What a weekend of metroplex football

by Dan M | Posted on Friday, September 26th, 2014


By Bo Carter
Special Contibutor

Five College Games in One Day
Arkansas and Texas A&M in SEC Showdown Saturday, Sept. 27

For the college football devotee, Saturday, Sept. 20, had to be seventh heaven.  Starting with a 10 a.m. Lone Star Conference contest between historic NCAA Division II powers Texas A&M-Commerce and Texas A&M-Kingsville in the fourth annual LSC Fall Football Festival at AT&T Stadium in Arlington and ending with the fourth Festival game of the evening between Midwestern State and Eastern New Mexico. Ten schools from five conferences with six national Top 25 rankings (or receiving votes) graced the gridirons of SMU’s Ford Stadium and AT&T Stadium.
“This was the real deal,” said gleeful second-year head coach Steve Engelhart of FIT as his squad stunned No. 12 Tarleton State in a game highlighted by 1,102 composite yards of total offense and nine touchdowns – a 37-31 Tech triumph. “I personally want to thank the Dallas Cowboys and the Lone Star Conference for the opportunity to play at this amazing stadium.”
FIT, receiving votes in the DII Top 25 in just its second year of intercollegiate play and probably nearing a place in the poll this week, dazzled onlookers and the Texans with 354 yards passing and a pair of TD aerials.
On the other side of the Metroplex, SMU interim head coach Tom Mason made his Mustangs’ debut in not the greatest of circumstances against the No. 6 FBS squad in the country Texas A&M. The result was a 58-6 win by the Southeastern Conference and College Football Playoff contender after the Aggies were on ace for 1,016 yards of total offense in a 17-point first quarter before taking a 38-3 advantage into the dressing room.
The Aggies got a valuable time to rest their starters before another key game against Arkansas Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (CDT) on ABC-TV in the heated SEC West Division and found a couple of unsung heroes.
In addition to the passing of QB Kenny Hill (16-of-22-1 int., 265 yards, two TDs) in the first half before going to the football showers, coach Kevin Sumlin found a couple of diamonds in the rough in soph WR Boone Niederhofer of San Antonio and speedy WR Jeremy Tabuyo of Honolulu, Hawaii.
Niederhofer may be carrying the legacy of Alamo hero Daniel Boone, but his father starred at Abilene Christian and with the historic Birmingham Stallions of the World Football League. The soph tied for the team game lead with six catches for 73 yards.
Tabuyo is a sophomore letterwinner from the island of Oahu where former  SMU and Hawaii head coach June Jones, ironically, used to sign many recruits for both schools. He had two catches – both for touchdowns with some shifty footwork and 80 total yards.
“We had some young guys, especially in that second half, that played a lot of football,” Sumlin stated. “We will need depth going down the stretch when we play SEC opponents.”
Mason, in the other interview area, was encourage by the Mustangs ability to move the ball on the ground better than the first two contests. SMU closed with 102 net yards – 44 on 14 carries by LB-RB combo Kevin Pope. The Ponies entered the outing with a net minus-14 yards rushing against Baylor and North Texas.
“It was just one of those deals,” SMU’s Mason noted. “I didn’t expect miracles against the No. 6 team in America, and Kevin has a chance to win a national championship with that club. It didn’t happen for us, and we need to get better as a football team.”
With Big 12 Conference contender TCU Saturday at 11 a.m. and American Athletic Conference opener East Carolina in Greenville, N.C. (ECU hammered North Carolina 70-41 last weekend and is 4-0 against its last four Atlantic Coast Conference opponents), on Oct. 4, the Mustangs have a great deal of work to do and may need a few miracles such as the showing of former No. 4 QB Garrett Krstich (13-of-24 passing for 137 yards off the bench vs. the Ags) to have a chance to jump into the win column.
Meanwhile, back in Arlington, a beaming head coach Bill Maskill of Midwestern State watched his team pull off numerous big plays to reverse an early 10-0 Eastern New Mexico advantage and to top the Greyhounds 42-17 in the night of the LSC Festival.
“We had the chance to make big plays,” Maskill said, “and we made them when we got down early. We noticed they ‘packed the box’ up front against us early, and we were able to break some long passes early. Plus, Eastern had been averaging 500-plus yards of total offense over the last several games, and we limited them to 394. That was a problem when they got after us in our loss at their place last year.”
Maskill’s crew advanced to 3-1 in the Festival overall after high-scoring Texas A&M-Commerce clobbered Texas A&M-Kingsville 55-20 in the opening LSC contest of the four-game set. QB Tyrik Rollison moved the team throughout the morning and early afternoon with a 15-of-21 passing performance for 196 yards and one TD while Texas transfer Joe Bergeron moved the chains with 19 rushing attempts for 101 yards ad three scores.
West Texas A&M outlasted Shorter, which is hosting the NAIA Football Championship again this year, 27-19 with a clinching, two-yard TD run by Geremy Aldridge-Mitchell with 3:23 left to play. Aldridge-Mitchell also returned a kickoff 93 yards for a TD in the second quarter and had a LSC-game-best 273 all-purpose yards to go along with 118 rushing yards on 29 carries. He had 32 touches during the afternoon.
Engelhart had a right to be exultant after his quarterback Mark Cato blitzed the TSU offense for 354 yards passing on 25-of-38 throws with no interceptions and two TDs along with a 152-yards rushing show by RB Trevor Sand. Tarleton’s Collin Strahan had similar stats at 23-of-39 for 305 yards but was tagged for two critical interceptions.
The 13,034 turnout at the LSC Festival included some of the 34,820 diehards (fourth-largest turnout in MSU Ford Stadium history) who witnessed the A&M-SMU fracas, and that may hold true for those wishing to do the SMU-TCU “two-step” from Dallas to Arlington for Arkansas-Texas A&M later Saturday.


Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>