ABILENE, Texas - McMurry University and Incarnate Word will be meeting for just the second time on the football field on Saturday. Kickoff at Wilford Moore Stadium is slated for 2 p.m.
The only previous meeting was won by the War Hawks on October 20, 2012 in San Antonio, by a 28-20 score.
Incarnate Word is in its first season as an NCAA Division I FCS program, transitioning from NCAA II and the Lone Star Conference after last season. The Cardinals are currently 4-4 on the year, with wins over Texas College, Langston, Eastern New Mexico and Houston Baptist. UIW has dropped games to tough foes like Central Arkansas, Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana and Abilene Christian.
After starting out its season with losses to a pair of NCAA I FCS foes and to one LSC team, McMurry was finally able to hand head coach Mason Miller his first collegiate coaching victory on September 28, with its 53-27 win over Oklahoma Panhandle State. Since then, McM has lost four-consecutive games to Lone Star Conference teams: a Homecoming loss to Angelo State, at No. 25 Midwestern State, at TAMU-Commerce and a home setback to No. 9/16 West Texas A&M.
The McMurry offense has been humming to the tune of nearly 487 yards per game in 2013.
The only common opponent between UIW and McM this season has been Abilene Christian University. ACU topped the War Hawks, 60-17, in the season opener and also defeated the Cardinals, 40-6, two weeks ago.
Last week, the UIW defeated Houston Baptist, 24-3, and upped its record to 4-0 at home. The Cardinals’ defense clamped down on HBU by permitting just 45 rushing yards and 220 yards of offense, overall.
For the second week in a row, McMurry University’s football team got into an old fashioned shoot-out, this time with nationally-ranked West Texas A&M University. The result was a 90-57 defeat in a game that not only featured 147 combined points, but also 1,401 yards of total offense.
The contest was not for the faint of heart. Despite trailing most of the game, the young War Hawks never seemed intimidated by the perennially-strong Buffaloes’ squad. The 57 points scored and 708 yards of offense by McMurry was the most WTAMU has permitted to an opponent this season.
Freshman QB Gabe Rodriguez tossed five more touchdown passes versus WTAMU (one to Jeret Smith, pictured at right), giving him 27 TD aerials on the year. That surpassed the previous McM season record for TD passes by a freshman, eclipsing the 25 thrown by Jake Mullin back in 2009.
“(Incarnate Word) is a much improved football team from where they were last year,” McM head coach Mason Miller said. “They’re a .500 ball club and they’ve played some good opponents. They’re beginning their transition into the Southland Conference. They are competing and doing a good job.
“What I’d like to see out of our defense this week is to be more aggressive; don’t look at the scoreboard. Compete as hard as you can and don’t worry about anything else. That’s the goal this week.”