Saturday, October 25, 2008

8-0 for first time in 58 years

Wildcats beat Tarleton State without Billy Malone. But Batman didn't need his Robin tonight, Bernard Scott gained 259 yards on the ground and 32 in the air along with three rushing touchdowns to help the Wildcats keep their hopes for an undefeated regular season, and LSC title, and a third-straight trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs alive.

Zach Stewart did a solid job of filling in for Malone who may go down as the greatest quarterback in LSC history. Malone suffered an injury in the fourth quarter of the win against West Texas A&M last week.

Stewart was 21 of 27 with one pick, 197 yards and two touchdown tosses (the first two of his career).

Wildcats head to Kingsville Saturday to try and keep the train moving. Kingsville defeated Tarleton State a few weeks ago.

See you next week.

Make em Pay

Vantrise Studavant sacked Grantham causing a fumble which Aston Whiteside recovered at the TSU 30-yard line. Scott took the next play on a counter from right to left and scored a 30-yard touchdown to put the Wildcats up 30-10. Cameron Epple blocked Adams' PAT.

Wildcats 30 Texans 10 (3:03, 3Q)

Pound the Rock

ACU ran the ball all 7 plays of a 52-yard drive eating 3:28 off the clock. Bernard had five carries for 40 yards and capped it with a 4-yard score. He has 188 yards on the ground and 32 yards through the air. That was Scott's 15th rushing touchdown of the season and the Wildcats are up 24-10 with 4:41 left in the third quarter.

Adams puts ACU on board in second half

Bernard Scott's 41-yard run keyed a drive that helped Matt Adams and the Wildcats get on the board first in the second half with a 30-yard field goal to make the score 17-10 with 8:09 left in the third.

Tarleton's drive stalled with a punt to start the third before the Wildcats drove and settled for a field goal when wide-open Johhny Knox was under thrown in the endzone.

On the ensuing kickoff, Eric Edwards forced Travis Evans to fumble and ACU recovered and is driving again.

Bad Penalty leads to TSU touchdown

It was third and long - Tony Harp hit a TSU receiver after the ball had passed him in an inevitable incompletion. However, pass interference was the call. If anything, it was a personal foul for a late hit.

But even still, after the penalty, the Texans marched down and scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass to Devin Guinn from Grantham.

Wildcats 14 Texans 10 Halftime

45-yard field goal

Garrett Lindholm knocked in a 45-yard field goal for the first points of the board for the Texans. Tarleton is trying to drive and score from its own 4-yard line.

22-yard TD run for Scott

Wildcats 14 Texans 0

Stewart's clicking, Scott's clicking and with the exception of letting TSU have a couple of solid runs, the ACU defense is showing its superiority.

I know there is a lot of football left to play today, but it's hard to ignore, that even with our star quarterback not on the field, the Wildcats may be on a completely different level than everyone in the conference. Week after week, teams think that they will have a chance to give ACU a challenge, but the Wildcats have responded in dominating fashion with each opponent.

Let's see if they can keep this level of play up the rest of today and the rest of the season.

stewart's on fire, looking to close another drive

After the touchdown ACU and Tarleton are exchanging possessions. Two punts by Tarleton and another fumble for ACU's Johnny Knox. For those who might have thought it would be Stewart that might struggle, the redshirt freshman completed his first 11 passes and should have had 12 straight except for a dropped pass.

Bernard Scott has eight carries for 71 yards in this first quarter. It must be laundry day at Shotwell because there have been eight penalties combined so far in the first 14 minutes of the contest.

Wildcats are driving on Tarleton's 21-yard line after Stewart surpassed the 100-yard mark in the first quarter with his second pass to Emery Dudensing.

First quarter comes to an end.

He did what .?!?

Alex Harbison picked off a Scott Grantham pass, however, Bernard Scott fumbled three plays later for the first time in his ACU career giving the ball back to TSU at the Wildcat 39-yard line.

No Billy No Botha, Stewart to Holloway for a TD

Stewart's first offensive drive as a collegiate starter was successful. He completed all five passes to four different receivers for 39 yards and found Kendrick Holloway in the endzone for a 3-yard score.

Matt Adams' PAT good

Wildcats 7 Tarleton 0 (10:43, 1Q)

Let's see what this Tarleton running game is all about ...

starting under center ...

Zach Stewart. Many had probably heard the rumors, but Billy Malone suffered an undisclosed injury in the fourth quarter of the WT game and won't start today against the Texans. However, he could be available to play and warmed up before the game zipping balls around the field like normal.

We'll see where the road takes us today as a win today helps keep the undefeated streak alive and keeps the Wildcats chances for its first Lone Star Conference title since 2002.

They honored the 1973 national championship football team, the 1984 track and field team as well as the four individuals who were inducted into the ACU Atheletics Hall of Fame last night.

Jerry Dyes, Linda Evans, Michelle King and former Wildcat quarterback Rex Lamberti were inducted last night.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Video Highlights from ACU v WT; Notes and Audio Blogs

Brandon Tripp of the ACU Optimist traveled to Canyon and provided some video highlights and reporting from the Wildcats' big win over WTAMU Saturday. Check out the YouTube video below:


Week 8 Football Notes
Week 8 Women's Soccer Notes
Cross Country Notes

Audio Blog:

Chris Thomsen recaps WT and previews Tarleton State

I'm a little behind on galleries if you haven't noticed, Once this week is over, I should be able to put a few more up. Thanks for checking back with us so often, if you haven't noticed, we've passed the 10,000 visits mark!!!! You're welcome to let us know what you think of the blog so far, and if there's anything else you'd like to see, the email for this blog is

Little tidbits:
• Bernard Scott was LSC South Division Offensive Player of the week and National DII Player of the Week
• Jennie Hutt was LSC South Division Offensive Player of the Week for volleyball
• Crissy Lawson was LSC Goal Keeper of the Week for soccer

Keep it up Wildcats, what a fall!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Game time is almost here ...

There's not a bigger game in NCAA Division II football this weekend than the one that kicks off in about 40 minutes.

#3 ACU at #4 West Texas A&M from Kimbrough Stadium in Canyon.

All the talking has stopped and shortly we're going to find out which team has the best squad (at least for this week) in the Lone Star Conference.

Can the Buffs fight off the Wildcats and put themselves on track for a fourth straight conference championship?

Has ACU's defensive improvement given it the strength it needs to finally push past the Buffs and the rest of the league and win its first conference football championship since 1977?

Can the Wildcats do anything to stop the the Buffs' offense?

How will the Buffs cope with the firm of Scott, Malone, Knox and Gates?

The west stands (home side) are almost full and the east side is filling up with folks still streaming in and traffic backed up on I-27 coming into the stadium.

Should be a lot of fun. Make sure you tune in to KYYW 1470 AM for the play-by-play, or on TV in Abilene on KTAB. Game can also be seen and heard on


Friday, October 17, 2008

Wildcat soccer knocks off second-place UCO Bronchos; Women's Basketball Podcasts

The ACU Wildcats defense had another stout effort and handed Central Oklahoma only its second LSC loss of the season with a 1-0 victory Friday afternoon at the ACU Soccer Field.

Read the Release

Catch up with head women's basketball coach Shawna Lavender as she talks about the first day of practice and runs through the entire Wildcat roster.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Notes from around the Wildcat Den

Lots of things to cover. What an incredibly busy week here on the hill! There are two home soccer matches this weekend, both basketball teams began 'official' practice today, cross country, golf finished their fall season, tennis, and volleyball are all active ... and oh yeah, possibly the best two teams in NCAA Division II are squaring off in Canyon as the No. 3-ranked Wildcats will face the No. 4-ranked West Texas A&M Buffaloes in front of an anticipated crowd of more than 20,000 fans.

First, I know that Lance has already posted an official release, but go to, click on the College football tab and on the bottom right-hand corner of the page there is a mug shot of Bruce Feldman promoting his blog. The title tonight is "The return of Billy Don Malone."

Don't let the middle name confuse you, it's our boy. I would give you the link, but I want you to do a little work to get to it.

Secondly, ACU is chartering two buses to Canyon Saturday morning for ACU fans to go to the game. All Wildcat fans have to do is pay for the ticket to the game and their own food. In response to West Texas A&M's "Maroon Out" campaign for Saturday's game, the ACU Athletic department is encouraging Wildcat fans to wear purple to show our own unified support of the team.

I would hope that there will be a concerted effort for fans to show up for one of the biggest games in the school's football history, however, if you aren't unable to make it, luckily you can show your support by viewing the game on local TV on KTAB (Channel 10 for SuddenLink; Channel 32 for rabbit ears)

I won't talk much about the hype of the football game, you can get an insight of that by:

Reading the game notes, &
Listening to a podcast with head coach Chris Thomsen (10:10)

Although most of the fall sports are smack in the middle of their regular seasons, it is always an exciting time on Oct. 15 when the basketball teams take the floor officially. Both head coach Jason Copeland and Shawna Lavender were at ACU's Athletics Media Luncheon this afternoon talking about the upcoming season.

The Wildcat men are picked to finish third in the LSC South after their first LSC postseason appearance in a decade last season. The Wildcat women are picked to finish second in the LSC South after finishing with an 11-3 mark in league play and an LSC Tournament win in the quarterfinals.

Below are pictures of both Copeland and Lavender in action today in the first official practice of the 2008-09 season.

You'll get a chance to hear a podcast from both Lavender and Copeland at some point this week, so check back on the blog to hear from them. Lavender's would have been available today, however, we had technical difficulties and lost the interview.

I had a chance to catch up with head soccer coach Casey Wilson today. Here are his comments on the upcoming weekend in which the team plays host to two conference matches. The Wildcats need to finish in the top six in the LSC to make the postseason in only the program's second year of existence.

The Wildcats are currently 1-2-1 in conference play and are standing seventh. ACU plays Central Oklahoma Friday at 4 p.m.; the Bronchos are 3-1 in league play and are second in the LSC behind WTAMU. Sunday, Southwestern comes to town at 2 p.m. and are 0-4 in conference play.

Read this week's soccer preview

Head coach Kellen Mock and the volleyball team will try and get back on the winning track after dropping its only match last week to Angelo State. The Rambelles basically dominated the Wildcats despite ACU winning the first set; ASU took the final three sets.

Read this week's volleyball preview

The tennis team will be sending three players to compete for individual ITA Championships in Mobile, Ala. this weekend.

Read the ITA National Championship Preview

The men's golf team wrapped up its non-traditional fall season by finishing fourth at the Territory Classic in Oklahoma.

Read about the team's final fall tournament

That'll do it for this week's "Around the Wildcat Den" Check back for audio blogs with the basketball team, and we hope to see you in Canyon!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Combined Blog Post from ACU FB game vs. Angelo State

Wildcats move to 6-0
Like much of us thought - ASU's defense, though more stout than other LSC teams in the league hadn't faced the offensive firepower of the Wildcats.

Knox's record-setting night and Malone's 5TD passes were the highlight.

Next up, is the biggest game of the season as the Wildcats head to Canyon to face No. 4-ranked West Texas A&M.


Wildcats 51 ASU 7

Knox sets school record, ties LSC record and another school record
Knox caught his fourth touchdown pass of the night on a drag rout and scored from 29 yards out.

The senior has six receptions for 232 yards and four touchdowns.

The 232 yards passes REggie McGowan's 1985 mark of 228 yards on nine catches. McGowan accomplished that feat against Stephen F. Austin.

Scooter Phillips also had a record-breaking game in 1985 against Northern Colorado when he caught four touchdown passes. The LSC record is four touchdown passes caught, Knox did it for the ninth time in conference history. And .... he did it in three quarters - the big three (Malone, Knox, Scott) are likely done for the night.

Adams' PAT was good, Wildcats 51 Rams 7

The Rams are driving as the buzzer sounded for the end of the third quarter.
Posted by Kyle Robarts at 9:05 PM 0 comments

80-yard return squandered by Rams
Matt Adams drug down Garrett Tidwell after an 80-yard kickoff return.

However, Aston Whiteside blocked Dylan Wiggs' first career field goal attempt from 30 yards out.

A few plays later, Malone got his 20th touchdown pass to Johhny Knox from 47 yards out. Knox did most of the work on the play reversing field for his third score of the game. It also gave him 203 yards, which is a career high. Previously he had 183 yards a high against WTAMU in 2007. Knox also scored three touchdowns against Mesa State in the NCAA Playoffs.

Malone is now over the 10,500 yard mark passing for his career.

Adams' PAT was blocked, making it just the second extra point missed in 2008.

Wildcats 44 Rams 7

Five-Straight Weeks with a defensive touchdown
Quarterback Will Mezger threw a pass of the hands of Jeremy Hill, the ball popped up in the air and Quinton Wilson took it back for a 56-yard inteception return. It was Quinton Wilson's first interception of the 2008 season.

Adams' PAT is good.

This makes the fifth-straight games for the No. 3 Wildcats to have a defensive score. The season-opener against Northwest Missouri State was the only game we didn't have a defensive score.

The marks 42 points this season for the 2008 defense after the 2007 defensive unit didn't score.

Wildcats 38 Rams 7

First Half Numbers
Malone; 9-16-1, 222 yards, 3 TD
Scott; 17-55, 1 TD
Knox; 4-156, 2 TD

Team Offense:

ACU 33-277
ASU 29-111

Scoring Summary

1st - 13:49 - ACU - Knox 59 yd pass from Malone (Adams Kick) 7-0
02:24 - ACU - Knox 60 yd pass from Malone (Adams Kick) 14-0
2nd - 09:30 - ACU - Scott 1 yd run (Adams Kick) 21-0
09:12 - ASU - Daniel Thomas 87 yd run (Wiggs Kick) 21-7
08:05 - ACU - Adams 39 yd field goal - 24-7
00:45 - ACU - Holloway 5 yd pass from Malone (Adams Kick) 31-7

Reminiscent of Super Bowl 27
Willis Hogan got an interception for the Wildcats and appeared to be taking it to the house, however, Sam Tindol smacked it out from behind at the 11-yard line and the ball went out of the endzone for an ASU touchback. However, Hogan wasn't showboating like Lett did when Bebe knocked it out of his hands, Tindol just simply knocked it out as Hogan attempted to score.

No damage done, the Rams couldn't muster up and offensive drive thanks to a tackle for loss and a sack. After a punt, the Wildcats are driving from the ASU 6-yard line.

Billy Malone found Kendrick Holloway in the endzone for his third touchdown of the night for his 19th of the season.

Adams' PAT is good and the Wildcats lead 30-7 with 45 seconds remaining in the half.

Adams knocks one through
Matt Adams hit a 39-yard field goal to put the Wildcats up 24-7.

This season he's 38-39 on extra points and 5-6 on field goals to give the senior kicker 53 points on the season.

ACU gave up a 87-yard touchdown run to Daniel Thomas; after Wiggs' extra-point the score is ACU 21, ASU 7.

Before Thomas' run, the longest play that the Wildcat defense had allowed was 32 yards.

ACU's Kendrick Holloway fields the kickoff at the 45-yard line and returned it for 28 yards with 9:05 left in the second quarter.

ACU 14 plays 173 yards
ASU 13 plays 3 yards

ASU held Eastern New Mexico to 172 yards for the entire game last week, however, the Wildcats exceeded that in the first quarter.

Drew Cufee got his first pick of the season off ASU backup quarterback Michael Cochran. He had a nice return of 21 yards after breaking a tackle.

The Wildcats are threatening again in their first trip to the redzone. Malone just over threw a wide open Knox, which could have been the duo's third hook up of the game.

Scott just ran the ball to the 2-yard line, had a facemask call, so it's first and goal from the 1-yard line.

Rams stuff Scott on the 1-yard line to bring up second down. ASU answers again as the Wildcats no-huddle with the same play but the Rams are tough again. Third and 1, but this one didn't matter, Scott wouldn't be denied his 11 rushing touchdown of the season.

Adams' PAT is good

Wildcats 21 Rams 0

Malone to Knox, revisited
Billy Don hit Knox on a comeback route at about the ASU 35-yard line, Knox then had open field, got a great block from Tyjuan Manning and scampered in for a 60-yard score. That gives Knox four touchdowns on the year, and three receptions for 135 yards and two scores with still 2:24 remaining in the first quarter.

Adams PAT good

Wildcats 14 Rams 0

Punt, Punt, Pick
Dylan Wiggs punted for ASU and it was downed at the 1-yard line. ACU went three-and-out and punted to the 36 yard line; the Wildcat defense then forced the Rams to turn the ball over on downs.

However, on the second play of the drive, ASU's Ian Ritchie picked off an attempted screen pass from Malone to Scott, which the Wildcats ran several times last week against ECU. ACU went four wide and sent the receivers deep; last week Scott had 173 yards receiving often thanks to the screen play. However, the Rams' coaching staff did its homework.

Kobey Lewis just made his first play at Shotwell Stadium with a carry for five yards. Lewis was a standout running back for Abilene High School, went to Texas Tech for two seasons where he was the starter in 2007 for head coach Mike Leach.

The Wildcats just forced another punt after the interception, but it was another solid special teams effort for Wiggs and the ASU Rams downed the ball at the ACU 3-yard line.
Posted by Kyle Robarts at 7:16 PM 0 comments

Three plays, 17th touchdown pass for Malone
'Cats got the kickoff, one rush by Bernard, one pass from Malone to Morris, then a 59-yard strike from Billy to Johnny Knox who burned the Ram secondary - beautiful throw into that 17 MPH wind I was talking about earlier. Adams PAT good.

Wildcats 7 Rams 0 (1st Quarter 13:49)

Pre-Game Football Thoughts
I've noticed it seems that the wind hasn't been blowing at all in Abilene except for on game days for ACU football. It hasn't seemed to affect them as the Wildcats have outscored their two opponents at home (A&M-Commerce, East Central) 111-21 in two games. However, I think it would be nice to know what our air attack would be capable of with just a light wind.

A lot of talk has been made about the Angelo State defense thus far. THey are reanked second in total defense in the LSC behind us, however, I'm having trouble assuming that this will be a tougher game than the weeks before this season. Only because, Other than Texas State (NCAA Division I-AA) Angelo's opponents this year, when not playing the Rams haven't tallied an offensive total higher than 380 yards in a game. This leads me to believe, that though their LSC ranking is high on the defensive end, I don't believe that they've faced the caliber of opponents so far that they're about to see tonight.

In fact I can almost guarantee it, we average 540 yards per game, 54 points a game which equals a point for every 10 yards of offense (Thanks Lance).

The Big Purple is playing Grandioso right now with 12 minutes left on the scoreboard.

Remember to email Grant at Chuck if you have any questions or comments while listening to the radio broadcats. Remember, if you're at home, you can tune to KRBC TV (NBC Affiliate, Channel 5 with SuddenLink and Channel 9 with Rabbit Ears). If you want to listen to Grant and Chuck, tune in to 1440 AM KYYW.

Friday, October 10, 2008

You Tube of Danieal

If you look at this clip, it's several highlights of Danieal Manning's top plays at ACU. If you go to the 1:04 mark of the video, it is the play I mentioned in the blog two days ago.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Combined Blog Post from ACU vs. ASU VB match

Wildcats fall to 2-3 in LSC play

They finished strong all night and the Rambelles walk away with a 3-1 victory over ACU after the Wildcats took the first set.

Abilene Christian falls to 14-7 overall and 2-3 in the LSC. The loss snaps a 10-match win streak that the Wildcats had over the Rambelles.

I'll post the game story shortly and combine the blogs into one.

Backs against the wall

Trailing 20-13 in the fourth set, Mock has taken a timeout to try and rally the Wildcats to force a fifth and deciding set. Since getting within three points at 13-10, the Rambelles have outscored ACU 10-3.

Libero swap

After starting in a 6-1 hole, Mock subbed in freshman Kelsie Edwards for Amy Wilson at the libero spot. The adjustment has seemed to pay off so far as the wildcats are on a 9-6 run trailing 13-10.

Angelo takes set three

After knotting the score at 15, the Rambelles outscored ACU 10-4 to close the third set and take a 2-1 lead in the match. The Wildcats are now in danger of losing to ASU for the first time since Oct. 1, 2002.

ACU managed to hit .000 in the third set with 10 kills and 10 errors on 30 attacks. The Rambelles, however, hit .240. It was a close set until the end, the score was tied nine times with four lead changes early, however, the Rembelles are showing their stamina at the end of sets and putting ACU away.

ASU's Alaina Sivells had five kills on eight attacks in the third set and leads all players with 10. Duncan has nine and ACU's Hutt has nine.

Golden sat the third set with seven kills and Curry came in, however, the junior had no kills and two errors on six attacks. Golden is on the floor in the fourth set.

As I finish this post, Angelo State is up 6-1 in the fourth set.

Cats in trouble in set three

Mock has just taken another timeout, the lead has changed and tied several times this set, but ASU just scored three straight points to break a 15-15 tie. Angelo appears to have the ability to finish strong tonight.

Sometimes being right is no fun

The momentum did carry over into set two as the Rambelles evened the match with a 25-21 win in set two. The lead changed twice in the match after ACU took the early lead; The Wildcats went up 16-15, however, ASU countered by outscoring the Wildcats 10-5 in the final 15 points of the set.

While the NCAA reduced the the point total of each set to 25 rather than 30, they did find a way to extend matches by having a 10-minute intermission after set two in conference matches. If you didn't have the intermission, often times a three-set match could be over in under an hour.

Wildcat freshmen Hutt and Golden have seven kills apiece and ASU's Duncan leads the match with a .400 hitting percentage and seven kills. Angelo hit .314 in the second set, leaving ACU with a narrow edge in that category through both sets at .176 to the Rambelles' .160.

Kellen's turn ...

Coach Mock called a timeout as Angelo took their first lead of the match at 12-11. The Rambelles' Kimber Duncan had an impressive kill that bounced off the head of one of ACU's players, which fired up the ASU student section that is showing great support in both numbers and vocally.

Youth movement

Six players are on the floor right now, three freshman, two sophomores and a junior. Whatever the outcome of 2008, ACU has a lot to look forward to as these players continue to play together and develop a chemistry.

Thanks to more notes from ASU's Ronn, I now know that Angelo has won only match this season after falling in the first set. As I finish this post, ACU leads set two 4-2.

'Cats win set one but ...

The momentum could be shifting ... The Wildcats were up 23-11 before the Rambelles stormed back to score 10 of the final 12 points of the set. After a quick start, we could be in for a much tougher second set.

Angelo only hit .025 in the first set, but the Wildcats did all they could to help with five serve receiving errors. ACU wasn't exactly at its best offensively hitting .167 but Golden and Hutt had five and three kills respectively.

First timeout, Wildcats' underclassmen off to hot start

Angelo called a timeout after Britni Golden knocked in her third kill of the set to put ACU up 14-6. Golden got her first LSC start of her career (and as I was typing put down her fourth kill) tonight and she has responded in place of Erin Curry. Freshman Jennie Hutt has a pair of kills and Shawna Hines has been in on three blocks already.

It's been a long time since I've been to the Junell Center in San Angelo. I'd forgotten how nice the place is. The $20 million dollar complex seats 6,500 and features a 9 X 12 video board.

Tonight's match features two Lone Star Conference teams with 2-2 records. ACU has won 10-straight over the Rambelles and ASU hasn't beaten ACU since the 2002 season when head coach Kellen Mock was a sophomore for the Wildcats. Thanks to Ronn, Angelo's assistant SID, I now know that as a player and a coach Mock is 11-2 all-time against the Rambelles.

Talking with a lot of the players and Mock before the match - the Wildcats are excited about the opportunity to put a win on the board, but also this weekend will be the first weekend they've had off since the long journey of the season began Aug. 15.

Updates throughout the match to come ...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Memories of No. 11

I can't think about an ACU football game against Angelo State without thinking about the Wildcats' unbelievable comeback victory over the Rams in 2004. That year, Danieal Manning completely altered the offensive and special teams schemes of Wildcat opponents all year.

Punters would rarely punt to him, quarterbacks wouldn't consider throwing to his side of the field and ground attacks usually went to the side opposite of the all-American safety. It didn't stop him from making plays.

ACU was down 25-15 with six minutes to play at Shotwell Oct. 10, 2004. Manning had already returned a punt for a touchdown in the first half prompting the Rams punt the ball out of bounds every time after. However, on a fourth down with six minutes remaining, head coach Gary Gaines stuck Dawon Gentry and Manning deep to return.

Gentry fielded the punt and appeared the he would run a reverse to Manning to get the spectacular returner the ball, however, he faked the pitch and proceeded to scamper in for a 73-yard score. Then on the ensuing possession, the Rams tried to run out the clock. However, on a 3rd-and-one Manning stripped the ball from ASU's running back, scooped the ball up and scored his second touchdown of the day to seal a 29-25 victory over the Rams.

One of the many spectacular performances from the current Chicago Bear. Manning had early success with the Bears and started in the Super Bowl in 2006 at free safety for Chicago in their loss to Indianapolis. He split time at corner and free safety last season, and this season he's Chicago's nickel back and second team kick returner.

A week ago he sacked future hall-of-famer Donovan McNabb on Sunday night football (pictured). I found this article interesting (Chicago Tribune), especially since he expressed his faith in an interview about his reduced role with the team.

Here is one of his quotes:

"My faith, my hard work, and just trying to be the ballplayer that I am, I let that all take care of itself," Manning said. "God's always going to make a way for me, regardless. I just have to keep putting the work in."

When watching Manning at ACU, he seemed to be a man among boys playing on the field. To me he made more impact than any Wildcat I've seen since I've moved here in 1990. I've seen a lot of football games since then. With the 2008 Wildcats in action, it could be aruged that any number of these No. 3-ranked ACU players make that kind of impact. Namely Bernard Scott, Billy Malone, and Johnny Knox. I think for me its hard to make the comparison because the 2008 team makes it seem so easy. I was away from ACU during the 2006 and 2007 seasons working at McMurry - I kept up with the Wildcats through reading and saw several times where Scott came up huge, but didn't witness it personally.

On the other hand, Manning and Gaines' Wildcats were often in a struggle just to win ball games, and Manning seemed to make huge plays when the spotlight was on.

I'm sure that I'll see those opportunities in the future for the "Big Three" in the coming weeks when the competition will undoubtedly get tougher (Angelo, Tarleton, Kingsville, Midwestern, WTAMU).

This week's game notes - Thomsen audio blog

Interview with head football coach Chris Thomsen previewing Angelo State and reviewing the East Central Game (10:32)

Week 6 Football Notes
Week 7 Volleyball Notes
Week 6 Women's Soccer Notes

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

This and that about ACU football ...

Most of you have probably seen the first regional rankings for football, the one that has ACU planted at No. 2 behind No. 1 West Texas A&M in the Super Region Four rankings.

The first thing that hits me is this: Why in the world would the NCAA change the names of the regions from Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and Northwest to Super Region One, Super Region Two, Super Region Three and Super Region Four? Stupid if anybody's asking, and they're not.

But wasn't it easy to keep up with the regions by the name of the country they were in. Trying to other regions now will be a little bit tougher. This is a little bit reminiscent of the NCAA going to the "pod system" a few years ago for the NCAA Tournament and re-naming each bracket by the city where that region's final would be played.

The second thing that hits me is that ACU is in good shape in the first poll. Of course head coach Chris Thomsen and the Wildcats like to be No. 1 in the region, but realistically they're in much better shape in the poll than in either of the two prevoious seaons in which they ended up making the playoffs.

In 2006 the Wildcats were ranked No. 5 in the first regional poll of the season, and last year they were ranked No. 8 in the first regional poll.

West Texas A&M probably out-pointed the Wildcats because they have three wins over teams that not only have winning records (Mesa State, Texas A&M-Kingsville and Midwestern State), but that are all ranked in the top eight in regional polls. Midwestern State (4-1) is ranked No. 6 in Super Region Four, while Kingsville is 4-2 and ranked eighth in the region. Mesa State, meanwhile, is 4-2 and ranked No. 8 in Super Region Three.

The Wildcats, meanwhile, have only one win over a team with a winning record, although that one win was over a Northwest Missouri State that is ranked No. 3 in Super Region Four behind WTAM and ACU. The Bearcats have been on a serious roll since the season-opening loss to ACU and last week beat Pitt State, 35-10, in their annual game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

ACU has the toughest closing stretch of any team in the region, however, with games against Angelo State (Oct. 11), at West Texas A&M (Oct. 18), vs. Tarleton State (Oct. 25), a huge game at Kingsville (Nov. 1) and the regular-season finale against what could be a Midwestern State desparate for a win to get into the playoffs on Nov. 8.

A lot of things can happen between now and Nov. 9 when the playoff pairings are announced, but it comes down to this for the Wildcats: they probably can't afford more than two losses in their last five games in order to reach the playoffs, and even that might be one too many. On the flip side, if the Wildcats can win out they'll earn the region's No. 1 seed and play at home until at least the semifinals where they would face the winner of the extremely tough Super Region Two, which features Delta State, Valdosta State and North Alabama.

But like I said, there's a ton of football -- against great opponents and in some tough environments -- to look too far down the road. Right now everyone outside the program is talking about next week's showdown with West Texas A&M, but I know head coach Chris Thomsen and his team are focused on Angelo State and only on Angelo State.

* The Wildcats' next two games will be broadcast locally, thanks to ACU's partnership with KRBC/KTAB-TV.

This Saturday, ACU will host Angelo State at 7 p.m. at Shotwell Stadium, and that game will be broadcast live on KRBC-TV with Al Pickett doing the play-by-play and KSAN-TV sports director Randy Ward doing the color commentary.

Then the Wildcats' Oct. 18 showdown against West Texas A&M will be broadcast live on KTAB-TV at 6 p.m. Details about production and commentators for that game will be released at a later date.

The last time ACU was on local televsion was last Nov. 17 when the Wildcats blew out Mesa State (Colo.), 56-12, in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs at Shotwell Stadium.

* The ACU athletics department has announced that Saturday night's game against Angelo State at Shotwell Stadium will be part of the department's "Dollar Night" promotion.

ACU, ranked No. 4 in the nation and No. 2 in the region, is 5-0 overall, 4-0 in the Lone Star Conference and 1-0 in the LSC South Division. Angelo State, meanwhile, is 3-3 overall, 3-1 in the LSC and 1-1 in the LSC South. Kickoff at Shotwell Stadium is set for 7 p.m.

ACU director of athletics Jared Mosley announced Monday afternoon that all fans who attend the Wylie-Brownwood game at Wylie or the Cooper-Hereford game on Friday at Shotwell Stadium or the Abilene High-Weatherford game on Saturday afternoon can return to Shotwell Stadium on Saturday night and gain admission to the ACU-Angelo game for $1 as long as they still have their ticket stub from the high school game they attended. All Wylie and Abilene school district, Hendrick Medical Center and Abilene Regional Medical Center employees with proper identification will also be admitted into the ACU game for $1.

* In case you missed it, Texas A&M-Kingsville knocked off Tarleton State, 27-16, Saturday night in Stephenville. The Javelinas have been road warriors this season with all four of their wins coming on the road. Because of Hurricane Ike's predicted landfall near Corpus Christi (which is some 40 miles from Kingsville), the Javelinas lost a home game this year.

Don't sleep on the Javelinas. Second-year head coach Bo Atterberry has a playmaker at quarterback in Billy "The Kid" Garza, while running back Billy Martin had a big game against the Texans. Linebacker Mike Martinez leads a salty defense that could have the Javelinas primed to make a playoff run after a few down years in south Texas.

Regardless of what happens in Canyon on Oct. 18 between ACU and West Texas A&M, the Wildcats' Nov. 1 game at Kingsville will be huge. The Javelinas could be trying to earn a playoff spot, and with West Texas A&M and Tarleton State the two weeks before, the Wildcats could either be playing for a conference championship ... or to keep their season alive.

* Remember to check out this week's ACU football notes when they're posted Wednesday afternoon. Did a little bit of digging through the drive charts for both the ACU offense and defense this season and came up with some pretty interesting numbers for both.

* Just a reminder to those of you who haven't yet taken the opportunity to see the Wildcats play in person: you've only got three guaranteed home games left to see the best team this program has produced in years strut their stuff. It could be years before Abilene sees the likes of Billy Malone, Bernard Scott, Johnny Knox and Edmund Gates on the field at the same time and performing at such a high level.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

open the flood GATES

Edmund Gates has the second multi-touchdown game of his sophomore season. Malone hooked up with Gates for a 22-yard touchdown pass and Adams knocked in the extra point for a 45-7 Wildcat lead.

This marks Billy Malone's eighth game with at least four touchdown passes. He also surpassed the 300-yard mark making that the 17th game of his career with at least 300 yards passing.

Malone to Gates

For the third-straight game ACU scored in its first play of the second half. This time it was Billy Malone's third touchdown pass of the night, a 66-yard strike to Edmund Gates who outran the Tiger secondary, caught the ball at 23-yard line and coasted in for the score.

It was Gates' fourth touchdown catch of the season and tied Malone's eighth longest touchdown pass in his career.

The last three touchdown plays to start the second half for the Wildcats:

9-20-08 - Bernard Scott 80-yard touchdown run vs. Southeastern Oklahoma
9-27-08 - Edmund Gates 74-yard pass from Billy Malone vs. Eastern New Mexico
10-04-08 - Edmund Gates 66-yard pass from Billy Malone vs. East Central

He's gonna go deeeeeepppp .... to the flat!

Tony Harp picked off a Marcus Johnson pass from the endzone and returned it to the Wildcats' 40-yard line with four seconds left in the half.

Malone went in the shotgun with trips left, a receiver to his right and Bernard beside him.

All four receivers went deep, but instead Malone dumped a screen pass to Bernard who changed field and nearly scored before being dragged down at the nine-yard line by the Tigers' prevent defense.

Head coach Chris Thomsen and the Wildcats will be heading into the locker room with a comfortable 31-7 lead. Despite gaining 261 yards in the first half, the Wildcats don't appear to be firing on all cylinders offensively. I would actually say that's a compliment that you gain 261 yards of offense in a half, and don't appear to be on top of your game.

Scott's latest reception pushes him to 116 yards receiving marking the second time in his career that he's accomplished that feat with last home game against Texas A&M-Commerce Sept. 13. That gives him two-straight home games with 100 yards receiving. He already has 80 yards rushing, so he'll need just 20 to have triple digits in both categories.

Malone is on fire again at 11 of 15 for 197 yards and two touchdown passes to Scott.

Tigers on the board

A 9-play 65-yard drive that took 2:57 off the clock made the score 24-7 when Joshua Maldanado ran into the endzone untouchded from the 2-yard line and Corey Dozier's extra point was good.

Wildcats 24 Tigers 7 (7:16 remaining 2nd quarter)

4-straight games with a defensive TD

ECU dropped back to punt, the punter fumbled the snap and Richard Havins fell on the ball in the endzone to give the ACU defense six touchdowns and 36 points on the season.

Other than the season opener against NW Missouri State Aug. 30, the Wildcats have had at least one defensive touchdown.

As much talk as there is about the ACU Offense, the defense may be a key that helps the Wildcats take one step further in 2008. In 2007, the Wildcats did not record a defensive touchdown.

Solid stand in the red zone keeps ACU to a field goal

Matt Adams kicked in a 26-yard field goal as East Central made a couple of key tackles on Scott and a dropped pass kept the Wildcats from reaching the endzone for the third consecutive time.

Wildcats 17 Tigers 0

Drive halted by ECU turnover

Vantrise Studavant forced a Tyrone Gibbs fumble, Eric Edwards fell on it for the Wildcats and ACU picked it up at their own 42-yard line.

The Wildcats are already across midfield as the buzzer sounds for the end of the first quarter.

Still Wildcats 14 Tigers 0.

Little bit of offense rolling for Tigers

Wildcats call a timeout with 2:00 remaining in the first quarter ... East Central has a fourth and 6 from the 50-yard line, they will go for it. ECU's Marcus Johnson has passed them to their first two first downs of the night ...

And the result of the play is ...

FIRST DOWN Tigers, Johnson to Quade Soffel for 10 yards through the air ... ECU on the move ...

On the ground, through the air, make it a dozen

Johnny Knox caught an 8-yard touchdown pass, but it was called back after Knox was called for offensive pass interference. That gave us 3 and goal from the 23 - Malone hit Scott on a screen pass; he was nearly sacked by Curtis Niccum but he got the ball to Bernard who scampered in from 23 yards out thanks to great blocking by the line and Knox down the field.

12 points for Bernard in the game, 12 touchdowns on the year, 10 on the ground, two from Malone.

Adams' PAT good

Wildcats 14 Tigers 0 (6:00 left in the first)


It took a little longer than usual, but the Wildcats are on the board. We stalled out on our first offensive drive thanks to a 10-yard sack by the Tigers on ACU QB Billy Malone. However, ECU went 3-and-out and punted on their second offensive drive.

A 10-yard return from Knox put us at our own 40-yard line. Lance nudged me and said he felt a 60-yard touchdown run coming on ... and the Fleming Crystal Ball was correct as Bernard took it up the gut, broke a tackle and headed to the sideline for his 11th touchdown of the season.

Adams PAT is good,

Wildcats 7 Tigers 0

Live Blog for game vs. East Central tonight

Check the blog tonight for updates and insight at Shotwell Stadium when ACU and ECU square off in a cat fight between the Wildcats and Tigers.

Remember that if you want to ask any of our radio broadcasters any questions or leave any comments for them, email Local listeners can hear the broadcast by Grant Boone and Chuck Statler on KYYW 1470 AM. Wildcat Insiders can see the game via live web streaming video and audio by visiting

One of our emailers, Don, wanted to remind fans of Marcus Johnson's (ECU quarterback) ties to Abilene and the sports world. Obviously, Marcus played for Abilene High School and led the Eagles to two playoff appearances. He went to the University of Oklahoma where he was listed as a wide receiver and transfered later to Tarleton and then ended up in Ada, Okla. as the starting QB for the Tigers.

Marcus is known for his scrambling ability as well as his arm, but speed runs in the family. His brother Jonathan, (my former high school basketball teammate :) ) ran at Texas Tech for former ACU Wildcat track coach Wes Kittley where he had a highly successful collegiate career. However, perhaps his biggest accomplishment was advancing to the finals in the 800-meter run at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Thanks Don for the feedback.

The volleyball team dropped a pair of matches at the Pittsburg State Classic in Pittsburg, Kan. They lost to nationally-ranked Central Missouri in three sets and then fell to Missouri Southern in four. The Wildcats will try to rebound against nationally-ranked Pittsburg State and Newman today.

Since beginning 9-0 the Wildcats are 4-5 in their last nine matches.

The soccer team dropped a tough match to Dallas Baptist Thursday. ACU out-shot the Lady Patriots in the first half 9-1, but couldn't quite put the ball in the net and DBU dropped ACU to 4-4-2 on the season. The Wildcats will get a chance to rebound and win their first Lone Star Conference match Sunday against MIdwestern State at the ACU Soccer Field. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.

The women's tennis ITA Regional continues today at the Eager Tennis Pavilion (ACU), Hardin-Simmons and Rose Park - the Wildcats will be looking to send some individuals to the ITA nationals in Mobile, Ala. in two weeks.

The cross country team runs at the Jamboree Classic in Stillwater, Okla. this morning, we'll try to provide updates when we get closer to the football kickoff at 6 p.m.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Notes from around the Wildcat Den

Photo Galleries:

Football: ACU vs. ENMU (09.27.08)

Volleyball: ACU vs. ENMU (09.25.08)
Soccer: ACU vs. Angelo (09.26.08)

Three sports you haven’t heard much about on this blog since we started it in August is men’s basketball, women’s basketball and tennis.

However, all three made or will make news this weekend at ACU. Yesterday, we posted the preseason polls for men’s and women’s basketball after head coaches Jason Copeland and Shawna Lavender went to the Lone Star Conference media day Wednesday in Bartlesville, Okla.

Dejan Sencanski (pictured) returns for his senior year for Copeland and the men’s team in 2008-09. The native from Serbia, was named the LSC South Division Preseason Player of the Year and the Wildcats were picked to finish third in the South.

Copeland and the Wildcats will look to make the conference tournament for the second-straight season. In March of 2008, ACU made the LSC postseason tourney for the first time since the 1997-98 season.

Lavender’s squad was picked second in the south division for the second-straight time behind West Texas A&M. The Wildcats have 10 returning players and four starters from 2007-08 when ACU finished 18-11 and advanced to the LSC semi-finals. Seniors Audrey Maxwell-Lively and Kristee Davidson will look to provide veteran leadership.

This weekend, the women’s tennis team will play host to the ITA South Central Regional Tournament. This tournament is one of eight similar tournaments around the nation that holds flights of singles and doubles in order to advance to the ITA Small College National Championships.

These tournaments are not played in team form, although, doubles partners come from the same school. Last season, freshman Jaclyn Walker nearly advanced to nationals when she fell in the championship match. However, Irene Squillaci (pictured) and Aina Rafolo won the doubles regional last season to move to nationals. With Rafolo graudated, Squilliaci will be joined by Walker to try and repeat as champs.

The tournament starts Friday and goes through Sunday with matches at ACU, HSU and Rose Park.

The volleyball team will compete in the Pittsburg State Classic this weekend in Pittsburg, Kan. The soccer team faces Dallas Baptist in Dallas Thrusday evening before playing host to Midwestern State Sunday at the ACU Soccer Field. The Wildcats are looking for their first conference win Sunday against the Lady Mustangs after a tough 1-0 loss to Angelo State last season.

The cross country team is at the Jamboree Classic in Stillwater, Okla. Saturday morning hosted by Big XII school Oklahoma State. Last season, both ACU’s men and women won the Jamboree. This year, the women have a good chance to repeat, but they’ll need to defeat two nationally ranked NCAA Division I programs in No. 16 Northern Arizona and No. 21 Texas Tech. The men’s team at ACU is ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II and will need to knock off the hosts, OSU, who are ranked No. 2 in the nation.

ACU returns home in football for the second home game of the season at 6 p.m. East Central comes to town and many Abilenians will keep their eye on this game as former Abilene High School quarterback and former Oklahoma Sooner Marcus Johnson comes to town under center for the Tigers.

The Tigers have shown flashes of offensive brilliance, however, the Tigers are 1-4 on the year after beating Northeastern State 55-49 Saturday.

Here are this week’s notes (does not include volleyball or soccer)

Week 5 Football Notes
Cross Country Notes
Tennis Notes

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Volleyball survives first five-set match Wednesday night

I'll update with you news from around the Wildcat den tomorrow and will add a few photo galleries. With Lance out at the Lone Star Conference basketball media day today, we didn't do any podcasts, however, it's a busy week around the athletics arena.

The Wildcat volleyball team moved to 13-3 with a tough 3-2 win over Dallas Baptist.

Click here for the photo gallery between ACU and DBU.

Click here to read the men's preseason basketball release
Click here to read the women's preseason basketball release