Small College Review: UMHB wins classic, the LSC is tough, ACU opens our eyes

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The more I think I know, the less I actually know. But enough about my lack of intelligence. Week four of college football provided another classic Game of the Week comeback, near upsets, some blowouts, more incredible individual performances, and jaw-dropping plays, including an insane catch from Tarleton wide receiver Tariq Bitson you must watch.

Here are my thoughts on the weekend.

New Chapter, Same Ending

The latest chapter in the Mary Hardin-Baylor and Hardin-Simmons rivalry was unlike any game in the series in recent memory. However, the final result followed a similar pattern, with No. 2 UMHB holding on late for a thrilling 34-28 win.

The Cowboys’ defense forced two fumbles in the first half, and the HSU offense took advantage of the momentum to give the underdog a 28-7 halftime lead.

The second half belonged to the Cru and featured a breakout performance from UMHB wide receiver Brandon Jordan.

The 6-6, 240-pound senior transfer from Ventura College caught six passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Both of Jordan’s touchdowns came in the second half, including the eventual game winning touchdown with 6:06 left in regulation.

The Cru coaching staff learned a lot about their team in this game. UMHB overcame the adversity of the first half and rebounded for a win, which will serve them well when the playoffs begin.

HSU is left with a disappointing outcome in a game they could’ve won if they made one or two more plays. However, the Cowboys are likely to earn an at-large berth if they win out, setting up a rematch with the Cru.

The NCAA will likely have the rematch in the first round of the playoffs despite my vehement objections. Whenever the rematch takes place, the game is sure to be another classic.

Nothing Comes Easy in the LSC

Winning football games is not easy. I mainly attribute the difficulty to both teams wanting to win the game. 

That’s my attempt at a rad dad joke.

This past weekend proved the Lone Star Conference remains one of the toughest conferences in the country from top to bottom.

West Texas A&M gave No. 5 Colorado School of Mines a genuine challenge in a 21-13 defeat, while Angelo State needed a late comeback to defeat Super Region Four foe Central Washington 14-9. Texas A&M-Commerce rolled to a 35-10 road win for the Lions’ ninth straight in the Chennault Cup.

 

The undefeated teams in the conference were given a true challenge against teams that didn’t play last year.

No. 15 Midwestern State jumped out to a 17-0 lead in its home opener against Eastern New Mexico. But the Greyhounds fought back, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.

The Mustangs scored to open the session of free football, and ENMU nearly tied the game on fourth down. However, the receiver dropped the ball at the MSU 3-yard line when he lost his footing trying to cut towards the end zone, giving the MSU fans a sigh of relief in attendance.

UT Permian Basin held a 17-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter after the game was delayed for an hour and a half at the start due to inclement weather.

In the fourth quarter, the Falcons traded touchdowns with the Mustangs but had to recover an onside kick attempt to close out the victory after WNMU pulled within eight points with 47 seconds remaining in the contest.

Hello Abilene Christian

There was some pressure on Abilene Christian coach Adam Dorrell and staff heading into this season. The Wildcats struggled to a 1-5 record last fall while facing adversity on all fronts, from the pandemic to the off-field injury to team leader Sema’J Davis.

We are all happy to see how well Davis has recovered from his career ending injuries and smiled when he was present to toss the coin in their win last week.

However, we honestly didn’t know much about this year’s Wildcats squad. ACU took a 56-9 road loss to FBS SMU and then rolled over NAIA member Louisiana College and NCAA DII UT Permian Basin in consecutive weeks at home.

Saturday, ACU played against its first FCS opponent, and needless to say, things went well.

The defense was superb throughout the contest at Lamar last Saturday, holding the Cardinals to 136 total yards and an impressive 2.6 yards per play while forcing three turnovers.

The ACU offense used a potent rushing attack to roll up 274 rushing yards and 7.8 yards per attempt.

While winning their first game against a fellow WAC foe was huge for ACU, even if the game didn’t count in conference standings, another test awaits the Wildcats this week when No. 24 Central Arkansas visits.

The Wildcats have an opportunity to build more momentum this week, and a win would certainly make a big statement to the rest of the country.

Helmet Stickers

Daniel Wright Jr., Tarleton

The junior transfer from Weber State registered the best performance of his Tarleton career, gaining 142 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries in the Texans' 40-21 win over New Mexico Highlands.

 

Jake Parker, Howard Payne

Jake Parker is superb at football and making a solid case for being an All-American this year. Parker had 184 yards and two touchdowns receiving on seven receptions to lead Howard Payne to a massive 49-38 win over East Texas Baptist.

Peyton Ludemann, Southwestern

Southwestern suffered a 41-31 road loss to McMurry last Saturday, but Pirates’ defensive back Peyton Ludemann had a stellar game setting a career-high with 14 tackles against the War Hawks. Most impressive stat for Ludemann? Every tackle was of the solo variety.

Plays of the Week

Each week, we scour social media to find the top plays. However, we are sure to miss some incredible plays from the 35 small college teams in Texas, so we are seeking your assistance. 

If you find a great play worthy of a nomination, use hashtag #dctftopplays to make sure we notice.

Here are the top five plays from Week 4:

 

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