Sept. 12, 2013
Lamar Game Notes
#11 Oklahoma State Game Notes
Lamar (1-1) had to quickly put the disappointment of last week's heartbreaking decision at Louisiana Tech behind it, as the Cardinals once again hit the road to face an FBS team. The challenge doesn't get any easier as the Cardinals will be in Stillwater, Okla. Saturday to take on No. 11 Oklahoma State. The game against the Cowboys is slated to kick off at 6:30 p.m. from Boone Pickens Stadium. It will also be televised on Fox Sports Southwest.
"Oklahoma State is a very talented football team," said head coach Ray Woodard. "You don't need to see a number to the left of their name to know that. We can't just focus on one player, on either side of the ball, because they have so many weapons that can hurt you.
"In addition to playing one of the nation's tops teams, we are facing some other challenges as well. This is going to be Oklahoma State's home opener so they are going to be excited about playing in front of their fans and the noise factor is something that we are going to have to deal with. Turnovers are going to be key in this contest. We have to protect the football," added Woodard.
The Cardinals will look to get over the .500 mark against the highest-ranked FBS opponent it has faced in program history. The Cowboys (2-0) enter the week with consecutive victories over Mississippi State and UTSA, and have beaten their opponents by a combined score of 77-38.
While Saturday's contest will be against arguably the toughest opponent it has faced in school history, the Cardinals have experienced success in big games against current Big 12 teams. Following their 1980 Southwest Conference Championship season, Baylor opened the 1981 campaign against Lamar. That season the Cardinals traveled to Waco and exacted some revenge for a loss to the Bears a year earlier by recording an 18-17 victory.
Lamar played well in its first game against an FBS-level opponent, Louisiana Tech, last week in Ruston. The Cardinals dropped a 27-14 decision to the hometown team but Lamar had the ball, down by only six and was driving late in the game. LU did a good job of cutting down miscues, but a few mistakes came back to haunt the Cardinals in the end.
Lamar had a first-half pass intercepted in the end zone, while their hopes of an upset ended late in the fourth on a fumble deep in Tech territory - a fumble Louisiana Tech recovered and eventually drove down the field for the game's final score. Following a questionable no-call that erased an LU touchdown, Lamar took a sack and was then flagged for a penalty knocking them out of field goal range. Louisiana Tech also cashed in on a 17-yard from the Lamar end zone, taking back a seven-point lead just two plays later.
"I was pleased with our effort on the field," said Woodard following the game in Ruston. "We were able to cut down our mistakes, but the few mistakes we made were crucial in the outcome. We gave Louisiana Tech some opportunities on the field, and that just can't happen. I was disappointed with the overall outcome, but we will be a better team for having played that game."
Despite the outcome in Ruston, the Cardinals remain one of the league's most proficient offenses. Lamar currently ranks first in the conference in total offense averaging just under 489 yards per game, including a league-best 369 through the air.
The LU defense is nothing to scoff at either. In the first two games the Cardinals are holding opponents to a conference-best 13.5 points per game and rank among the Southland leaders in pass defense efficiency (93.9/2nd), total defense (309.5 ypg/3rd) and pass defense (108.0 ypg).
History is on Lamar's side entering Saturday's contest against the Cowboys. LU has never lost a game against a team from Oklahoma going a perfect 8-0, a record that includes a season-opening victory against Oklahoma Panhandle State.