The Wildcat football team will travel to Houston for the second consecutive season to play against Southland Conference opponent Houston Baptist University.
The Houston Baptist Huskies are playing their first full schedule of football this year and enter the matchup at 1-2. One of those losses includes a 26-17 home loss to Div. II McMurry University.
ACU enters the matchup at 2-2 and 1-0 in conference play. The Wildcats’ only game against the Huskies was last year in BBVA Compass Stadium, where the Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo play. The Wildcats won that game 69-12.
The Huskies will play the Wildcats in the new Husky Stadium. The only game played previously in Husky Stadium was the season opener against McMurry.
ACU’s offense looks to get some players back this week as running backs Herschel Sims and De’Andre Brown return from injury. Sims is expected to play the whole game after taking a week off to recover from a concussion, and Brown will be limited as his ligament sprain in his knee is still bothersome.
The offense hopes to continue its success from this season as well as keeping a clean turnover sheet like it did last week against Incarnate Word.
“Offensively, we just have to keep doing what we are doing,” said Ken Collums, head coach. “Last game against Incarnate Word was our first game not to have any turnovers, which is the goal.”
Parker McKenzie, sophomore quarterback, has had a stat-packed start to the season. McKenzie is 90-for-129 for 1209 yards with 10 passing touchdowns to four interceptions.
The receiving corps for the ‘Cats has been a huge help to the progression of McKenzie. Four receivers have double-digit catches on the season.
Senior Demarcus Thompson leads the team in receptions (24) and receiving yards (299). Junior Jace Hudson has 15 catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns, and junior Cedric Gilbert leads the team in yards per catch with 27.5 and touchdowns with four.
The running game has also put together a nice season so far as four running backs have had significant playing time this year, three of which are underclassmen. Adrian Duncan, Randy Gober and De’Andre Brown have all reached the end zone this season.
Senior fullback Jonathan Parker thinks the amount of traveling they have done will help them against HBU.
“I think we have been on the road a lot the last couple of years,” Parker said. “I love road games and I love the hostility. I think it’s a really great atmosphere.”
On the defensive side, the Wildcats face a new yet familiar face at quarterback. Jonathan Fleming attended ACU in 2011 but transferred after his first season to Houston Baptist. Fleming took the position from last year’s starter Ka’darius Baker. He is 53-for-90 for 544 yards with six touchdowns to five interceptions on the season.
“We are preparing in a normal way whether it’s Baker or Fleming,” Collums said. “He has progressed, and we know he can throw the ball. I know that from being in position meetings with him.”
The game starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at Husky Stadium.