Greg Tepper's Blog
FCS, DII, DIII Preview
Posted by Greg Tepper on 29 November 2012

Greg Tepper previews the full slate of sub-FCS action across Texas this weekend.

 By Greg Tepper
 DCTF Associate Editor
   

While it’s a relatively slow weekend in the FBS ranks, there’s a number of critical sub-FCS games involving Texas teams taking place this weekend.

West Texas A&M (11-2) at Colorado State-Pueblo (12-0)
1 p.m. Saturday
Division II National Quarterfinal
West Texas A&M is a darn good football program. Coach Don Carthel has the Buffaloes in a good way, and recently became the program’s all-time winningest coach. And there’s a ton to like about this year’ squad, specifically QB Dustin Vaughan, who ranks seventh in Division II with 334 total yards of offense per game. And they’re hot, too, coming off an upset win over previously unbeaten Ashland last week. But if there’s any team that’s had their number, it’s CSU-Pueblo. The top-ranked ThunderWolves (THUNDERWOLVES!) have played the Buffaloes twice in the past 15 months, and won both of them, including the season opener this year. And while the ThunderWolves don’t do anything particularly well, they win because they don’t do anything particularly poorly. Sophomore RB J.B. Matthews is a dynamo, averaging 6.3 yards every time he touches the ball, and senior QB Ross Dausin is a steady threat for the offense. And while the defense ranks just 56th in the nation, they do one thing really, really well: force turnovers. The ThunderWolves rank 11th in the nation with a +15 turnover margin, and that will win you a lot of games. If the Buffaloes take care of the ball, they’ve got a chance to pull another upset.

Cal Poly (9-2) at Sam Houston State (8-3)
4 p.m. Saturday
FCS Second-Round Playoff Game
This is an old-school football fan’s dream matchup, pitting two of the very best rushing offenses in FCS against one another. Sam Houston State, the defending FCS runner-up, is still churning away with RB Tim Flanders, who averages over 104 yards per game and has found the end zone 17 times. But Flanders alone doesn’t get Sam to the sixth-best rushing offense in FCS; between backup RB Keshawn Hil, do –ti-all X-factor Richard Sincere and QB Brian Bell, the Bearkats have a ton of threats on the ground. But Cal Poly…well, the triple-option is alive and well, cranking out 333.2 rushing yards per game, good enough for third in FCS. RB Deonte Williams (1,458 yards, 12 TDs) does most of the heavy lifting, but sophomore RB Kristaan Ivory (651 yards, 8 TDs) and QB Andre Broadous (446 yards, 9 TDs) will have to be accounted for as well. And just because the Mustangs don’t throw a lot doesn’t mean they’re not good at it; Broaddus has thrown for 1,262 yards and 18 touchdowns on just 133 attempts. Ultimately, though, you have to think this one comes down to defense, and that’s where Sam should have the advantage, featuring the third-best rushing defense in the nation led by Darnell Taylor and Jesse Beauchamp.

Wesley College (10-1) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (12-0)
Noon, Sunday
Division III National Quarterfinal
Looking for the best pound-for-pound team in Texas? It might be UMHB’s Cru. Coach Pete Fredenburg’s Crusaders have been a wrecking machine all year, thanks in large part to an offense that ranks third in the nation in Division III, averaging over 550 yards per game and more than 51 points. QB LiDarral Bailey is the straw that stirs the drink, averaging 264 yards of total offense per game, but don’t overlook RB Darius Wilson, who is good for about 90 yards on the ground every game. The defense isn’t too shabby, either; playmakers like Javicz Jones and Brodrick Crain help, but the real star is the rushing defense as a whole, holding opponents to a paltry 61 yards per game. But Wesley College is a capable foe, and they’ve got an extra bit of motivation – the Cru is the only team to beat Wesley this season, a 32-25 road win over the Wolverines back in September. And these teams know each other well, considering this is the third consecutive postseason they’ll meet. This is a defense-first Wesley squad – take out the Cru’s victory, and they haven’t allowed more than 22 points in a single contest. The defense is keyed by sophomore linebacker Sosthene Kapepula, one of Division III’s best middle-men, and it’ll be important for the Cru to limit his impact on the game. On the other side of the ball, the key to victory for UMHB: slow down QB Justin Sottilare and WR Steven Coudossou, one of the most dangerous pass-catch duos in the country. UMHB is the better side in this one and they’re at home, but in the playoffs, anything can happen between two elite teams.


Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.

He can be reached via e-mail, via Twitter (@Tepper) and via the DCTF Facebook page.


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