Last Modified: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 12:54 AM
Conference play kicks off for several Southland teams this weekend, and two title contenders will learn quickly where they stand.
No. 3 Sam Houston State (1-1) visits No. 25 Central Arkansas (2-1) in the first Southland TV Network game of the season.
“This is the most talented team we’ve had come to Conway in my 13 years here,” UCA coach Clint Conque said of the Bearkats.
It goes without saying that Conque would rather start conference play against somebody else.
“I’m not sure how the conference does scheduling,” Conque said. “If we pull names out of a hat, I hope we pull a different name next year.”
The Bearkats played neck-and-neck with Baylor into the fourth quarter last week before surrendering 24 unanswered points to lose 48-23. UCA is coming off a 70-3 stomping of NAIA Bacone College.
“I’m not even sure why they do rankings this early in the season,” said Sam Houston coach Willie Fritz. “But we’ll have a pretty good gauge of our ballclubs after this one.”
• GOLDEN PROJECTION: After a 66-16 loss at Tulsa, Nicholls State coach Charlie Stubbs had nothing but good things to say about the Golden Hurricane.
“I really believe Tulsa will be a Top 20 team before long,” Stubbs said. “They’re really that talented.”
Tulsa lost its season opener 38-23 to Iowa State before beating Tulane 45-10 and Nicholls State.
• BIZARRE SCORE: Lamar is recovering from a 54-2 loss at Hawaii, and perhaps the only things stranger than the score is how the points were earned.
The Warriors botched their final extra-point attempt of the game, which was returned for 2 points by Adrian Guillory.
The Lamar offense went three-and-out on all but three possessions. The Cardinals lost to Louisiana-Lafayette 40-0 in Week 1, they beat Prairie View A&M 31-0 in Week 2 before getting crushed once again.
“We’re kind of the Lamar Yo-yos right now,” said Cardinals coach Ray Woodard. “We’re going up and down.”
• MORE LAMAR BIZARRE: This week’s game against NAIA Langston will be the fourth consecutive in which Lamar faces a left-handed starting quarterback.
• LET THERE BE OFFENSE: After two stagnant performances, Northwestern State’s offense came to play in a 45-34 loss to Football Bowl Subdivision foe Nevada.
The Demons compiled 585 yards, their most since 2002. Quarterback Brad Henderson led the way with 357 passing yards, seven short of the school record set by Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert.
“Brad had just been in a little bit of a funk. It happens, it’s football,” said Demons coach Bradley Dale Peveto. “He just had not gotten into a rhythm. You don’t get negative, you don’t get down, you don’t point fingers. That’s the team concept. It was a great game for not just Brad but our entire offense.”
• OLD NON-RIVALS: Stephen F. Austin visits former conference foe Texas State this weekend. The Bobcats are in their first season of FBS play, which they started with a bang by beating Houston. SFA coach J.C. Harper is looking for his first win over Texas State in six tries.
Other than World War II, the two schools have met every year since 1923.