By Daniel Johnson, Sports Editor
Expect a battle; ACU is playing West Texas A&M.
No. 12 ACU and No. 6 West Texas will face off Saturday in a Homecoming matchup between two of the nation’s top offenses – ACU is ranked sixth nationally in total offense, fifth in scoring offense with an average of 515.4 yards and 44.0 points per game. West Texas is the nation’s topranked scoring offense and is ranked second in total offense with an average of 525.6 yards and 46.3 points per game.
“You can take anybody off the street, and they’ll tell you there’s going to be a lot of points scored,” said offensive coordinator Ken Collums. “But who really knows, it could be a 10-7 game. That’s the interesting part about football, nobody really knows.” Whatever the outcome, the winner may be on its way to a Lone Star Conference championship.
ACU has won six straight games and is 2-0 in LSC South Division play, thanks to some of the most impressive offensive numbers in ACU’s history. West Texas (7-0) is in first place in the LSC South with a 3-0 record and is the defending LSC champions. But beyond the numbers, what makes Saturday’s matchup even bigger is the recent rivalry that has emerged between the two top teams.
“For me, it’s become the biggest rivalry as a team for us,” said senior linebacker Cody Stutts. “When it’s West Texas everyone is more pumped.”
The teams each won one of its two meetings in 2006, but the Buffs got the last laugh.
West Texas knocked ACU out of the NCAA Division II playoffs with a 30-27 overtime victory over an injury laden ACU squad.
“It’s turned into one of those things where we want to beat them more than any other team,” said senior offensive lineman Nathan Young.
Regardless of the history between the two, head coach Chris Thomsen is adamant that this game is just another step toward his team’s eventual goal of a LSC championship and playoff berth.
“We can’t make this the Super Bowl,” Thomsen said. “We’ve still got three more games after this.”
ACU is ranked seventh in the Southwest Regional poll that determines who makes the postseason, ACU needs to be in the top six to secure a spot.
“This game is a big game for us, but it’s just another step toward our goals,” Young said.
ACU’s offense has been nearly unstoppable in its last six games, and so has West Texas. ACU has averaged 48.5 points and 542 yards in its sixgame winning streak and racked up 52 points and 707 yards – the second best total in school history – in its latest win over Angelo State on Oct. 13.
ACU’s offensive production is fueled by junior running back Bernard Scott, who has rushed for 994 yards and 12 touchdowns and junior quarterback Billy Malone, who has thrown for 1,992 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Led by quarterback Keith Null, West Texas’ offense has been nothing short of spectacular in 2007. Null leads the LSC and is second in the nation in both passing yards and passing yards per game with running back Keithon Flemming and wide receivers A.J. Ruffins and B.J. Vickers making most of the plays.
With two loaded offenses it may just come down to which team messes up the least.
“If we fly to the ball and do what we do best it will come down to the team with the least mistakes,” said sophomore safety Tony Harp.