Hardin-Simmons vs. Louisiana College
1 p.m. | Nov. 14, 2015 | Shelton Stadium
Radio: 100.7 FM
Internet Broadcast: www.hsuathletics.com
Play-by-play: Al Pickett
Color Commentary: Travis Jones
Hardin-Simmons comes into the game with a lot on the line. If the Cowboys win and Mary Hardin-Baylor beats East Texas Baptist, HSU will share the ASC title with ETBU and UMHB. If ETBU beats UMHB, the Tigers are the outright champion. It is also senior day for the Cowboys' 19 seniors and the last guaranteed game at Shelton Stadium.
On The Air
You can hear Saturday's game on 100.7 in Abilene and on the internet at www.hsuathletics.com. You can also listen on your mobile phone using the HSU Athletics app. Al Pickett will be in his 11th season in the Cowboys' play-by-play chair and 13th overall on the broadcast team. Travis Jones will handle the color commentary.
Hopefully, the Cowboys name will be called when the selections for the 2015 NCAA Football Championship are announced at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Fans can watch the show on NCAA.com.
Last Time Out
Hardin-Simmons lost its first game of the season on Saturday at East Texas Baptist, falling 27-21 in a sloppy Ornelas Stadium. The Cowboys fell behind 14-0, retook the lead 21-14 in the second quarter, before being shutout in the second half to fall 27-21. James Place had 16 tackles in the game for the Cowboys and Spur Hearne added 12 stops.
About Louisiana College
The Wildcats come into the game with a 3-6 record, but are dangerous team with talented players across the board. Quarterback Easton Melancon was the preseason ASC player of the year, but he hasn't put up the numbers he had the previous two seasons. He has competed just 53 percent of his passes for 1,422 yards. He does have 17 touchdowns and just seven interceptions in 232 passing attempts. Ladarius Gardner has 491 yards on 34 catches with five touchdowns and Jake Dunabr has 26 catches. Aurren Cooksey has put together a solid year on the ground with 999 yards and four touchdowns. Defensively, LC is allowing 492 yards and 36.7 points per game.
Louisiana College held off a late Cowboy rally for a 42-35 win to close the season last year in Pineville. Trei Lewis had a huge game with six catches for 169 yards and three touchdowns. Weston Garner had his breakout game as well with 397 yards and four touchdowns and Kerry Sloan had 122 yards rushing. Jessie Ramos had a career-best 13 catches in the game.
In The Polls
HSU is No. 12 in this week's D3football.com poll and No. 15 in the American Football Coaches Association ranking. The Cowboys also rank second in the most important poll for their postseason chances - the South region rankings. With a win, the Cowboys almost assuredly will be the nation's lone Pool B recipient as they are the top non-automatic qualifying conference team in the regional rankings.
An HSU Win Would
• give the Cowboys a nine-win season for the first time since 2004.
• give the Cowboys a share of the ASC title IF Mary Hardin-Baylor beats East Texas Baptist. If both HSU and UMHB win it will be a three-way title share along with ETBU. If ETBU wins the Tigers are the outright conference champions.
• snap a three-game losing streak to Louisiana College.
It had been a while since the Cowboys had a player with 20 tackles in a game (Matt Warnasch on 2008 against UMHB), but James Place had 20 tackles in the game on Saturday that was made for him. The hard-hitting safety set a career-best in tackles and he moved all the to a tie for sixth in career tackles with Mike Tracy.
Jessie Ramos needs 204 yards to catch Kirk Rogers for the single-season receiving yards record set by Kirk Rogers in 1999. Ramos has 1,325 yards on the year. Rogers has the two best years in HSU history with 1,528 in 1999 and 1,371 in 2000. He also needs one receiving touchdown to tie Rogers for the second-best season in school history. Rogers has the three best seasons with 18 in 1999, and 15 in both 2000 and 2001. Ramos is tied with Mychal Carrillo with 14 this season. Ramos needs 117 all-purpose yards to become the ASC's all-team leader in career all-purpose yards with 5,746 passing Jordan Rideaux of Louisiana College. Ryne Lewis is 1.5 sacks away from tying Scott Forbes' school record of 24 career sacks.
Last Sure Ride For 19 Cowboy Seniors
Hardin-Simmons will honor its 19 seniors on Saturday before their final assured game at Shelton Stadium. The Cowboys will be losing a lot of talent that had a great deal to do with the turnaround in the program. The 19 players have combined for 425 games played and 250 starts in their careers.
Freshmen First Starts
The Cowboys had a pair of redshirt freshmen make their first career starts last week at East Texas Baptist. Devonte' Walker started with the Cowboys in a different formation that featured Jessie Ramos in the backfield. Spur Hearne received his first career start at middle linebacker.
Kicking Game Gets Changes
Nico Francino went down with a knee injury last weekend when he tried to scramble for a first down after a high snap in the sloppy conditions. He will be missed in the kicking game. The Cowboys did not travel another placekicker last week and had to go for two on its first two touchdowns. Alex Bell was able to kick an extra point after the third touchdown and he handled the kickoffs as well. Reese Childress did an admirable job as the punter in horrible kicking conditions. Childress will remain as the punter and freshman Reid Shillingburg who has been kicking for the developmental squad will take over the placekicking and kicking chores.
The Cowboys have to win on Saturday to have a shot at the NCAA playoffs. With a win HSU is in good position. You can watch the Cowboys fate on Sunday at 5 p.m. on NCAA.com when the selection show will be broadcast.