Preview of Lions vs Austin College
SAGU looks to build on last week's win
Game versus Austin College to be Livestreamed from Sherman
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Lions rebounded from their opening game loss in Kansas with a strong effort against Howard Payne University on Saturday night at Midlothian Stadium.
This week they will take on Austin College in Sherman, on the grass surface of Jerry Apple Stadium. The Kangaroos, 0-2 this young season, have won the past two games in this series, and lead 4-1.
Last fall they took advantage of turnovers to score four touchdowns, the longest of which was a 30-yard drive. SAGU held them to only 201-yards, but couldn’t overcome their miscues in a 28-6 defeat.
Lions on Offense
SAGU, 1-1, has turned the ball over seven times in their first two games, which has kept their offensive playmakers from getting on track. A costly penalty negated a huge gainer by former Waxahachie High School wide receiver, Malcolm Whitfield. He busted loose on a screen and nearly went the distance.
The play of two quarterbacks, senior Jason Rice (Katy, Tx / Faith West HS), and sophomore Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Grandview HS, Howard Payne Univ), has been effective at times, with Rice remaining the starter.
The elusive Golson, however, came off the bench to engineer the game-winning drive to beat Howard Payne, 21-15. The rushing game has seen both QB’s move the ball, as well as junior halfback Sean Haynes (Katy, Tx / Taylor HS, Univ of Houston). Golson leads the CSFL in rushing yards with 173, averaging 4.7 per carry. Haynes is sixth with 88-yds (4.4 per tote). Rice is eleventh with 42-yds.
Overall, SAGU's offense is fourth in yards per contest at 249. The Lions are gaining 147 on the ground while the aerial game is fifth in the six-team league averaging 103-yds. The pass attack is bound to improve, especially considering the talent at wide receiver and the experience at QB.
The go-to receiver is senior David Howard (Dayton, Tx / Dayton HS), who has snared eight passes (13.3 yds per reception) and one touchdown in two games. Incorporating some of the other deep threats is the challenge. Stretching the field vertically via the pass will soften defenses for SAGU’s version of the spread-option. Trevor McKinley (Arlington, Tx / Juan Seguin HS) and Micah Burditt (Midland, Tx / Midland Lee HS) are speed merchants who are due.
SAGU's Carniverous Defenders
Defensively, the Lions are allowing just 254 yards per game, which ranks #16 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Defensive Coordinator John Allen’s troops have yielded just three TD’s and have scored two themselves.
The squad, anchored by defensive tackle Jon Hulett (Corrigan, Tx / Corrigan HS) and inside linebackers Donte Embry (Paris, Tx / Paris HS) and Quentin Holloman (Garland, Tx / Sachse HS), is surrendering only 103-yards per game on the ground, and just 2.7 per carry.
Senior outside LB Patrick Smith (Bluffton, SC / Hilton Head Christian) and freshman Rockie Davis (Santa Fe, Tx / Santa Fe HS) are making headlines with big plays.
“Defensively, you could not ask for a better effort than what our guys have given,” Coach Godding said this week. “We’ve been disciplined against the option. The guys have made plays when they needed to and we had numerous contributors to the success of the defense. One of the key aspects to the success of the defense has been the play of Hulett and Richard Adewola (Richmond, Tx / B.F. Terry HS) at noseguard. They control the middle of the line.”
SAGU Roster Moves: Pair of DB's return, two switch sides
The defense welcomed back senior safety Joey Vinson (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) last week. This Saturday the squad should see former All-American Nick Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / B.F. Terry HS) back in the secondary. Both had been out with injuries suffered in training camp. Vinson has two interceptions against Austin College in 2010. The duo may backup Frank Agbemaple (Euless, Tx / Trinity HS) and Brad Heathcock (Frisco, Tx / Wakeland HS).
Southwestern made two line-up changes this week. Eric Smith (Euless, Tx / Trinity HS), who has played at cornerback for the Lions, was moved to runningback, a position he played for the Trinity Trojans.
Also, Anthony Morris, Jr. (Houston, Tx / Alief Hastings HS), a 6'2, 210-lb wide receiver/tight end, has switched sides of the ball as well. He will direct his considerable talents at outside linebacker while changing jersey numbers from 87 to 47.
About the Austin College 'Roos
This Saturday, however, they will be put to the test by the ‘Roos powerful, option-running game. They averaged 170 yards per game a year ago. Senior QB Travis Zambiasi (ZAM-bay-see) is a dual threat on the ground and in the air. In a 31-28 loss to Texas Lutheran two weeks ago, he completed 25-of-37 passes for 228 yards and three TD’s. Greg Millerick is a deep threat at wide receiver while Brogan Funderburk is a solid RB.
The 'Roos large offensive line and running game versus the Lions front seven will likely be the focal point of this afternoon clash. Whoever wins this battle of wills most likely determines the victor.
The AC defense has shown some porous spots in the early going this fall, though linebackers Kenneth Eneh and Nathan Packard along with defensive back Sean Sweeney have been bright spots for second year head coach Loren Dawson.
Follow the Lions Tracks on Live Video
The game will be livestreamed , allowing SAGU fans to watch the game for a $7.95 fee. The written, play-by-play accounts of the game are also available. Called LiveStats, this version has no charge.
Both venues can be found on at www.austincollege.edu/athletics/football. Click on Schedule, and then click on either Watch Home Games Live and/or LiveStats.
Fans attending the game will travel 87 miles north of Waxahachie, most of it on Central Expressway / Hwy 75 out of Dallas. Austin College is located just east of Highway 75 at 900 North Grand Avenue, Sherman, Texas 75090. The stadium is located on the AC campus.
Fans are also invited to submit their photos to the Sports Information office for possible use on the SAGU website or in the next Game Day football program.