After a rough three game stretch, ACU football (2-4 overall, 2-3 conference) gets back to a more manageable opponent this week with the University of Incarnate Word (3-3 overall, 2-2 conference).
The Wildcats enter Saturday’s game on a three-game skid, where they have been outscored 135-63 during that span.
Head coach Ken Collums said the Wildcats will matchup better with the remainder of their opponents this season.
“I think we’ll matchup better with Incarnate Word,” Collums said. “Moving forward, we will matchup better with some of these other teams. We ran into three good teams and if anybody played those teams back-to-back-to-back there’s a chance they probably won’t beat all three of them.”
The Wildcats have gone 2-1 against UIW since both teams moved to Div. I. The ‘Cards have already amassed more wins this season with the return of starting quarterback Trent Brittain. The redshirt sophomore went down in the Cardinals first game of 2014 with a season-ending ankle injury against Sacramento State.
Brittain has not been consistent through the air, throwing for 1,107 yards, with a TD:INT ratio of 6:7 on just a 51 percent completion percentage.
However, he has done quite a bit of damage on the ground rushing for 233 yards and four touchdowns. The dual threat could cause problems for the ‘Cats as they continue to struggle with their run defense.
Sophomore defensive lineman LaMarcus Allen said they need to be prepared to stop the run.
“They run the ball a lot,” Allen said, “We have been struggling with the run game this season. So it’ll be a good matchup seeing if we can stop the run.”
Collums further added on the dual threat aspect of Brittain’s game.
“Their quarterback is a quality player,” Collums said. “He can make throws and at times he can make really good throws. But one thing that is consistent with him is that he can run the ball. You can’t just rush hard you have to stay in your lanes.”
The ‘Cards feature four different receivers with at least 13 or more receptions, so expect UIW to spread it around.
On offense, the ‘Cats showed off a new face in the first half against Sam Houston State with redshirt freshman Dallas Sealey getting an extended look at quarterback. Sealey led a nice 1st quarter drive for a score but failed to continue his success in the 2nd half. He finished with 92 yards passing going 11-of-15 and rushing for 17 yards and a score.
Redshirt junior Parker McKenzie returned in the second half and finished out the game but completed just 6-of-12 passes for 106 yards and two interceptions.
Collums said that the production at quarterback is not where he expected it to be.
“I am not pleased with the quarterback play right now,” Collums said. “We have had great quarterback play for years. You’ve got a young guy that’s growing and young guys are going to bump their heads. And you’ve got an experienced that was a little off.”
Whoever is leading the offense Saturday will continue to look for seniors Jonathan Epps and Cedric Gilbert. The duo has combined for 55 catches for 699 yards and nine touchdowns, good enough for 49 percent of the Wildcats’ passing game.
Running backs Herschel Sims and De’Andre Brown continue to be the bell-cows for Saturday despite having a decreased number of carries over the last few weeks. Sims and Brown have compiled 110 carries for 518 yards and eight touchdowns.
The Wildcats face the ‘Cards Saturday in San Antonio at 2:30 p.m. The game will also be aired on the American Sports Network.