Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bearcat Playoff Preview: Texas A&M - Kingsville

#6 Missouri Western - 24
#3 Northwest Missouri State - 28

Well not quite 42-0 but the Bearcats pulled out the victory. I believe the Cats were looking past the Griffons coming into this game and didn't really get focused until the second half when they turned it on and crushed Mo West's dreams 28-7 and securing the victory. Bolles had a big day rushing and three different Cats scored on runs.

All that drama to set up virtually a rematch of last year's second game and a classic revenge game for the Bearcats.

#3 Northwest Missouri State University Bearcats at
#2 Texas A&M - Kingsville Javalinas
Javelina Stadium, Kingsville, TX, Saturday, November 27th 1:00 CST

The Offense
Kingsville is the worst scoring offense in the regional bracket and the second worse total offense. Ranking 42 in total offense, 74th in scoring offense, 62nd in rushing offense and 40th in passing offense nationally. I would compare them to Mo West offensively. In their previous match up NW held the Javelinas to 16 points and 344 total yards. JR QB Nate Poppell threw for 258 with 1 TD and 1 INT. Kingsville's rushing attack was bleh gaining 2.8 yards per carry and going for 86 yards. Kingsville will likely rely on SO RB Jonathon Woodson to get something going on the ground.

Northwest meanwhile has been sputtering down the stretch offensively. Scoring only 17, 22 and 28 in the last three games the offense has done just enough to get by. Bolles has been held under 300 yards in all three of the last contests. With the opportunity to exploit some weaknesses in the opponents rushing defense, I think the Cats focused more on running the football. Bolles has a chance here to make up for the first game where he looked completely lost. The offensive line will also be out to redeem themselves after they gave up 7 sacks in the first meeting. In Kingsville's lone loss this season Abilene Christian passed for over 400 yards and put up 31 points. Look for the Cats to try and replicate that effort.

The Defense
What the Javelinas lack on offense they more than make up for it on Defense. Clearly the most stout defense in the regional bracket, the Javalinas are the nations top ranked rushing defense, the number 6th ranked scoring defense, 35th against the pass and 4th in total defense. Needless to say defense is what makes this team tough. Led by JR LB Marcus Sanders and SR SS DeIra Glover, this defense game NW fits in the first meeting. Holding NW to it's lowest output of the season, after NW opening scoring drive, the Cats didn't see the end zone again. Only allowing the Cats 194 yards, in Maryville was quite an accomplishment for the Javelinas. Kingsville is above and beyond the toughest squad NW faced this season.

The Bearcats are no slouches on this side of the ball either. The Cats have relied on this group the last three weeks to bring home victory and they have responded. Only allowing 20 points per game they held the #5 Mules offense to 17 points and #12 Fort Hays state to 27 points. Really the only time this group struggled was in that shoot out at Washburn where they gave up 40. The Cats shouldn't have much trouble handling the Javelinas offense.

The Prediction
Both teams are going to be ready for this game. Texas A&M Kingsville is aware of what happened to Abilene Christian against the Cats the past two seasons and will try to reverse this trend and stop the Bearcats playoff dominance over the Lonestar conference this century. Northwest is heading down to Texas with revenge on it's mind. If the Javelinas want to win this game they'll need to have success on the ground to keep the Cats offense off the field.

In the first meeting the Bearcat offense looked lost. They weren't in sync and it showed allowing Bolles to get sacked 7 times. Defensively the Cats should be able to hold the Javelinas down. Look for the Cats to try and get some early success through the air and try to jump out to an early lead where they can shift to more controlled offensive attack and minimize Bolles exposure to the Javelina's pass rush and repeat of the first meeting. And for the Cats to win they'll need to put at least 24 on the board.

It's hard to go against the Cats in the playoffs and this game is going to be a dog fight. But I think the Cats are a different team offensively from the first time around. Look for the Cats to make another statement and move into the next round. NWMSU - 24 TAMK - 17

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