Saturday Football Preview
SAGU versus Bacone, 2:00pm
Listen to the Audio Feed
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma -- The college football series between Southwestern Assemblies of God University and Bacone College has been as entertaining as the State Fair’s Midway. Minus the corny dogs.
Last year’s 44-38 overtime thriller had plenty to cheer about for fans. Two years ago the teams combined for 83 points. Both seasons, however, saw the Warriors tame the Lions, who have made five turnovers in each of the two losses to BC.
The previous two years, however, in 2008 and 2009, SAGU earned 33-21 and 28-27 victories.
Saturday’s 2:00pm (CST) meeting at the Indian Bowl, the ‘midway’ point in the 2012 campaign, will likely be decided by the defenses. The series has seen its share of fireworks and wild rides the past four seasons.
The schools are separated by 263 miles, but the competition has been as close as shadows to a body.
Bacone is 2-2 overall and boasts the nation’s #13 ranked defense. The Tribe is allowing 278.5 yards per game and has yielded only five touchdowns in four games.
Southwestern, who carry a misleading 1-3 mark into the game, are allowing 344.3 yards and have permitted 10 TD’s. The Jungle Kings have lost three home games by a touchdown or less, all in the closing minutes.
If this game comes down to turnovers, it favors the Lions. SAGU has made eight in four games, while forcing 10. Bacone has been more turnover prone, committing 10 while coaxing eight from the opposition.
That translates to the Lions being +2 while the Warriors are -2.
Fans can listen to the audio feed from the game at http://www.livestream.com/baconewarriors
(Team Stats and Averages posted below)
Bacone (BAY-kone) College utilizes a prototypical pro-offense, with a tailback, fullback and tight end in a myriad of situations. (See photo above, supplied by the BC Sports Information office)
QB Kyle Kuban, a junior, is the key to the attack. He passed for 312 yards in a 77-point explosion against Haskell University on September 22 and has run for 88 in their game at Arkansas Tech.
The Warriors have a balanced attack, averaging about 150 yards on the ground and through the air. Tyler Thomas and Aron McCoy, a pair of elusive scatbacks, have rushed for 206 and 205 yards respectively.
Kuban’s top three aerial targets are WR Sheriff Thomas, the RB Thomas and TE Rashad Rich, who have snared 11, 10 and nine catches. The latter averages about 16 yards per reception and has two of the team’s four passing TD’s.
Southwestern is led by junior QB Reid Golson (Grandview, Tx / Grandview HS), whose play so far has blazed like a wheat field fire in strong winds.
The dual threat Golson leads the NAIA’s #23 ranked passing game, connecting on 52% of his throws for 243 yards per game. He has rushed for a team-best 185 yards.
Injuries to the offensive line and the backfield have hamstrung the ground game. The Lions, who averaged 155 yards per game in 2011, are gaining just 101.5 and 2.9 per tote through four games. Look for it to improve as health improves.
The return of halfback Landry Martinez (Godley, Tx / Godley HS) was pushed back two more weeks, meaning that Cade Leuschner (Waco, Tx / Robinson HS) will get most of the carries. He has gained 120 yards and has three of the team’s four rushing scores.
A year ago the redshirt freshman rushed for 90+ yards and three TD’s against Bacone.
Sean Haynes (Katy, Tx / Univ of Houston, Taylor HS) is nicked up and remains day to day.
Jeremy McDonald (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) has 21 receptions, good for 21 yards per, while Trevor McKinley (Arlington, Tx / Seguin HS) has latched onto 16 more.
Nic Morphew (Grandview, Tx / Grandview HS) and Austin Martinez (Grandview, Tx / Grandview HS) have seven and six catches, both picking up 19 yards per.
Bacone runs a multiple set alignment, adapting with the athletes on the field.
The top two linemen are senior Dustin Sherer, who has 22 tackles, including two sacks, and former Baylor Bear Deantre Harlan, with 2.5 sacks.
Behind them is a solid linebacking unit. Daniel Shield is tops with 35 tackles, 24 of them of the solo variety. Jercorey Quarterman is second to Shield with 30 stops, also with two dozen unassisted tackles.
The Red & Black Attack can boast of Montoya Waiters’ performance in the secondary. He has two picks, returning one for a score.
The Lions’ down linemen are paced by junior D.J. Johnson (Springfield, Mo / Parkview HS), who has 19 tackles, with 2.5 coming in the enemy’s backfield.
Harry Ford (Thibodaux, La / Thibodaux HS) is second with nine tackles, and leads with a pair of QB sacks.
The linebacking corps leads the 3-3-5 scheme.
Frosh LB Dalton Snyder (Ennis, Tx / Ennis HS) has come on the scene since moving to the outside. He has 29 stops, twenty coming via the solo variety.
Sophomore Rockie Davis (Santa Fe, Tx / Santa Fe HS) has applied the brakes 23 times, none more emphatic than the fourth down abrupt halt he had against Austin College.
Freshman Jeremiah Maat (Slidell, La / Slidell HS), junior Kendal Evers (Danbury, Tx / Danbury HS) and freshman Billy Manning (Mansfield, Tx / Legacy HS) have 20, 16 and nine tackles.
The Southwestern secondary is anchored by junior Brad Heathcock (Frisco, Tx / Wakeland HS), the sure-tackling vice-grip. He leads the Purple Pride with 30 tackles as well as a wheelbarrow full of grit.
Freshman Mo Mansarary (Dallas, Tx / Conrad HS), a safety with great range, is developing as a quick-strike hybrid 'Backer, making 16 tackles.
The corners have been stellar!
As sure as rain has got water in it has been the truth of senior Nick Ekanem (Richmond, Tx / Arkansas State, B.F. Terry HS) and freshman CB Shakeem Taylor (Mesquite, Tx / Poteet HS).
Ekanem (like economy without the y) has four interceptions and 14 tackles, while Taylor has four picks and nine stops in three games.
The former broke the SAGU school mark for career interceptions in the Texas Lutheran game, while the latter has a 100-yard interception return for a TD against Howard Payne.
Bacone’s Jamie Moore has been a pleasant surprise this fall, connecting on 5-of-7 field goal attempts, the longest from 48 yards.
The aforementioned Thomas has 357 yards on kickoff returns, one for a TD. He leads the NAIA in kickoff returns, averaging 44.6 yards per runback.
Equally impressive is SAGU kicker James Gish (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS). The 5’9 junior has yet to miss on a field goal attempt, knocking down all seven tries and all 10 point after kicks.
He was honored this week as one of America's best kickers for the month of September.
Stephen Stewart (Magnolia, Tx / Magnolia West HS), a sophomore punter, is due after a few sub-par outings.
McDonald and McKinley are one of the best duos in the NAIA, averaging 29.1 and 19.2 per kickoff return. McDonald is #14 nationally.
Get your popcorn ready!
A report on the game will be posted on-line Saturday night.
OFFENSIVE TEAM TOTALS
SAGU 101.5 2.9 4 TD’s
Bacone 153.0 4.0 9 TD’s
SAGU 243.5 ypg. 52% completion. 5 TD’s / 6 INT
Bacone 149.3 yards per game. 52% completion. 3 TD’s / 6 INT
DEFENSIVE TEAM TOTALS
SAGU 344.3 yds permitted. 195.0 yds rushing. 147.5 yds passing. 5.4 yds per play. 10 TD’s / 9 INT
Bacone 278.5 yds allowed. 101.5 yds rushing. 177.0 yds passing. 4.1 yds per play. 5 TD’s 6 INT