If the season openers are any indication, nearly all of the football teams in the Lone Star Conference will be tough to beat.
LSC teams went 7-2 in the first week of play, including Texas A&M University-Commerce’s 83-0 rout of Seleccion Nuevo Leon. That one didn’t count as an official NCAA game but of the ones that did the conference went 6-2, including two wins over teams in the higher NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
Midwestern State, led by sophomore defensive end Melik Owens, whipped FCS opponent Northwestern State 33-7 on the Demons’ home turf in Nachitoches, La. Owens earned the LSC’s defensive player of the week award after he finished with seven tackles, 2 1/2 tackles for losses and two sacks. The Mustangs limited Northwestern State to only 243 yards of total offense.
Running back Daniel McCants led Tarleton State to a 37-26 win over FCS member Stephen F. Austin, which is directed by former A&M-Commerce head coach Colby Carthel. McCants rushed for 179 yards on just 11 carries, scoring on bursts of 99 and 48 yards. The 99-yarder tied the LSC and NCAA Division record for the longest run from scrimmage. Tarleton also set a new school record with 667 total yards. McCants was named the LSC’s offensive player of the week.
The special teams player award went to Midwestern State placekicker Jaron Imbriani, who booted field goals of 28 and 25 yards in the big win over Northwestern State. Four of his six kickoffs reached the end zone and two were downed for touchbacks.
Midwestern State quarterback Zach Purcell was 26-of-40 passing for 323 yards and three TDs.
A&M-Commerce averaged 11.4 yards per play in its rout of Nuevo Leon, finishing with 411 yards of total offense though taking a knee eight times in the game and playing only 10-minute quarters. Quarterback Miklo Smalls, a transfer from Rice, was 4-of-4 passing for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
The Lions’ defense recorded 22 tackles for losses as Nuevo Leon finished with -83 yards in total offense.
Also winning their openers were Angelo State, West Texas A&M, UT Permian Basin and Eastern New Mexico.
Paul Terry rushed for 189 yards and three touchdowns in Eastern New Mexico’s 35-28 win over Missouri S&T. The Greyhounds, who traditionally rank among the top rushing teams in NCAA Division II, ran for 472 yards.
Texas A&M-Kingsville dropped its opener to Saginaw Valley State of Michigan, 35-14.
Western New Mexico lost 38-31 to Ottawa-Arizona.
All nine LSC teams will be back in action with more non-conference games on Saturday. A&M-Commerce will travel more than 2,000 miles to play at Western Oregon, which lost its opener 45-20 to West Texas A&M.
Lone Star Conference
Angelo State 1-0
Eastern N.M. 1-0
Midwestern State 1-0
Tarleton State 1-0
UT Permian Basin 1-0
West Texas A&M 1-0
Texas A&M-Commerce 0-0
Texas A&M-Kingsville 0-1
Western N.M. 0-1
Last week’s scores
*A&M-Commerce 83, Seleccion Nuevo Leon 0
Angelo State 45, Western Oregon 20
Midwestern State 33, Northwestern La. 7
Tarleton State 37, Stephen F. Austin 26
West Texas A&M 35, Azusa Pacific 16
UT Permian Basin 60, Wayland Baptit 7
Eastern N.M.. 35, Missouri S&T 28
Saginaw Valley State 35, A&M-Kingsville 14
Ottawa-Arizona 38, Western N.M. 31
*Did not count as NCAA game
3 p.m. — West Texas A&M at William Jewell (Mo.)
3:05 p.m. — A&M-Commerce at Western Oregon
5 p.m. — Western N.M. at Northern Arizona
6 p.m. — Simon Frasier (B.C.) at Angelo state
6 p.m. — Midwestern State at Lindenwood (Mo.)
6 p.m. — Doane at Tarleton State
6 p.m. — Northern Michigan vs. UT Permian Basin at Midland
7 p.m. — Sul Ross at A&M-Kingsville
8 p.m. — Eastern N.M. at Colorado Mesa