By Jared Fields, Sports Editor
If the Wildcats’ first three games have been any indication on how the season will be, then Saturday’s 6 p.m game against Eastern New Mexico at Shotwell Stadium should be just as exciting.
The Wildcats enter Saturday’s game with a 2-1 overall record, and are tied for the conference lead with a 2-0 record.
The Greyhounds are 2-2 so far this year, and are 2-1 in conference play. After two losses to begin the season, the Greyhounds evened their record with wins over Southwestern Oklahoma State and East Central University.
In last week’s win against East Central, the Greyhounds put up 425 yards rushing from nine different ball carriers. However, Greyhounds quarterback Michael Benton completed just one of seven passes for nine yards. Most of the yards on the ground came from Benton, who is the center of the Greyhounds’ triple-option ground attack.
Benton rushed the ball 21 times for 162 yards, and running back Jason Tezeno gained 126 yards on 18 attempts.
As a team, Eastern New Mexico ranks last in the LSC in pass offense, but second in rush offense, with 260.2 yards rushing a game.
ACU senior defensive end Clayton Farrell knows the Greyhounds will mainly run the ball Saturday, and that Benton will be the key guy behind the run.
“You always have to account for that quarterback because he’s the one behind that offense,” Farrell said. “He’s the one that will make things happen when he’s got the opportunity.”
To stop the Greyhounds’ option attack, Farrell says the defense is putting together many different personnel packages. The Wildcats normally run a three-man front, but this week will bring in a linebacker for additional support.
“We’re bringing an outside linebacker down and put his hand in the dirt,” Farrell said. “We’re doing a lot of stunting.”
Offensively for the Wildcats, quarterback Billy Malone and running back Rashon Myles will be counted on to balance out the offensive strike.
“We try to keep it balanced,” Thomsen said of his offense. “Once the game starts, you never know what you’ve got to do.”
Thomsen said the Greyhounds put eight men in the box on defense and aren’t afraid to bring the team on a rush.
“Their scheming will be tough to deal with. You take what they give,” Thomsen said of the Greyhounds’ blitzing defense.
Taking what they give may involve airing the ball out a little more. Sophomore Jerale Badon leads the team with 18 catches for 211 yards in the first three games. Senior Robb Spells had big numbers in his first game for the Wildcats against UCO, but hasn’t seen as many balls since. In last week’s game, Spells went without any receptions.
If the old saying that defense wins championships is true, then it will be shown this weekend. The game will be full of defense.
“I think it’s fun because you never know what’s coming,” Farrell said about playing against a run dominant offense. “It’s a matter of beating the guy in front of you and getting to the ball. It’s pretty exciting.”
The game is the Wildcats first South division game, and begins at 6 p.m. Saturday.