Week 5 is in the books, and with it, a muddling of the Southland Conference. Sam Houston turned the Battle of the Piney Woods into a trip to the woodshed for SFA, destroying them in front of a record crowd at NRG Stadium 63-28. McNeese kept the Colonels from marching through the Southland, defeating Nicholls 38-13 at Cowboy Stadium, and Lamar notched their first win of the season, defeating Southeastern Louisiana 38-14. We have five games on tap this week in the Southland, so let’s take a look at them.
Stephen F Austin at Nicholls State
It’s homecoming in the swamp as the Lumberjacks travel to Thibodaux to take on the Colonels. SFA is coming off of an embarrassing loss to rival Sam Houston at the Battle of the Piney Woods in which they were just decimated by the Bearkat offense. Down 35-0 at the end of the first quarter, SFA could not get anything going versus the Sam defense, and they never had a shot of getting back into the game. SFA will go into this week’s game with quarterback issues still, and will it be Conque, or Taylor getting the start? Nicholls State had people wondering if they were a dark horse based off of their play vs FBS opponents, however, McNeese might have exposed them for being a team that their opponents played down to. Their normally stout defense was picked apart by quarterback James Tabary, and the “Defense With Attitude” forced held Nicholls to 31 yards rushing on 28 attempts, as well as forced two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Given that SFA and Nicholls are both looking to rebound, I give the edge to the Colonels since they are at home. Nicholls State takes this one 31-28
Kentucky Wesleyan at Northwestern State
Northwestern State comes into this game 0-4 on the year, and the Demons are looking for the spark to turn their season around. Luckily for them, they face a very weak squad out of division 2, and should win this game easily. They better enjoy this one, as they have a Lamar squad who could potentially tear them apart next week, and McNeese the week after that. Northwestern State wins this 35-7
Lamar at Abilene Christian
Lamar is coming off of its first win of the year, overpowering the Southeastern Louisiana Lions 38-14. With the win, Lamar now sits in fifth place in the conference standings and they are poised to make a run at the leaders of the conference. Lamar amassed 268 yards on the round, and stud running back Kade Harrington went for 144 and a touchdown. Abilene Christian is 0-5, and basically now is hoping to play the role of the spoiler for the conference leaders. While they have an offense that has shown potency this year, their defense is very suspect. Lamar runs the Wildcats out of their home stadium 28-10.
Sam Houston at Incarnate Word
There are two words you can use to describe Sam Houston’s football team this year: pure dominance. Any doubts I had in my mind of their ability was erased on Saturday, and for my Sam fans that read this, consider this my official apology. Jeremiah Briscoe set records on Saturday, throwing for 7 touchdowns against the SFA defense. At this point, it’s Sam’s conference title to lose, and they should have a pretty clear path to it, and it’s looking like their game vs Central Arkansas could determine who gets the autobid. Incarnate Word hung in vs Texas State for most of their game, but Texas State added on some garbage time touchdowns that made the game look like a blowout. Is this game a trap game for Sam? Will they have some comedown from the victory at the Battle of the Piney Woods? The answer is no to both questions; Sam Houston destroys UIW and plays their second strings most of the game. Look for this to get ugly quickly, with a final of 70-7.
McNeese at Southeastern Louisiana
McNeese looks like they are getting a bit of momentum going, with back to back conference victories, and a stout performance by their DWA (Defense With Attitude). Their offense has been clicking with Tabary at the helm, and they look like they could play spoiler for either Sam Houston or UCA. This week they travel to Hammond to take on the Lions. Southeastern is coming off of being ran out of Beaumont, literally, allowing Lamar to go for over 250 yards on the ground. Usually Coach Ron Roberts puts together solid teams, but it seems this year the Lions are just having trouble getting things going. McNeese wins, 38-21.