After a season opening victory against the number nine team in the country, the Wildcats hit the road again this weekend – this time in an Lone Star Conference crossover game against the Northeastern State University Riverhawks.
The Wildcats came away with a 34-26 against Washburn University last weekend to begin 1-0 for the third straight season. Quarterback Mitchell Gale and wide receiver Edmund Gates came up big for ACU.
Northeastern pulled a surprise victory on Tarleton State University last week, beating the Texans 31-23, thanks to Nate Robinson’s 95-yard kickoff returned for a touchdown. Robinson received LSC North Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance against Tarleton.
“In a way it surprised me, in a way it didn’t,” said head coach Chris Thomsen.
Northeastern is the only LSC North team to remain undefeated over the weekend.
The Texans outgained the Riverhawks in yardage by over 200 yards, but costly turnovers gave Northeastern the edge as they sailed out to a 31-16 lead and never looked back.
ACU will look to avoid the same fate as their fellow LSC South team by not looking past a dangerous Northeastern team.
“We look at every team as a challenge,” said senior wide receiver Edmund Gates. “We are going to do everything in our power to win – regardless of whether they beat Tarleton or the Cowboys, we are going to do our best to win.”
To get that win, ACU needs a more stifling performance than it had in the Washburn game. Last week the Wildcats’ defensive backs gave up 316 yards of passing offense and a number ofÂ big passing plays, allowing the Ichabods to stay close in the game.
“We probably tried to do a bit too much with them last week,” Thomsen said. “Most of them are new, and helping with that communication back there should go a long way.”
The defensive backs did create some momentum by changing interception in the first half of the Washburn game last weekend.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Wildcats showed the progress that coaches and fans had been hoping to see since last year. Mitchell Gale completed 80 percent of his passes for 247 yards and three scores. While the stat line looks good for Gale, he knows there are things he will have to do better if the Wildcats want to get another win.
“I think I ran too much,” Gale said. “I know that I won’t last long if I keep doing that.”
Overall, the match-ups look favorable for the Wildcats at most of the positions. Edmund Gates and Mitchell Gale will need to be on the same page – just as they were last week – to give the Wildcats the win.