By Jared Fields, Sports Editor
Halfway through the season with the toughest and most important part of the schedule ahead, the Wildcats find themselves at the bottom of a deep hole.
The Wildcats are 2-3 and face rival Angelo State at 7 p.m. Saturday in San Angelo Stadium.
The Rams are 5-1 with their only loss coming last week against Eastern New Mexico, 38-14. Eastern New Mexico put up 337 rushing yards and held the Rams to only 191 yards offensively.
Despite Angelo State’s below average numbers against Eastern New Mexico, Wildcats head coach Chris Thomsen said the Rams are still a tough overall football team.
“They’re playing well together as a team,” Thomsen said. “They stack the line of scrimmage on defense like everybody else does and if you can’t throw it or run the option on them, you’re going to have a long day.”
The Wildcats don’t run the option, but they’ve proven they can throw the ball. In last week’s game against Southeastern Oklahoma State, the Wildcats totaled 488 yards passing, with Billy Malone accounting for 343 of those yards and three touchdowns. Jerale Badon tied a school record with 13 receptions; he also had 205 yards. Badon helped the passing attack by throwing a pass to Andrew Hansen for 71 yards.
“If they want to step up with eight men in the box, then we’ve got to make our play-action work,” senior running back Rashon Myles said. “You have [Robb] Spells and Jerale Badon and the rest of the receiving corps with Billy throwing bombs, it’s really not a good situation for them.”
The Wildcats will have to throw the ball well to have success against a defense that focuses on stopping the run.
“When they’ve got eight or nine people up there, it’s tough to run. If you can’t throw the ball a little bit you’ve got problems,” Thomsen said. “We’ve got to loosen them up throwing the ball.”
The Rams offense averages 374.3 yards a game, with fairly balanced rushing and passing yards.
Rams quarterback Trey Weishuhn and running backs Kyle Fox and Alexis Cooper carry the bulk of the load for Angelo State.
Weishuhn averages 203.5 yards a game passing and has six touchdowns so far this year. Fox and Cooper provide most of the yards on the ground for the Rams, gaining a combined 127.4 yards a game and 10 touchdowns.
The kicking game for the Rams is strong as well. Angelo State kicker J.D. Williams is 5-6 on field goal attempts with a long of 41 yards.
“They’ve got a good kicking team,” Thomsen said. “They’ve won some really close games by being able to kick the ball well.”
The kicking game for the Wildcats is more in question this week. Sophomore Mark Trevino suffered a concussion in last week’s game, and freshman Matt Adams is still battling a pulled groin.
“They’ll be fine; they both practiced yesterday,” Thomsen said Wednesday. “We’re still evaluating that. We’ll probably wait until Thursday or Friday and see who’s the most healthy from there.”
With two losses in a row, the Wildcats need a win to avoid any a worse losing streak. However, the team is not in panic mode yet, Thomsen said.
“Right now they just want to play well.”
Along with the weekly radio brodacast, Saturday’s game will be aired on KRBC-TV Channel 9 beginning at 7 p.m. The announcers will be Cayden McFarland and Craig Carnesi.