By Joel Weckerly, Sports Editor
If you’re not exactly sure why Tarleton State owned ACU to the tune of 41-7 at Shotwell Stadium Saturday, don’t ask any Wildcat players for help.
“Shoot, I’ve been sitting around forever trying to figure it out,” senior center Blake Lewis said Monday. “It’s hard to come up with anything. They beat us bad.”
Redshirt freshman safety Danieal Manning had similar reactions.
“I don’t know,” he said. “They just had the better team that day.”
That they did. Up 13-7 at the break, Tarleton State took its gloves off for the final two quarters and added four more touchdowns before it was over.
Tarleton State senior quarterback Cliff Watkins looked as if he were shooting fish in a barrel when he hooked up with senior wideouts Jeremy Madkins and Will Moody. Watkins was 15 of 25 for 212 yards and two touchdowns-both to Madkins, who had 94 yards-while Moody had 80 yards on five catches.
In the end, the Texans racked up 464 yards to ACU’s 185 and scored every time they were inside the red zone (5 of 5) on the way to their sixth straight win over ACU.
The most telling statistic, however, was time of possession. The Texans were on the field for 37:35, while ACU controlled the ball for just 22:25.
“It was a little bit like the first game [against Central Arkansas] when we couldn’t keep our offense on the field,” head coach Gary Gaines said. “At some point your defense starts wearing down, and that’s when they start scoring points. That’s what happened.
“We’re just not in sync,” Gaines said. “We’ve had some opportunities to make some plays, and we didn’t make them. At times it’s the quarterback; at times it’s the running back; at times it’s the offensive line; at times it’s the wide receivers; at times it’s the tight end. We’re just not playing consistently at all.”
Consistency comes through practice, said Gaines, and the Wildcats will have plenty of that the next two weeks. ACU is idle on Saturday and doesn’t play again until an Oct. 4 divisional home game against Eastern New Mexico.
“We’ve got to keep working,” Gaines said. “We can’t keep feeling sorry for ourselves. We’ve got work to do, and that’s what we plan on doing in our bye week is trying to get better and see if we can correct some of those mistakes.”
“We’ve got two weeks to prepare for Eastern New Mexico,” he said. “It’s beneficial for us and the coaches too. Our game plan will be that much stronger by the time we play them.”
Following the game, Gaines said he tried to reinforce to his team that the season will go on despite the tough loss to Tarleton State.
“This loss doesn’t mean the season’s over,” he said. “There’s still a lot to fight for. That’s the message I tried to give them.”