Fresh off its second win of the season in its home finale, football heads to Hammond, Louisiana for its season finale against Southeastern Louisiana.
Head coach Ken Collums said it was fitting to send Shotwell out the right way with a win last weekend.
“To end our chapter in Shotwell Stadium with a win, I think was crucial,” Collums said. “It was great for our guys, they deserved to walk out winners.”
Last weekend, the Wildcats used 20 second half points to mount a furious comeback over Northwestern State 25-22. But against a SELU team who is tied for the third-best record in the conference, ACU will look to get a much quicker start.
“We’re not going to slow down going to Hammond,” Collums said. “It’s a long trip and we’re going to get off the bus and get after it. And if we play well for four quarters, we’ll have a chance to win the game.”
The three-point difference was a product of a strong kicking performance from junior Nik Grau, who was three-for-three on the night. ACU also got an extra point return from senior Keith Barnett in the first quarter, providing an early three-point swing.
Grau was recognized Monday for his perfect efforts with Southland Conference Special Teams Player of the Week.
Although the Lions might not jump off the stat sheet, they boast a well-rounded offense led by senior quarterback Justin Alo. Alo is third in the conference in passing efficiency, which is one spot ahead of ACU’s own sophomore quarterback, Dallas Sealey.
SELU is also third in the Southland in total defense and only allows 205.1 passing yards per game. This could create a tough matchup as the Wildcats rely on their passing game for 275 yards of their 398 yards of total offense per game.
Each of the teams passing games are spurred by dynamic receiving cores. Junior D.J. Fuller ranks sixth in the conference for ACU, averaging 75.2 yards and leading the Southland with 5.2 receptions per game.
SELU has two standout receivers in Juwan Dickey and Brandon Acker. The two average a combined 139 yards and 7 receptions per game.
Defensively, the Wildcats are led by junior Sam Denmark who has 102 tackles this season and is eighth all-time at ACU with 317 career tackles. The Lions are fueled by a defense with 18 sacks on the season, ranking fifth in the conference. The Wildcats sit last with just eight sacks on the year.
“You want to end it with a win, because the next time we suit up we’ll be in two different states,” Collums said. “We start out with New Mexico and Colorado State, but then that third game we’ll be in our home stadium and we want to start laying the foundation for that.”
Last season when the two teams met in Abilene, ACU came away with a 21-17 victory after now senior Parker McKenzie found Jamie Walker from one yard out with 22 seconds left.
With a win the Wildcats could potentially finish as high as a tie for sixth place, as three teams have just three wins heading into the weekend.