Week 9 is in the books in the Southland, and the stage is set for an exciting final three weeks of the regular season. Central Arkansas caged the Lions of Southeastern Louisiana, winning 45-10. Houston Baptist notches another conference win, beating Lamar 24-17. Stephen F Austin gets back in the win column with a strong second half performance, taking down Incarnate Word 42-19, while Nicholls State took over the turf at Turpin, beating Northwestern State 31-14. Sam Houston kept the undefeated season going, taking the Tigers by their tails and destroying Texas Southern 66-17, and McNeese easily handled Abilene Christian 33-14
In looking at the Southland Conference playoff hopes, it is looking like that the conference will probably get two teams in with Sam Houston and Central Arkansas, with teams like McNeese, Nicholls, Southeastern Louisiana and SFA not getting the at-large bids. If Sam Houston and Central Arkansas keep on the trajectory they are on, the match in Huntsville on November 19th could be a top 10 match for the Southland Conference crown.
Here’s your week 10 “Rev”-elations.
Lamar at Nicholls State
Poor Lamar. What had looked to be a promising conference run has turned into disaster with the loss of running back Kade Harrington and quarterback Carson Earp, and while Coach Ray Woodard has the utmost confidence in his players, they didn’t show the poise needed to win last week, falling to Houston Baptist. They travel to the swamp to take on Nicholls State. Nicholls is in an interesting position, because if they can win out with some help in losses to UCA and Sam Houston, they could potentially make their first playoff appearance in almost a decade. Nicholls’ defense is the strength to their team, and they will make this a long day for Lamar. Nicholls wins 28-14, and keeps their fingers crossed for some help with the teams ahead of them in the standings.
Central Arkansas at Stephen F Austin
Central Arkansas continues to go on a tear through conference, and they look to keep it going in Nacogdoches. This game is extra special for Bear fans, as it’s against former longtime coach Clint Conque, and while a win is sweet, a win over your former coach is even sweeter. One issue for Central Arkansas is that they tend to start off slow, and then turn on the jets later in the game, but they’ve been able to keep teams from getting too far ahead of them. They need to watch this versus teams like Stephen F Austin and Sam Houston, who have quick strike ability. Stephen F Austin finally claws back to .500, and while they aren’t completely ineligible for the post season as they can still reach seven wins with six division one wins, they realistically will be watching from home. Quarterback Zach Conque had 296 yards of total offense, threw for three touchdowns, and rushed for another three touchdowns versus Incarnate Word, and he looks to try to break UCA’s defense that ranks eighth in total defense, first in run defense, and tied for 30th in passes intercepted. While the homer in me wants to see SFA put a wrench in UCA’s season, it’s not going to happen as UCA is just too good, and UCA is going to win this one 45-28.
Southeastern Louisiana at Incarnate Word
The Lions were hit with a setback in their playoff hopes Saturday, as they were outmatched by a dominant Central Arkansas defense. Southeastern is dealing with injury, as star quarterback Justin Alo is not 100 percent and he is a key factor in their offense. The Lions look to bounce back as they head to San Antonio to face Incarnate Word. The Cardinals are licking their wounds after SFA had their way with them last weekend. Incarnate Word, in my opinion, is not a bad team by any means; they are just outmatched by conference competition. They look to play the spoiler for Southeastern Louisiana, as a loss by the Lions would all but slam the door on their post season hopes. I think Southeastern squeaks by the Cardinals 28-24.
Northwestern State at Abilene Christian
Well, the good news here is that one of these teams has to win. The Demons still do not have a division one win this year, and are hoping to shock the Wildcats in Abilene. Abilene Christian comes into this one reeling from their loss in Lake Charles to McNeese, and, for the first time in a long time, they are favored to win this game. It definitely has been a shocking year for both of these schools, as no one expected them to be the two bottom feeders of the conference this year. Anyways, Abilene Christian wins “The Battle of the Bad” 35-7.
Houston Baptist at Texas-El Paso
Houston Baptist has two conference wins this year, the most in their history in the Southland, and now take an out of conference body bag game vs the Miners of UTEP. UTEP is pretty bad themselves, sitting at 2-6 this season, and perhaps Houston Baptist can play good enough to get a FBS scalp, and I also might win the lottery as well. UTEP rolls 55-0
McNeese at Sam Houston State
Revenge will be the name of the game, as Sam Houston ruined McNeese’s Championship hopes last year in the playoffs, and the Cowboys are going to look to ruin Sam’s perfect season. McNeese has been a true Jekyll and Hyde team this year, and they have showed flashes of pure brilliance on defense with the DWA, but at the same time, they have had some head scratching losses. Sam Houston comes into this game, just destroying their opposition, and dominating all offensive statistical categories, however, UCA looms on the horizon for the fearless men of the Orange, and this game versus McNeese could be your prototypical trap game for the Kats. This is my Southland Conference Game of the Week, and I think Sam is going to win this, but McNeese is going to give them a fight. Final score: Sam wins 42-38.