The kickoff to the 2010 ACU football season is now less than 48 hours away, and if Thursday's play around the league is any indication, we could all be in for a crazy ride.
Let's get to the biggest upset of the night ... and no, I'm not talking about the one in Maryville, Mo., although that was huge. No, I'm talking about Northeastern State going on the road to Stephenville and beating Tarleton State, 31-23. The win for the RiverHawks was their first season-opening win since 2002, and it got the Cary Fowler Era off to a sour start in Texan-land.
Now on to Maryville, Mo., where No. 14 Texas A&M-Kingsville announced to the Division II world that it was back as a major player on the scene with a 16-7 win over No. 1-ranked Northwest Missouri State, the defending national champion. The Javelina defense was awesome, sacking Bearcat quarterback Blake Bolles seven times and limiting Northwest to just 160 yards of offense while the game was in the balance. New starting quarterback Nate Poppell was 26 for 38 for 258 yards and one touchdown for the Javelinas.
Now, a season-opening loss is nothing new for the Bearcats (see the last two years against ACU), but Northwest is searching for a running game and receivers outside of Jake Soy. Here's betting they find them before November rolls around.
And in Allendale, Mich., No. 8 West Texas A&M put up a great effort in a 34-31 loss to No. 2 Grand Valley State, which ran its home field winning streak at Lubbers Stadium to 43 games. Taylor Harris threw four interceptions and WT turned the ball over five times total, something the Buffs were able to avoid in their late-season surge in 2009. However, Tyler Williams is a beast at wide receiver (14 catches for 182 yards) and Brittan Golden had 103 yards on seven catches and a couple of bone-crushing blocks. It's way too early to be looking ahead ... but go ahead and circle Nov. 6 on your calendar.
* Running back Brandon Williams, who transferred in to ACU earlier this week from Laney College, has already left the team. Perhaps he saw the depth chart that lists Daryl Richardson as the starter, followed by Josh Morgan, Darrell Cantu-Harkless and Charcandrick West with Reggie Brown waiting until next year and thought better of his decision. Who knows? Brandon, we barely knew you ... literally.
* With Williams out of the picture, West will now wear No. 26, while David Pillen -- who could have to play some fullback Saturday against the Ichabods -- will switch to No. 27 for this game with Justin Andrews out with his injury. Also, freshman defensive tackle T.R. Varnado will wear No. 56, while redshirt freshman linebacker Thor Woerner will wear No. 45.
* For the fifth straight year, the Wildcats' deep-snapper will be a local product as Abilene High freshman Brent Schroeder has won the job after a summer-long battle with Pillen. Cooper graduate Cody Brown was the Wildcats' snapper from 2006-09.
* Don't forget, if you're in the Abilene area, ACU's games are now broadcast on KULL Mix 92.5 FM. Online audio and video of Saturday's game will also be available at www.acusports.com.