Monday, October 5, 2009

October Surprise

After losing three of the best players in school history and arguably the best triumvirate ever to play together on a Division II team, all ACU has done this season is average better than 36 points and 426 yards per game in winning its first six games. Redshirt freshman Mitchell Gale engineered the most recent victory in his first career start, throwing for an even 300 yards and 3 TD in a 43-6 rout of hapless East Central.

We'll find out how hapful this edition of the Wildcats really is over the season's final five games, which are as follows beginning Saturday in San Angelo (overall record/LSC record):

at Angelo St. (5-1/4-0)
vs. West Texas A&M (1-5/1-3)
at Tarleton St. (5-1/3-1)
vs. Texas A&M-Kingsville (6-0/4-0)
at Midwestern St. (5-1/3-1)

Four of those five teams have legitimate playoff aspirations and the other, WT, will make that Oct. 17 tilt against ACU its playoff game. I've called every game on radio this season, and I honestly have no idea what to expect from the ACU offense. If whoever plays QB - for now, Gale - protects the football, the Wildcats will be tough to beat. Problem is, they've only had one game without a turnover all season (the 33-14 win over Southeastern OK St.).

But I'll be surprised if any of those final five score more than 20 or so points offensively. The ACU D has allowed only nine TD, and only five of those were drives that began outside the ACU 35-yard line. (Even one of those five came with many of the starters already out of the game.)

As for those three players ACU lost? Two are playing for 3-1 teams in the NFL, and one of them - Chicago Bears WR/KR Johnny Knox - scored in his third consecutive game Sunday against Detroit. Knox took the second half kickoff back 102 yards for a TD to give the Bears a 28-21 lead they'd never surrender. He would leave the game later with a shin injury that isn't considered to be serious.

(That's to say nothing of former Wildcat Danieal Manning, who tied for a team-leading nine tackles and returned his only kickoff 43 yards to set up the Bears' put-away touchdown.)

In Cincinnati's 23-20 overtime victory over Cleveland, Bengals RB Bernard Scott surpassed his season total in rushes and yards with 6 carries for 41, including consecutive runs of 11 and 16 yards during a 4th quarter, game-tying TD drive. Scott also starred on special teams, returning two kickoffs for 24 and 28 yards and saving a touchdown by tackling the Browns' Josh Cribbs after a long runback.

ACU 6-0 without Billy, Bernard and Johnny. Johnny and Bernard not just playing for but contributing to 3-1 NFL teams. The Cowboys being every bit as dysfunctional even without TO and Jessica Simpson. Okay, so maybe some things aren't so surprising.

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