On the football side of things I will hit on Lindenwood first. The Lions defense played well on Saturday, just not well enough to win. When they needed to stop a drive they did and when they needed a big play or turnover they got it. The problem was LU gave NWOSU too good of field position on a few offensive turnovers.
So Lindenwood fan, let’s not start the rumblings of major changes needed for this team to win. A few bang-ups to key LU guys really limited what they Lions were to do in the second half. QB Ben Kisner played off and on in the second half with a thigh bruise while RB Abdullah was also injured.
Would a healthy presence from those two changed the game? Maybe. But that in itself should provide plenty of optimism for the Lions this year.
The Rangers? Let me give you the abbreviated version of the night. Black Cloud, Thez Robinson, Black Cloud, Miguel Warren, Black Cloud, Thez Robinson, Black Cloud, Sedgwyn Thigpen … I think that about covers it. Thex Robinson looked the part of a true Ranger runningback tonight. Keep an eye on him.
To the lay person the “Black Cloud” is the nickname for the Rangers defense, which was out in full force. LU finished with 14 yards rushing on 22 carries. In total the Rangers only gave up 265 yards and one touchdown which in many ways was a stroke of luck. Give credit to LU’s WR Wilson who continued running his route despite a pass being tipped. Because of his effort the ball bounced away from defender and directly into his stride as he broke away from the Ranger D.
There is a certain feeling everyone gets when they go to a football game. Sometimes it is in your gut, sometimes you cannot explain where it is. That is why I am always going to football games as early as possible to be able to gauge where each team is at. I think you can tell a lot about a team it you just shut up, listen, and feel what is happening around you.
When NWOSU hit the field tonight, I got that same feeling about them that I got when I saw them destroy Tabor in the NAIA Playoffs back in ‘03. My gut turned and my arm hair was standing on end. It is hard to explain and the easiest thing I can say to help you understand is this; they just had “it”. I do not know what “it” is, but they had “it”.
After a 4-6 season in ‘05 the question that many people are wondering right now is “Are the Rangers back?” I’ll revert to my opening statement for the night on NWOSU. They are very good on defense, they have a running back that has opened my eyes, and their defense looks like a typical Ranger defense.
Are they back?
Let’s take it one game at a time for now.
Should teams be scared?
Uh … . yeah.
See ya next week in Chicago for Saint Xavier and Lambuth.