Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lessons Learned: ACU vs. ASU

  • Either Angelo State fell victim to the aforementioned Homecoming Curse, or the Wildcats rose to the occasion; probably a liberal dose of both.
  • The ACU defense was stifling in the first half, giving up 5 first downs and 67 total yards. Liberal substitution and some lucky breaks for the Rams made the final stats (14 first downs and 299 yards) look better than Angelo State really performed in the game.
  • Daryl Richardson's four TDs were all from short-yardage (1, 2, 4 and 5 yards), but he ran hard behind an offensive line that continued to open good holes, especially up the middle.
  • Redshirt freshman QB Mitchell Gale showed no second-start jitters, and although he spent a lot of time handing the ball off to Richardson and others, he made a few noteworthy throws under pressure and on the run. Angelo State sacked Gale only once, remarkable considering the Rams lead the LSC and are No. 2 in the nation with 4.5 sacks a game. The ACU offensive line neutralized the Ram rush all night and blew big holes for Wildcat rushing plays. QB Zach Stewart ran the offense late in the fourth quarter when ACU was trying to run out the clock.
  • Punter Mark Sprague continues to be a steadying influence on special teams; only one of his kicks was returned, and his final punt, into a stiff north wind, bounced once and was downed at the 5, pinning Angelo State deep in its territory.
  • Other than a blocked PAT that still made it through before bouncing off the left upright, Morgan Lineberry looks to have cemented the placekicking job. He also handled kickoffs.
  • ACU's defense comes up with turnovers again: two interceptions, two pass breakups, and 2 fumble recoveries. LBers Eric Edwards and Kevin Washington were the leading tacklers, with 8 each. Edwards also had two tackles for a loss.
  • Angelo State did the best job of any team this year of neutralizing ACU's stellar punt returner, Kendrick Johnson.
  • The ASU marching band was guilty of playing when it shouldn't – twice – and officials docked the football team two first-half timeouts as a result. Never saw that before.
  • The nation's No. 1-ranked NCAA Division II team, perennial juggernaut Grand Valley State, lost 27-24 to Hillsdale College in its game tonight. ACU could enter its Homecoming game next Saturday as the new No. 1-ranked team in the land, although No. 3-ranked and undefeated University of North Alabama, coached by former Auburn head coach Terry Bowden, is sure to get voter consideration as well.
  • Speaking of next Saturday, the Wildcats' opponent is its chief rival in recent years, West Texas A&M. The Buffs are having a down year (2-5 so far), but expect a barn-burner because of the big crowd and WT's great traveling fan base. Hopefully, Homecoming will be kinder to ACU than ASU.

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