Football: Lions at SNU Available Online
SAGU begins CSFL season on Saturday at 2pm
BETHANY, Oklahoma -- The start of conference games signals the start of the real season for college football teams. Those at the top usually get their seasons extended with playoffs or bowl games.
The same is true this weekend as members of the Central States Football League begin meeting on Saturdays to decide who represents the league in the NAIA playoffs. Southwestern Assemblies of God University travels on Friday to the western suburbs of Oklahoma City where tomorrow, October 2nd, they will clash with Southern Nazarene University. The game is slated to kickoff at 2:00pm CST.
Traveling to the Game
For SAGU fans making the trip to Bethany, a 220 mile trek north on I-35 awaits. Bethany is seven miles northwest of OKC. The game will be played at the SNU Stadium, which is located on NW 50th, just west of Council Road. Exact instructions are available on the school's athletic website at: sports.snu.edu/
Ticket prices are $6 for adults and $4 for students. Children under 6 are free.
According to SNU Sports Information Director, David Noblett, the game will be broadcast free over the internet in two forms; Audio and Live Stats, or both for the full-experience, sans visual video. Live Stats is a detailed, visual of the play-by-play events of the game, as well as team and player statistics as the game progresses.
Go to sports.snu.edu and click on the live broadcasts banner on the right side. You can then either click on audio to listen or stats to see live stats or do both. Or you can click on the links below to go directly to them.
Southern Nazarene University "Crimson Storm" (3-2)
SNU has dominated the series, winning eight of the previous nine games between the schools. Last October the Storm pulled away from a 17-12 lead through three quarters to post a 31-12 triumph in Waxahachie, Texas.
The Storm come in averaging 439 yards of total offense, scoring 30 touchdowns, with 21 coming through the air. They are surrendering 382 yards to their opponents and 21 TD's / 14 via the passing game.
Brady Wardlaw, their junior quarterback has been sensational so far. He has completed 107 of 187 passes (57%) for 1,307 yards, good for 19 TD's against six interceptions. When he is not throwing the pigskin, he is often running it, totaling 235 yards, 3 TD's and just over five yards per carry.
Wardlaw is by far the CSFL's Total Offense leader, averaging 308.4 yards per game.
Wardlaw's favorite receivers include six who have caught 11 or more receptions. Dee Balenseifen, Josh Woods and Jarod Martin have all snared 18 passes, good for 270, 200 and 254 yards respectively. Garrett Barnes has 17 receptions for 186 yards.
Their leading ground gainer is Derick Perkins, with 282 yards, a 4.4 average per attempt, five ending in the end zone. He averages 56.4 yards per game.
Their leading tacklers on defense include Jayson Walser and Adrian Valdes, averaging 9.4 and 8.4 per game.
Kelby Price is their placekicker and punter, averaging 39.1 yards per punt.
Overall, Southern Naz is tops in the CSFL with 44.6 points per game, while yielding 32.6. Should the game become a scoring affair, it will favor the Crimson Storm.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University "Lions" (1-2)
Southwestern is averaging 288 yards per game, and have scored 6 TD's, (4 rushing). After a slow start, they are scoring 17 ppg. The ground game (166 ypg) is second only to Northwest Oklahoma State's 196 yards per game and is tops with 5.5 gained per carry. The defense has allowed a CSFL-best 27.3 in points surrendered. At 361 ypg, the Lions' D is second to Langston University's 268.
SAGU, fresh off their 38-24 win over Trinity Bible two weeks ago, are hoping to make it two straight wins in Bethany. They won there two years ago, 21-13, behind the running and passing of QB Jason Rice (Katy, Tx / Faith West HS). Rice, however, injured his knee in the first quarter in the last game, and is unlikely to play at all on Saturday. In his place will be sophomore Jeremy Fowler (Caddo Mills, Tx / Caddo Mills HS). Ryan Russ (Cordell, Ok / Cordell HS), a former all-stater, would be Fowler's likely backup.
Fowler, who ranked #16 nationally in passing efficiency in 2009, came in to complete 19-of-24 passes for 192 yards and two TD's. He had one intereception.
Freshman Eddie Bailey, Jr. (Milwaukee, Wisc / San Antonio's John Jay HS) leads the CSFL in rushing with 231 yards, gaining 6.8 yards every time he totes it. He has 3 TD's. Dylan Jensen (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS) has moved up to the #2 runner, averaging 5.6 per carry in limited action.
Should head coach Jesse Godding manage a game plan that can sustain a turnover free ground attack with Bailey and utilize Fowler's passing skills, they could keep the ball away from Wardlaw and his potent Storm. An upset win would move the Lions into the thick of conference contention. A quick start and keeping the score down would serve the Lions well.
The Lions top three receivers so far have been Micah Burditt (Midland, Tx / Robert E. Lee HS), Darion Waits (Waxahachie, Tx / Ennis HS) and Nathaniel Pruitt (Ft. Worth, Tx / Western Hills HS) with 11, 11 and six catches. Burditt and Waits gain 9.6 and 8.0 yards per catch, while Pruitt has picked up 15.5. Pruitt and Burditt have the only TD catches by the Lions. Another WR to watch could be Anthony Morris, Jr. (Houston, Tx / Alief Hastings HS).
The challenge of Defensive Coordinator John Allen will be to find ways to pressure Wardlaw and force the Crimson Crew into turnovers. With DT Jonathan Hulett (Corrigan, Tx / Corrigan HS) back on the line, perhaps the front seven will be able to breakdown the Storm's pass protection.
On defense, the team's strength, LB Jared Hudgins (Midland, Tx / Midland Christian) again leads the CSFL in tackles with 10.7 stops per outing. Fellow 'Backers, Quentin Holloman (Garland, Tx / Sachse HS) and Brad Heathcock (Frisco, Tx / Wakeland HS) average 6.0 tackles per game.
Defensive Backs Joey Vinson (Patterson, La / Patterson HS)and Nick Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / B.F. Terry HS) and have made 4.0 and 5.0 tackles per game, with Vinson ranking #3 in the nation with 3 picks. Ekanem, who led the NAIA in passes defensed in 2009, along with making 6 INTs, has one interception so far.
In the kicking game, Fowler averages 38.5 per punt, while James Gish (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) is 3-of-5 in field goals and 6-of-6 in PAT's.
Post-Season Possibilities for SAGU
The winner of the CSFL qualifies for a spot in the national NAIA playoffs, with the possibility that a second entry could be offered depending on how high the runner-up is ranked. With regular-season champion Northwest Oklahoma State University ineligible last season, Langston University advanced to the 2009 NAIA playoffs.
SAGU, with its dual membership in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), could contend for one of two positions in the Victory Bowl on Saturday, November 20.
The Victory Bowl Committee will decide which teams will receive invitations around November 10. The game will pit the top two teams in the NCCAA rankings, providing they are not playing in the NAIA playoffs. The committee will also determine whether the game will be played at a neutral site, or if one of the two teams will serve as host.
A year ago the Lions were ranked 7th in the final NCCAA poll.