Lions, and Kats, and Bears! Oh my, it was an interesting week 7 in the Southland Conference as Southeastern Louisiana deflated any hopes Stephen F Austin had of making the playoffs in the span of 2 plays, winning 58-34. Sam Houston has kept the train rolling, destroying the Wildcats of Abilene Christian 48-21, and Central Arkansas did something few teams have ever done, and that is shut out McNeese at the Hole 35-0. Northwestern State took Lamar to the very end, but lost on a last second touchdown pass 32-31, and Nicholls beat Houston Baptist 33-30.
Before taking a look at week 8, let’s take a moment to send condolences to McNeese State coach Lance Guidry, who lost his brother Saturday morning. Even though we fight like cats and dogs, we’re all family in the Southland, and Coach Guidry and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.
Let’s see what we have coming up in Week 8
Incarnate Word at Abilene Christian
It’s a battle of former division 2 conference mates, as the Cardinals of UIW travel up to Abilene to face the Wildcats. Incarnate Word is coming off of their bye week, and the week before, they hung in with Sam Houston for most of their game, losing 63-48. Incarnate Word has shown some signs of bringing it together, and they could make a late reason run as a spoiler in the conference. They head to Shotwell Stadium to face ACU, who are looking to end their streak of imperfection, as they are still winless this season. ACU normally fields the talent to be competitive; it just seems that this year the cylinders are misfiring for the Wildcats. This week, ACU ends the streak, taking out UIW 28-24.
Sam Houston State at Nicholls State
This could potentially be the game of the week in the conference, depending upon which Nicholls defense shows up. Sam has been just steamrolling the opposition, and they are leading just about every offensive stat category. Jeremiah Briscoe is one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, and it is going to take a stout defense to keep him, running back Corey Avery, and star wide receiver Yedidiah Louis in check. Nicholls comes in to this game after beating the Huskies of HBU, and they were able to do it with some solid defense and special teams play, including a blocked field goal for a touchdown. If the Nicholls defense can keep Sam in check, this could be an interesting game. I think Sam wins, but it will be a lot closer than most expect, with the final of 42-31.
Houston Baptist at Southeastern Louisiana
The Huskies travel to Hammond to attempt to play spoiler to the Lions of Southeastern Louisiana, who are starting to pull things together and are gaining momentum through the second half of the season. HBU played Nicholls really well, but just didn’t have enough to pull the upset victory. While this season is a wash, HBU has shown that they are developing the talent to be competitive in the conference. Southeastern Louisiana comes in after ruining any hopes Stephen F Austin had of a postseason in the span of two plays. First, while up 37-34, they blocked a game tying field goal attempt and ran it back for a touchdown, and then on the next drive, they intercepted quarterback Hunter Taylor and took it to the house. Southeastern is sitting at 3-1 and conference and 3-3 overall and should be a concern for Central Arkansas, as their game may decide who gets an at-large spot. Quarterback Justin Alo has been solid in leading the Lions offense, and their defense has made pretty solid plays. This game should be an easy win for the Lions, and they’ll take it 42-10.
McNeese at Northwestern State
McNeese is coming off of a horrible week, and they are looking to rebound against the Demons. McNeese, while showing some spark this year, just seem to be struggling this year, and it could be due to transitioning under a new coach. The DWA was just outclassed by the Central Arkansas Bears, who had a field day in Lake Charles and won the Red Beans & Rice bowl. Thankfully for the Pokes, they get an easy match against Northwestern State, who is now basically just playing for pride’s sake. The Demons come in still winless in conference, and their only win this year is over Kentucky Wesleyan. Their offense just hasn’t come together, and their defense has been abysmal. McNeese will bounce back and move back to .500 on the year. Final score will be 38-13.
Lamar at Central Arkansas
Well, this would have been the game of the week in the Southland, except bad news has come out of Beaumont, as Lamar has announced that stud running back Kade Harrington broke his foot, and his career at Lamar is done. Kade had been the offensive spark for the Cardinals, and had been a force to reckon with. Lamar is going to have to depend on their passing game, which performed well enough to eke out the win last week vs Northwestern State, but it looks to be a long second half of the season for the Cardinals. Central Arkansas comes in after destroying McNeese in Lake Charles, and the Bears are showing that their rankings in the top 25 are no fluke. While it’s still a month out, their game vs Sam Houston is looking to be the potential Southland Conference championship game. The Bears defense has been stifling, specifically their run defense, as they have only allowed 395 yards on the ground this season, and their secondary has forced 8 interceptions thus far. Central Arkansas should take control of this game and put in the second stringers early, as the Bears roll 42-14.