S. F. Austin Lumberjacks vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Date | September 7, 2013
Time | 6:00 pm
Place | Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Texas
TV | FSN
Disclaimer : I am sure that I have something wrong with this preview. If something is incorrect, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email (doubletnation AT gmail DOT com) and I'll get things corrected either in the story or in the comments. The purpose of this preview is to help educate myself and Texas Tech fans about your team.
The rankings that I'm doing for SFA are going to be based off of their FCS numbers because it would be nearly impossible to try to convert or make them work on a BCS level. There are 121 teams on the FCS level for reference purposes.
SFA's head coach is J.C. Harper and I think he should be heading into his seventh season as SFA's head coach. SFA and Harper have been very good offensively. Very good. In fact, and we'll get to this in a second, but SFA has the #2 passing offense in the FCS division. #ATMO
|Offense - Run|
Offense - Run | Doug Gentry (6-0/190) and Gus Johnson (5-10/215) both return to help lead a running game that was 96th in the nation in rushing offense. Johnson had 154 carries and 1,001 yards and 14 touchdowns last year, while Gentry was not utilized as often, carrying the ball 77 times for 352 yards and 2 touchdowns. Johnson is obviously the guy running the ball for SFA and those are pretty good numbers. Interestingly, in the last game of the year for SFA, they had Gentry as the starter and Johnson as the back-up. Four-fifths of the offensive line returns as the only player that has to be replaced is C John Steel. Returning linemen include LT Ryne Chambers, LG Byron Williams (who was a true freshman last year), RG Andrew Ratliff and RT Terran Vaughn.
Offense - Pass | QB Brady Attaway returns for his senior year and as mentioned above, Attaway helped lead the #2 passing offense on the FCS level. The only downside is the 21 interceptions. That deserves a 9 right? Something to note, Attaway is from Whitehouse and I am getting the impression that Whitehouse is becoming a football factory. Attaway completed 58% of his passes and had 29 touchdowns to 21 interceptions and 333 yards per game. The one thing that I'm thinking that Lumberjack fans hope Attaway improves are those interceptions. That's just a ton of turnovers, 21, just by the quarterback alone, which put SFA near the bottom in turnover margin. That's just too many turnovers. Three of the top four leading receivers return, including a really big target in Cordell Roberson (6-3/200), who caught 77 passes for 1,006 yards and 10 touchdowns. That was good for 7th in the nation for FCS teams. And to add to it, SFA was terrific protecting Attaway, as they were 10th in sacks allowed. Overall, just a terrific pass offense.
|Defense - Run|
Defense - Run | The line is led by DE Darren Robinson (5-11/247) where he had 31 tackles and 7.5 sacks. SFA did lose half of their starting defensive line in DE Willie Jefferson and DL Chris Watson, but in addition to Robinson, they do return DL Malcolm Mattox. Two-thirds of the returning linebackers return, which just happen to be the two leading tacklers in SLB Cedric Barlow and WLB Collin Garrett. And SFA was actually great against the run, 15th in the nation and only allowing 120 yards a game.
|Defense - Pass|
Defense - Pass | The secondary returns one-half of the starters, losing WS Iziah Perry and BC Josh Aubrey to graduation. Returning are FC Keavon Madison and FS Caleb Nelson. SFA's pass defense ranked 70th in the nation last year, so they were just okay. Middle of the road. The Lumberjacks only had 9 interceptions on the year last year, 3 of them coming from Aubrey and Perry. SFA does get pressure on the opposing quarterback, in part because of Robinson, where they were 21st in the nation in sacks at 2.64 per game last year.
Special Teams: De'Vante Lacy was the main returner last year and he was just a true freshman. He averaged 31 yards a kick return, but just 4 yards a punt return. Not bad for a true freshman. K Jordan Wiggs returns as the kicker and last year he made 15 of 20 field goals. I'm going to struggle through these series as to how to rate specialists.
Intangibles | Just by reading Harper's bio on SFA, you can tell he's a good job of turning SFA around and in quick order. He won the SLC coach of the year in 2009 he's done some really good things at SFA, including, but not limited to the idea that airing it out is a tremendous way to win football games. Still, I don't know if SFA can compete at Texas Tech's level for the duration of the game. Last year, SFA lost to SMU 0-52 and lost to Texas St. 37-41. With Texas Tech being at home for the first game, I'm expecting good things for Texas Tech. Still, I think that SFA has the right coach in place and in researching the Lumberjacks, they seem to be going in the right direction.