Small College Preview: Tarleton State, Midwestern State face off in Lone Star battle

Courtesy Midwestern State athletics

GAME: No. 8 Tarleton State at No. 10 Midwestern State

WHEN: Saturday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas

WHY IT MATTERS: This game has even more meaning for both teams following the release of the initial Super Region Four rankings on Monday. The top seven teams in each region make the playoffs in NCAA DII. Tarleton State is currently ranked fifth, Midwestern State is sixth, and Texas A&M-Commerce is ranked seventh. The loser of this game could be in real danger of missing the playoffs this season. A win for Tarleton State would place them in the driver’s seat for a playoff berth and the Lone Star Conference title. 

INSIDE THE STATS: This is a match-up of the conference’s best offense against the best defense. Midwestern State has a high-powered offense that averages 7.7 yards per play while Tarleton State owns the best defense in the conference as they only allow 4.2 yards per play. The Texans also bring a potent offense to the game as they average 7.1 yards per play behind a punishing rushing attack. MSU Texas defense has been average this season as they allow five yards per play.

COMPUTER SCORE PREDICTION: Tarleton State 33 Midwestern State 34

GAME: Incarnate Word at No. 19 Nicholls 

WHEN: Saturday at 3 p.m. at John L. Guidry Stadium in Thibodaux, La. 

WHY IT MATTERS: Incarnate Word enters the game currently in a three-way tie for first place in the Southland Conference at 4-1. Nicholls is currently one game behind at 3-2. UIW is in the second game of a brutal five game stretch to end the season. The Cardinals shocked the FCS world last week when they upset then No. 6 McNeese. This week will provide some more challenges as Nicholls is coming off a bye week and UIW must go on the road this week.

INSIDE THE STATS: The Cardinals have had the best offense in the SLC this season as they enter averaging 6.5 yards per play. The UIW defense has been below average so far this season as they have allowed 5.7 yards per play. Nicholls offense has been above average this season as they have averaged 5.8 yards per play while the Colonels defense has allowed 5.2 yards per play.

COMPUTER SCORE PREDICTION: Incarnate Word 27 Nicholls 31

GAME: Alcorn State at Prairie View A&M

WHEN: Saturday at 2 p.m. at Blackshear Field at Panther Stadium in Prairie View, Texas.

WHY IT MATTERS: Prairie View A&M enters this game following a bye week after they were shutout 38-0 at home by Southern University. Alcorn State enters atop the SWAC East division standings and would control their destiny with either a win or a Jackson State loss to Southern this week. PVAMU can still win the West division but they must win their remaining games and Southern will need to lose. This game could provide a preview of the SWAC championship game in six weeks.  

INSIDE THE STATS: Both teams enter this contest with the top two offenses in the SWAC. Alcorn State averages 6.3 yards per play on offense while Prairie View A&M are slightly better at 6.4 yards per play. Alcorn State has a huge advantage on defense as they allow a conference best 4.1 yards per play while the PVAMU defense is above average as they allow 4.7 yards per play. 

COMPUTER SCORE PREDICTION: Alcorn State 31 Prairie View A&M 26

GAME: Every game in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference

WHEN: No. 10 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M at Cisco College at 1 p.m. Saturday 

Navarro at Trinity Valley Community College at 3 p.m. Saturday

New Mexico Military Institute at No. 20 Blinn College at 3 p.m. Saturday

Tyler Junior College at No. 12 Kilgore College at 3 p.m. Saturday 

WHY IT MATTERS: This is the final week of the regular season and complete chaos could reign in the SWJCFC with all four-conference playoff positions up for grabs and seven of the eight conference teams remain alive for a playoff spot. Kilgore College and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M can secure a playoff spot with a win as they sit atop the conference with 4-2 conference records. Blinn College, Cisco College, Navarro College, Trinity Valley Community College, and Tyler Junior College all have identical 3-3 conference records. The only team eliminated from the playoffs is New Mexico Military Institute who are 1-5 in conference. Someone in the conference office has most likely been spending most of their time this week becoming familiar with every possible tiebreaker scenario.

COMPUTER SCORE PREDICTION: No prediction available for NJCAA

OTHER COMPUTER SCORE PREDICTIONS: 

Southeastern Louisiana 28 No. 22 Sam Houston State 36

Lamar 32 Stephen F. Austin 29

Houston Baptist 32 Northwestern State 36

Mississippi Valley State 25 Texas Southern 33

West Texas A&M 20 No. 18 Texas A&M-Commerce 29

Adams State 33 Angelo State 43

Western New Mexico 22 Texas A&M-Kingsville 35

UT Permian Basin 21 Eastern New Mexico 31

Howard Payne 21 Texas Lutheran 37

No. 8 Hardin-Simmons 35 Southwestern 27

McMurry 10 No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor 51

Sul Ross State 25 East Texas Baptist 45

Trinity (Tex.) 29 Hendrix 21

Texas Wesleyan 27 Wayland Baptist 36

No. 12 Langston 40 Texas College 26

Oklahoma Panhandle State 26 Southwestern Assemblies of God University 37

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