Southland, WAC and ASUN-WAC Alliance Game Previews – Week 11

Southland Conference Game of the Week

GAME PREVIEW: #17 Incarnate Word vs. Nicholls
When: Saturday, November 13 at 2PM CST
Where: Guidry Stadium; Thibodaux, Louisiana
TV/Streaming: ESPN3

Incarnate Word upset No. 6 Southeastern Louisiana last Saturday 55-52 to break the Lions’ six-game winning streak. The win made head coach Eric Morris the winningest coach in UIW program history, and at 7-2 it marks the Cardinals’ most wins in a single season. Cameron Ward threw for 610 yards, which is the first time a Cardinal has thrown for 600+ yards in a single game. Ward’s 3,147 passing yards is the most in UIW program history. Taylor Grimes had 193 receiving yards on 12 catches, with a touchdown reception. 

Over the last two fall seasons, the Nicholls State Colonels have amped up their play in November, and last Saturday against McNeese was no different as the Colonels earned a third consecutive victory with a 24-14 win in Lake Charles. Freshman Collin Guggenheim turned in his third consecutive 100-yard game to lead the offense, rushing for 125 yards and two touchdowns. His second touchdown came early in the fourth quarter which gave Nicholls a 21-14 advantage. 

Incarnate Word Cardinals (7-2, 5-1 in Southland)

Offensively the Cardinals have been unstoppable – they’re scoring 39.3 points per game, which is 7th in the FCS; their offense is averaging 495 yards per game, which is 4th in the FCS.  Quarterback Cameron Ward has been outstanding under center this season – he’s completed 266-of-411 passes (64.72% comp. pct.) for 3,417 yards and 33 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Kevin Brown has carried the ball 105 times for a team-high 623 yards (69.2 per game), with eight touchdowns this season. The Cardinals’ defense has been pedestrian at best – they’re allowing 26.22 points per game, which is 56th in the FCS; they’re allowing 437.3 yards per game, which is 103rd in the FCS.  

Nicholls Colonels (5-4, 4-2 in Southland) 

The Colonels are averaging 33.2 points per game, which is 19th in the FCS; their offense has been churning out 486.4 yards per game, which is 6th in the FCS. Lindsey Scott Jr. has thrown for 1,923 yards (213.7 ypg) to lead Nicholls State, completing 62.4% of his passes and collecting 16 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions this season. Collin Guggenheim has rushed for 523 yards (87.2 per game) on 84 carries with six touchdowns. Dai’Jean Dixon’s 912 receiving yards (101.3 yards per game) lead the team. He has 63 receptions with eight touchdowns. Defensively, Nicholls has been mediocre at best – they’re allowing 27.22 points per game, which is 62nd in the FCS; the Colonels are giving up 374.8 yards per game, which is 64th in the FCS. 

Fearless Prediction

The Cardinals win a pivotal game on the road as they stay in the race for the Southland title.

Incarnate Word 37 Nicholls 34

Western Athletic Conference Game of the Week

GAME PREVIEW: Eastern Kentucky vs. #1 Sam Houston
When: Saturday, November 13 at 12:00 PM CST
Where: Bowers Stadium; Huntsville, Texas
TV/Streaming: ESPN+

Eastern Kentucky dropped its first ASUN-WAC Challenge game of the season with a 31-17 loss to Stephen F. Austin last Saturday night in Nacogdoches. Parker McKinney was 30-of-50 for 273 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He also led the Colonels with 100 yards rushing. Jyran Mitchell caught a team-high eight passes for 69 yards. Linebacker Kyle Bailey led EKU’s defense with 12 tackles, while linebacker Matthew Jackson added nine stops. Defensive back Jaden Woods notched an interception and T.K. McClendon Jr. made six tackles. 

Sam Houston scored early and often in every phase of the game en route to a 59-10 victory over Dixie State in Huntsville last Saturday. The No. 1 Bearkats rushed for 403 yards with running backs Ramon Jefferson, Kyran Jackson, Zach Hrbacek and Weston Stephens all scoring touchdowns on the ground. Stephens led the way with 90 yards rushing and Jefferson and Hrbacek each finished with 76 yards on the ground. Sam Houston has now won 19 straight games dating back to the 2019 season.

Eastern Kentucky Colonels (6-3, 1-0 in Atlantic Sun) 

The Colonels do just enough offensively – they’re scoring 26.8 points per game, which is 57th in the FCS; their 354 yards per game ranks 65th in the FCS. Quarterback Parker McKinney has 

thrown for 1,568 yards (196.0 ypg) to lead Eastern Kentucky, completing 59.8% of his passes and recording 11 touchdown passes and seven interceptions this season. Da’Joun Hewitt’s team-high 503 rushing yards (62.9 per game) have come on 124 carries, with four touchdowns this year. Matt Wilcox Jr. has put together a 271-yard season so far (33.9 receiving yards per game) with one touchdown, reeling in 31 passes. The Colonels aren’t bad defensively – they’re allowing 22.44 points per game, which is 35th in the FCS; they’re giving up 371.6 yards per game, which is 62nd in the FCS.

Sam Houston Bearkats (8-0, 4-0 in WAC) 

The Bearkat offense has been magnificent this season, scoring 43.44 points per game, which is 3rd in the FCS; their offense is averaging 494.5 yards per game, which is 5th in the FCS. Eric Schmid leads Sam Houston with 1,602 passing yards (228.9 ypg) on 121-of-219 passing (55.2% comp. pct.) with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. He also adds 228 rushing yards (32.6 ypg) on 49 carries while scoring two touchdowns on the ground. Ramon Jefferson has carried the ball 111 times of a team-high 837 yards (104.6 per game), with eight touchdowns this year. The Bearkats are solid defensively – they’re allowing 17 points per game, which is 11th in the FCS; they’re giving up 320.4 yards per game, which is 24th in the FCS.  

Prediction

The Bearkats are on their way back to Frisco for another FCS title before they jump to FBS.

Sam Houston 37 EKU 13

Other games of interest

McNeese (3-6) at Houston Baptist (0-9), Sat., Nov. 13, 2:00 PM CST, ESPN+

McNeese QB Cody Orgeron accounted for 244 total yards last week against Nicholls – 164 passing and 80 rushing – and moved into third place on the school’s all-time total offense list with 7,461 yards. HBU freshman QB Orion Olivas completed 28-of-40 passes for 281 yards in the 28-24 loss to Northwestern State last week.

McNeese 38 HBU 10

Northwestern State (2-7) at #14 Southeastern Louisiana (7-2) Sat., Nov. 13, 6:00 PM CST, ESPN3

Northwestern State produced its highest-scoring quarter of the season to cap a come-from-behind 28-24 victory over Houston Baptist last Saturday. SE La QB Cole Kelley set new school records for passing yards, completions and attempts last Saturday in the loss to UIW – he finished with 647 yards on 50-for-68 passing and three TDs. 

SE La 52 Northwestern State 21

Jacksonville State (4-5) at Lamar (2-7) Sat., Nov. 13, 4:00 PM CST, ESPN+

After nearly nine years at Jacksonville State and eight as its head coach, John Grass and JSU mutually agreed to part ways following Saturday’s home finale against Abilene Christian. Lamar put up a tough fight last Saturday evening but dropped a 42-21 decision at Tarleton. 

JSU 31 Lamar 17

Tarleton (5-4) at Abilene Christian (4-5), Sat., Nov. 13, 1:00 PM CST, ESPN+

Tarleton linebacker Devin Sterling was named WAC Defensive Player of the Week – he recorded a career-high eight tackles in the Texans’ 42-21 win over Lamar. ACU wide receiver Kobe Clark had 143 receiving yards on six catches last week against Jacksonville State.

ACU 30 Tarleton 28

Stephen F. Austin (6-3) at Central Arkansas (5-4) Sat., Nov. 13, 4:00 PM CST, ESPN+

SFA WR Xavier Gipson racked up 138 receiving yards and three touchdowns on four catches in the win over EKU last Saturday. Central Arkansas QB Breylin Smith was named the ASUN Offensive Player of the Week – he completed 13-of-17 passes for 410 yards and five touchdowns in UCA’s 63-3 victory over Texas Wesleyan last Saturday. 

SFA 34 Central Arkansas 31

Fort Lewis (0-0) at Dixie State (0-9), Sat. Nov 13, 7:00 PM MST, ESPN+

The Trailblazers have played the most difficult schedule in the FCS this season.

Dixie State 56 Fort Lewis 3

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