ACU football (0-1) returns home, after a two week layoff, to battle third year program and Southland Conference opponent Houston Baptist (1-1) at 6 P.M. Saturday.
The ‘Cats look to get their first win of the season after a tough 34-13 loss to FBS opponent Fresno State in week one.
Head coach Ken Collums says the team is ready to return to the field after a long wait.
“We are just ready to play the game,” Collums said. “We have had an interesting season so far. We played our first game then we had 16 days in between games and that’s not a usual thing.”
Offensively, the Wildcats hope to return to form after putting up just 247 total yards against the Bulldogs. Junior quarterback Parker McKenzie comes off his worst start as a Wildcat, completing 18-of-29 passes for 168 yards and two interceptions.
The running game didn’t fare much better, rushing 29 times for 34 yards and a lone touchdown. Leading receiver senior Jonathan Epps looks to build on an impressive first start that saw eight catches for 55 yards.
ACU’s defense came out with a strong start in the season opener forcing two interceptions against a higher ranked opponent. The defense will be lead by a strong linebacking corp featuring sophomore Sam Denmark, sophomore Bryson Gates, senior Lynn Grady and senior Travis Tarver II.
The Wildcats blew out the Huskies in the two previous meetings, outscoring HBU 128-26 all-time, including last year’s 59-14 win.
Grady says the team respects every opponent regardless of what level of play they come from.
“Every week from here on we are going ten straight games after the bye,” Grady said. “You can’t take anyone lightly coach always tells us to fear no one but respect everyone.”
Senior running back Herschel Sims had his best game as a Wildcat last year in Houston. He compiled 195 total yards on 19 touches for three touchdowns against a lowly Huskies squad that went (2-9) in their first Southland season.
HBU’s 2015 squad has had two tough-to-read results on its schedule.
The Huskies won their opener 51-7 over NAIA member, Bethany College. The Huskies then lost to FCS school Northern Colorado, 34-10, in their second game.
The Wildcats have yet to face the same starting quarterback for more than one year. Houston Baptist is starting its third signal caller in the program’s three years of existence with redshirt sophomore, Max Staver. Staver takes over for 2014 starter and former ACU quarterback, Jonathan Fleming, who took over for 2013 starter Ka’Darius Baker.
Staver certainly looks the part of a starting quarterback. He stands 6-foot-6, weighing 240 pounds and previously played for the Florida Gators. However, his numbers do not backup his physical traits. Staver has gone just 23-for-48 for 363 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in two games.
Expect the Huskies to run the ball with sophomore tailbacks Terrence Peters and B.J. Kelly. The two backs rushed 36 times for 224 yards and one touchdown in the first two games. On offense, HBU has recorded 92 rush attempts to just 50 pass attempts making this an extremely unbalanced run heavy offense.
Coach Collums had high praise for the three year program saying that they have improved.
“It’s obvious that they are improving very quickly which isn’t surprising, I mean they are in Houston there are players all over the place,” Collums said. “They don’t have the depth of most Southland opponents, but they have good running backs and we are going to have to make them one dimensional.”