been nearly as successful as the Bronchos, which may be the difference-maker in this game. QB Zed Woerner will lead this offense in his final game as the Texans QB, along with his fellow seniors on the team. The team has focused on being more balanced on the season (1,781 rush and 2,615 pass yards). I expect to see much of that in the bowl game. The rushing game has been there quite a bit this season; but, Woerner has been relied upon for his quality passing abilities when the team needed him. LB Basil Jackson has been the player to fear on the defense. He has accumulated 107 tackles, 10 TFLs and 3.5 sacks. I anticipate he will be the on flying all over the field this week against this pass dominant UCO team.

Game Analysis: The new bowl game in Corsicana looks to be matching up as a good game. The Texans have their work cut out for them against their old LSC foe. I’m not sure if we can call this the same caliber of team that we had known from the years past in the LSC. The real game-changer in this game is the Central Oklahoma Offense. They have been really good this year with Stallard having a great season and the shear talent on the offensive-side of the ball. Ultimately, I just don’t think the Texans have it in them to slow this team down enough to win the game. UCO…gets one over on the Texans.

Central Oklahoma 40 Tarleton State 30

HEART OF TEXAS BOWL: Angelo State (6-4) v. Washburn (6-5): Saturday, December 2nd 6PM CST – Copperas Cove, Texas

The Ichabods will have a game against a bunch of Rams from Angelo State. ASU finished the season on a dominant 3-game win streak, while Washburn sputtered a little bit at the end of the season. QB Jake Faber and RB Josh Stevens really got back into sync the last three weeks. The Angelo defense was probably the 2nd best defense behind Commerce this season. They only allowed 20.60 points per game and limited opponents to 342.9 yards per game.

The team from Washburn has been well balanced all season, which has greatly contributed to their success. The Ichabods averaged 190 yards rushing per game along with 202 passing yards per game; you don’t get much more balanced than that. Washburn has 3 backs that have carried the workload (Mickeel Stewart, Zach Willis and Blake Peterson: 1,617 rushing yards for 16 TDs). The Offense of Washburn has been explosive with their balanced offense (393.2 yards per game). Unfortunately, the achilleas hill for the Ichabods has been the defense with giving up 408.9 yards per game.

The Rams really are a lot better than their record would prescribe. This team had some woes against Midwestern State, Texas A&M Commerce and some games early on, as well as battling some key player injuries.

Game Analysis: I wonder just how this Angelo State team will come out with the several weeks off. The Rams should have just about everyone healthy. The Rams have a really good defense and I think that they have proven that all season. The offense slumped several times during the season but came back into their own at the end of the season.

I’ll take the Rams in a good game against the Ichabods.

Angelo State 33 Washburn 31

#8 Texas A&M Commerce (11-1) v. #2 Minnesota State Mankato (13-0): Saturday, December 2nd Noon CST - Mankato, Minnesota

The Lions of Commerce have made one of the most incredible comebacks that I have seen in quite some time. The team went into halftime 21 points down and came out of halftime a completely different team. The Lions held CWU scoreless in the 2nd half and sent the game to overtime. The teams exchanged field goals in the first OT and went to the 2nd OT. Commerce held in the 2nd overtime and PK Kristov Martinez sent a 38-yard FG into the uprights for a Lions victory, in a game that overcame the odds and adversity. With that, the Commerce Lions make their way to Mankato, Minnesota.

Commerce took on the #3 Defense of Central Washington last week and will take on the #5 Defense of MSU Mankato. In addition, the #9 Scoring Offense of MSU Mankato (41.6 points per game) with their #13 Offense (473 yards per game) in the nation will put their team to the test against the #24 Defense of Texas A&M Commerce (299 yards per game allowed). On top of all that, this will be the best passing team that Mankato has played all season (#1 Passing Offense with 360.5 yards per game). The Mavericks really impressed last week with controlling the football game against LSC opponent, Midwestern State. The Mavs also had a great effort last week with attacking the receivers of MWSU. They really had a good plan last week that was executed perfectly.

However, the defense of Commerce is significantly better than MWSU and is a stellar defense at stopping the run. I believe that statement was clearly illustrated in the 2nd half of last week’s game against Central Washington. The Mavs will have keep the Lions off the field just like they did last week against the Mustangs; however, they won’t be able to control the game like last week with just grinding on the running game alone.

RB Nate Gunn (1,422 rush yards, 12 TDs) and RB Justin Taormina (1,134 rush yards, 11 TDs) have been major contributors in this Mavs offense. It also helps that QB Ryan Schlichte has passed for 1,712 pass yards for 23 TDs and 5 INTs. This offense is explosive and will have to be contained by the Lions, in order for them to have a chance.
The Mankato defense does not have the greatest defensive secondary and I think that might be the biggest factor in this game. The team has 14 INTs (almost 1 per game) overall, while the team gives up 200 passing yards per game (which comes against average passing teams).

Game Analysis: This could be one of the best games of the weekend and one of the best Regional Finals that SR4 has had in quite some time. The Lions of Commerce have to avoid having the same start as they did last week. Also, I don’t know if the team can survive the turnover battle like they did last week (4 INTs).

On the flip side, I don’t think the Mavericks defensive line is nearly as good as the Central Washington line was last week. The defensive line last week was brutal and may have been the best line in Division 2 football. They gave the Lions Offensive Line fits all game long. I don’t expect that to be quite of a battle this week but the Mavs are a standout in the run defense category (68.3 rush yards allowed per game). Unfortunately, the Lions are a pass dominant team.

This game is a must see for everyone. Ultimately, I think that the passing game by QB Luis Perez and this incredibly talented receiving corps of the Lions makes this game theirs. Buck Wilson and Marquis Wimberly come up big again this week.

Texas A&M Commerce 30 Minnesota State Mankato 27

Be safe and God Bless!
Joe Price,


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