Southland Conference Game of the Week
GAME PREVIEW: #6 Southeastern Louisiana vs. #22 Incarnate Word
When: Saturday, November 6 at 2:00 pm CST
Where: Benson Stadium; San Antonio, Texas
After helping the No. 8 Southeastern Lions to a 23-20 victory over McNeese, Lion defensive end Garrett Crawford and punter Austin Dunlap were named Southland Conference Players of the Week. In the win over the Cowboys, Crawford finished with eight tackles and led SLU with 2.5 sacks. Through eight games, Crawford leads Southeastern with seven tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Dunlap bombed a career-long 66-yard punt on the way to averaging a single-game school record 53.0 yards per punt in Saturday’s win.
Incarnate Word secured the best start in program history last Saturday night with a 49-21 victory over Houston Baptist. Quarterback Cameron Ward threw four touchdown passes, bringing his season total to 26 as he broke his own single season touchdown pass record of 24 set last year in the shortened six-game season. Running back Marcus Cooper ran the ball 18 times for 105 yards and two scores, while Kevin Brown rushed 12 times for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Southeastern Louisiana Lions (7-1, 5-0 in Southland)
Offensively the Lions are explosive – they’re scoring 47.2 points per game, which is 2nd in the FCS; their offense is averaging 551.6 yards per game, which is also 2nd in the FCS. Quarterback Cole Kelley has been phenomenal under center this season – he’s completed 234-of-320 passes (73% comp. pct.) for 2,987 yards and 28 touchdowns with six interceptions. Kelley can run the ball too – he’s rushed 95 times for 340 yards (3.58 yards per carry) with seven scores. Kelley’s favorite target is Austin Mitchell. Mitchell has 44 catches for 697 yards (15.84 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns. Defensively, the Lions are allowing 28 points per game, which is 65th in the FCS; they’re giving up 393.4 yards per game, which is 76th in the FCS.
Incarnate Word Cardinals (6-2, 4-1 in Southland)
The Cardinals can score points – they’re averaging 37.4 points per game, which is 8th in the FCS; their offense has been churning out 468.1 yards per game, which is 7th in the FCS. Quarterback Cameron Ward has been remarkable again this season – he’s completed 232-of-359 passes (64.62% comp. pct) for 2,807 yards and 26 touchdowns with six interceptions. Running back Kevin Brown has carried the ball 99 times for 558 yards (5.64 yards per carry) with eight touchdowns. Wide receiver Taylor Grimes has caught 54 passes for 712 yards (13.19 yards per catch) with nine touchdowns. Defensively, the Cardinals are only giving up 23 points per game, which ranks 38th in the FCS; they’re allowing 395.2 yards per game, which is 78th in the FCS. Linebacker Kelechi Anyalebechi anchors the defense – he has 75 tackles on the year with four tackles for loss, two sacks, and one forced fumble.
Lots of offense in this one but the Cardinals win a thriller at home.
Incarnate Word 42 Southeastern Louisiana 41
Western Athletic Conference Game of the Week
GAME PREVIEW: #25 Eastern Kentucky vs. Stephen F. Austin
When: Saturday, November 6 at 4:00 pm CST
Where: Homer Bryce Stadium; Nacogdoches, Texas
For the sixth time this season, multiple Eastern Kentucky players were chosen for ASUN weekly awards. Quarterback Parker McKinney was selected as the ASUN Offensive Player of the Week and kicker Patrick Nations was picked as the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week on the heels of EKU’s 42-10 win over Lamar. McKinney put forth one of his best showings of the season against the Cardinals – he completed 15-of-20 passes for 218 yards and three scores. Nations was a perfect 6-for-6 on his extra point attempts and limited Lamar to just one kickoff return, booming six of his seven kickoffs through the end zone for touchbacks.
Multiple Stephen F. Austin players garnered honors this week. Quarterback Trae Self was named Stats Perform FCS National Offensive Player of the Week and WAC Offensive Player of the Week. Self completed 32-of-39 passes (82% comp. pct.) for five touchdowns to lead the Lumberjacks to a 41-27 win over Abilene Christian last weekend. In addition to Self, cornerback Jeremiah Walker was named WAC Defensive Player of the Week – he had two crucial interceptions and picked up a sack in the game against Abilene Christian.
Eastern Kentucky Colonels (6-2, 1-0 in Atlantic Sun)
The Colonels do just enough offensively – they’re scoring 27.5 points per game, which is 50th in the FCS; their 348.4 yards per game ranks 76th in the FCS. Quarterback Parker McKinney has completed 142-of-232 passes for 1,533 yards and 11 touchdowns with six interceptions. Running back Da’Joun Hewitt has carried the ball 140 times for 569 yards (4.06 yards per carry) with seven scores. McKinney’s favorite target is Matt Wilcox Jr. Wilcox has caught 36 passes for 315 yards (8.75 yards per catch). Defensively, the Colonels are allowing 21.38 points per game, which is 32nd in the FCS; they’re giving up 361.4 yards per game, which is 51st in the FCS.
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (5-3, 3-1 in WAC)
The Lumberjack offense has been efficient this season, scoring 35.4 points per game, which is 12th in the FCS; their offense is averaging 420 yards per game, which is 31st in the FCS. Quarterback Trae Self has completed 173-of-267 passes (64.79% comp. pct.) for 2,112 yards and 17 touchdowns with four interceptions. Running back Miles Reed has carried the ball 78 times for 285 yards (3.65 yards per carry) with two scores. Wide Receiver Xavier Gipson has been stellar this season – he has 52 receptions for 865 yards (16.63 yards per catch) with eight touchdowns. Defensively, the Lumberjacks are allowing 20 points per game, which is 23rd in the FCS; their defense is giving up 302.8 yards per game, which is 18th in the FCS.
The Lumberjacks will pull off a mild upset at home, defeating a ranked Eastern Kentucky squad.
SFA 27 EKU 20
Other games of interest
Nicholls (4-4) at McNeese (3-5), Sat., Nov. 6, 12:00 pm CST, ESPN+
QB Lindsey Scott Jr. has been a dual threat to lead Nicholls in both passing and rushing. He has 1,898 passing yards (237.3 ypg), completing 63.1% of his passes and collecting 16 TD passes and eight INTs this season. Cody Orgeron has 1,430 passing yards (204.3 ypg) to lead McNeese, completing 61.5% of his passes and throwing 10 TD passes with just three INTs this season. Orgeron is no slouch of a runner either, so McNeese wins a nail-biter.
McNeese 27 Nicholls 24
Houston Baptist (0-8) at Northwestern State (1-7), Sat., Nov. 6, 3:00 pm CST, ESPN+
HBU had its best offensive output of the season against UIW last week – the Huskies finished the game with 364 yards of offense. The Demons went punch for punch with Nicholls last week until the very end of the first half.
Northwestern State 30 HBU 24
Lamar (2-6) at Tarleton State (4-4), Sat., Nov. 6, 6:00 pm CST, ESPN+
Lamar was steamrolled 42-10 by Eastern Kentucky last week. Tarleton hung tough with Sam Houston last week at home.
Tarleton 31 Lamar 20
Dixie State (0-8) at Sam Houston (7-0), Sat., Nov. 6, 12:00 pm CST, ESPN+
Despite its best overall performance of the 2021 season, Dixie State came up just short of its first win in a hard-fought 17-10 loss at Delaware last weekend. The Bearkats scored 31 unanswered points on their way to a 45-27 win over Tarleton last Saturday night.
Sam Houston 48 Dixie State 13
Abilene Christian (4-4) at Jacksonville State (3-5), Sat., Nov. 6, 1:00 pm CST, ESPN+
ACU QB Peyton Mansell is known for his running ability, but he can throw the ball too. He threw for 215 yards and three TDs in last week’s loss to SFA. Turnovers proved costly in the Gamecocks’ 38-14 loss to Central Arkansas last week.
Jacksonville State 24 Abilene Christian 20
Rob Butler is a lifelong Texas A&M football fan – his family is full of A&M graduates. He graduated from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas with two degrees – a BBA in Finance and an MBA. His hobbies include jogging and reading books pertaining to college football.