Small College Preview: Playoff spots and conference titles on the line

Photo by Kelly Guess

GAME: Abilene Christian at Sam Houston State

WHEN: Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Elliott T Bowers Stadium in Huntsville, Texas. The game will be televised on Eleven Sports Network.

WHY IT MATTERS: Both teams are currently in a four way tie for second place in the Southland Conference standings and are only one game behind the leaders. There are many convoluted scenarios in the final two weeks of the SLC, but neither team has been eliminated from being conference champions and possibly earning the automatic bid to the NCAA FCS playoffs. ACU is also seeking their sixth win in the season for the first time as an NCAA DI program.

INSIDE THE STATS:Abilene Christian enters with one of the conference’s top offensive teams as they are averaging 5.8 yards per play which is ranked third in the conference. The Wildcats defense has been below average this season but they still rank fourth in conference allowing 5.5 yards per play. SHSU enters with a struggling offense this season as they are tied for eighth averaging 5.4 yards per play while the Bearkats defense is tied for fifth in conference allowing 5.6 yards per play.

COMPUTER SCORE PREDICTION: Sam Houston State 36, Abilene Christian 35 


GAME: Angelo State at No. 14 Texas A&M-Commerce 

WHEN: Saturday at 4 p.m. at Ernest Hawkins Field at Memorial Stadium in Commerce, Texas

WHY IT MATTERS: There are plenty of juicy story lines entering this game between conference rivals. A win for Texas A&M-Commerce in a series where six of the last eight games between the two teams have been decided by five points or less would all but guarantee their at-large bid to the NCAA DII playoffs next week. Angelo State enters on a three-game winning streak and may have extra motivation this week as their head coach was fired last Sunday and defensive coordinator Jeff Girsch was name new head football coach.

INSIDE THE STATS: Angelo State enters with an offense that been above average this season as they rank third in the Lone Star Conference averaging 5.6 yards per play. The Rams defense also ranks third in the conference as they have allowed five yards per play. The TAMUC offense has struggled at times this season and they enter averaging 5.5 yards per play while the Lions defense has been outstanding this season as they rank second in the conference only allowing 4.1 yards per play. 

COMPUTER SCORE PREDICTION: Texas A&M-Commerce 31, Angelo State 26 


GAME: West Texas A&M at No. 16 Midwestern State

WHEN: Saturday at 1 p.m. at Joseph Golding Field at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas

WHY IT MATTERS: This annual rivalry game provides extra incentive for Midwestern State this year. The Mustangs enter holding the final at-large berth to the NCAA DII playoff in the latest regional rankings. MSU Texas must win this game and hope they stay ahead of Central Washington when the tournament field is announced on Sunday night. West Texas is never an easy opponent and they play the Mustangs particularly close as both teams have each won five of the last 10 meetings between the schools. 

INSIDE THE STATS: West Texas A&M rely on a punishing ball control rushing attack and they enter last in the conference in offense averaging 4.6 yards per play. The Buffaloes defense enters tied for fifth in the conference allowing 5.5 yards per play. MSU Texas bring an explosive offense to the game as they lead the conference averaging an incredible 7.3 yards per play while the Mustangs defense is fourth in conference allowing 5.3 yards per play.

COMPUTER SCORE PREDICTION: No prediction available for NJCAA


GAME: No. 7 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M at No. 10 Kilgore College

WHEN: Saturday at 3 p.m. at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium in Kilgore, Texas

WHY IT MATTERS: The winner of this game will be crowned the Southwest Junior College Football Conference champions and will earn an automatic bid to play in a bowl game on Dec. 1. If the Rangers win the conference title they will play in the CHAMPS Heart of Texas Bowl in Waco, Texas. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M will be looking to atone for the 31-24 defeat at the hands of the Rangers when they visited on Sept. 22. Kilgore is trying to win their first SWJCFC title since 2015.

INSIDE THE STATS:Northeastern Oklahoma A&M bring a good rushing attack to the game as they have averaged 225.2 yards rushing per game and 31.5 points while their defense has been very stingy this season only allowing 22.8 points per game. Kilgore has an efficient offense that has averaged 383.1 yards per game and 36.9 points per game while the Rangers defense has been the best in the conference as they have only allowed 20 points per game.

COMPUTER SCORE PREDICTION: No prediction available for NJCAA



Central Arkansas 39, Incarnate Word 33 

Lamar 45, Houston Baptist 34 

No. 16 Nicholls 33, Stephen F. Austin 20 

Tarleton State 47, Western New Mexico 16 

Texas A&M-Kingsville 29, UT Permian Basin 26 

Louisiana College 37, Howard Payne 27

No. 7 Hardin-Simmons 49, McMurry 17 

Texas Lutheran 31, Southwestern 29

No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor 46, East Texas Baptist 25

Sul Ross State 28, Belhaven 27 

Rhodes 26, Austin College 23

No. 11 Berry 25, Trinity (Tex.) 23

Ottawa (Ariz.) 46, Texas Wesleyan 30

Arizona Christian 33, Wayland Baptist 32

Lyon (Ark.) 38, Texas College 26 

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