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Mustangs at home for first time this season

September 16th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

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WNMU will look to get its first win of the 2016 season as they host Oklahoma Panhandle State in a key game for WNMU. Western holds a 19-16-2 advantage in the series but this will be the first time the teams have met as conference foes. The teams haven’t met since 2006 when WNMU won 61-17. The Mustangs have won the last 3 meetings.

Things are bit different in this matchup with Western coming in at 0-2 having lost to San Diego and Eastern NM while OPSU has faced 2 NCAA D-IAA foes coming away with a 1-1 record. The Aggies fell to #2 Sam Houston State in the opener, 59-21, then got a road victory against Arkansas Pine Bluff, 20-16.

It was a typical first game of the season between a highly ranked team and a team in OPSU that didn’t have a great outlook for the season. SHS got out to a 14-0 lead before Panhandle was able to get their offense going trading TDs with Sam Houston. Just before the end of the 1st quarter it was 21-14 in favor of the Bearkats. It was big plays for OPSU scoring first on a 90 yard kick off return then a 68 yard pass for another score.

Sam Houston would roll off the next 4 scores, 3 in the second quarter and one in the third to put the game away. Panhandles’ only other score would be a 35 yard pass. The final score was 59-21. OPSU was pass heavy gaining only 55 yards on the ground and 311 through the air on 26-41 passing for 2 TDs and no ints. The running game got only 1.6 yards per carry. The D gave up 279 yards rushing and 389 through the air.

Against Pine Bluff, OPSU fell behind early but took the lead into the intermission at 7-3. APD would dominate the third quarter and hold a 16-7 lead going into the final stanza. The Aggies came up big with 2 long drives culminating in TDs for the final 20-16 margin of victory. The last drive was a 91 yard march that ended with another big pass play, 55 yards for the score.

OPSU found a running game getting 115 yards, averaging 3.4 per carry. The passing game was efficient once again gaining 228 yards on 22-34 passing for 3 TDs and no INTs. The defense held Pine Bluff to 140 yards rushing, but had tackles for losses totaling 47 yards. They gave up only 203 yards passing allowing no scores on the passing game.

The passing game is run by Sr QB Shane Truelove, 6-1 219 from Norco CA. He’s 39-61 for 440 yards and 4 TDs with no turnovers on the season. He’s got a big arm and can move in the pocket. He’s also a threat to run carrying the rock 16 times for 44 yards. But he’s clearly a pass first QB who gets rid of the ball quickly. They’ll set up the long ball with intermediate passes.

12 players have caught the ball for OPSU but Truelove’s favorite target is El Paso native Andrew Hernandez. He’s a 5-8 172 Sr with great speed and elusiveness. He’s caught 14 passes averaging 15 yards a catch with a long of 69 and put the ball in the end zone twice. The other main target for Truelove is Brandon Trotter, another Sr, from Phoenix AZ. Trotter, 5-11 193, also has good speed. He’s caught 8 passes, 6 against Pine Bluff. He’s got 1 TD with the long of 55 yards.

The defense for Panhandle is likely better than their stats will tell you. They’ve played 2 DI opponents and have given up a lot of yards and points, but most of it in the game at Sam Houston. Their leading tacklers are DBs and LBs which isn’t always good. They can be aggressive and will bring blitzes often. They can come up with tackles for loss and did so against both of their opponents. The Mustang offensive line will have their hands full.

What can WNMU do to counter Panhandle’s defense and can we stop their passing game? Tune in to the kickoff show right here at 11:30 on Saturday to find out. Or listen on 92.9 FM

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