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This Week In WAC Football - Sept. 19

This Week In WAC Football - Sept. 19
 

THREE TEAMS TIED AT 2-1 AFTER SEASON’S THIRD WEEK

Abilene Christian became the final WAC team to register a loss during the 2022 campaign, dropping a competitive effort at SEC foe Missouri on Sept. 17 to fall to 2-1. Southern Utah joined the Wildcats at 2-1 with a 17-10 win at Western Illinois, while Tarleton also moved to 2-1 with a dominant 41-6 showing against Eastern New Mexico.
 

SUU REFUSED TO BACK DOWN ON THE ROAD IN ILLINOIS

After leading for the majority of the contest on Sept. 17 at Western Illinois, Southern Utah took the best punch from the Leathernecks in the form of a tying touchdown with 54 seconds remaining to level the score at 10-10. The Thunderbirds had fireworks of their own planned for the next offensive possession.
 
On the second play of the drive, SUU quarterback Justin Miller looked to his left down the far sideline and found a gliding Isaiah Wooden in stride for the game-winning 73-yard touchdown pass and a 17-10 victory. It was the longest scoring play through the air for the Thunderbirds since Miller found Brandon Schenks for a matching 73-yard touchdown toss in a 34-24 SUU win at Cal Poly on March 13, 2021.
 
Defensive lineman Zach Strand led a solid defensive performance for SUU with 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery in the win at Western Illinois. 
 

TARLETON IMPRESSIVE IN HOME ROUT OF EASTERN NEW MEXICO

Tarleton looked to be in midseason form at home in a Saturday night showdown with Eastern New Mexico on Sept. 17, building a 24-3 lead at the half before coasting to a 41-6 win in Stephenville. The Texans outgained Eastern New Mexico 473-113 in total offense and held the visitors to just 1.7 yards per play while forcing three turnovers.
 
Tarleton quarterback Beau Allen established a career high with 312 passing yards and added two passing touchdowns, gaining an additional 18 rushing yards to go along with a 6-yard score on the ground. Wide receiver Jaden Smith snagged seven Allen passes for 129 yards and an impressive 7-yard touchdown for the Texans.
 

SAM HOUSTON ADDS A CHECKMARK TO THE WIN COLUMN

Following a challenging opening two weeks on the schedule to start the 2022 season for Sam Houston, the Bearkats broke through with win number one thanks to a 27-17 victory over Texas A&M-Commerce on Sept. 17.
 
Sam Houston rushed for 246 yards as a team, earning a combined 5.2 yards per tote as a squad on 47 attempts. Zach Hrbacek led the potent Bearkat attack with his first career 100-yard rushing performance, netting 131 yards on just 19 attempts (6.9 YPC) and a 7-yard insurance touchdown in the fourth quarter. Sam Houston quarterback Jordan Yates ran for 61 yards and a spectacular 6-yard score in the second quarter that saw the Bearkat signal caller flip his way into the end zone.
 

ANOTHER 100-YARD RECEIVING PERFORMANCE FROM HOBERT

Wide receiver Joey Hobert from Utah Tech turned in his third straight 100-yard receiving outing to open the 2022 season, gaining 114 yards on nine catches with a touchdown at No. 12/13 Weber State on Sept. 17. The WAC record for most consecutive 100-yard receiving games (seven) was established by San Diego State’s Patrick Rowe in 1990, and Hawai’i’s Greg Salas set the conference watermark with 10 total 100-yard showings during the 2010 season.
 

TEAMS FROM THE WAC RATED HIGHLY IN THE NATIONAL STATISTICS RANKINGS

As of the latest NCAA FCS football national statistics report that was released on Sept. 17, Southern Utah is one of 26 teams yet to lose a fumble and have taken away six fumbles on defense to rank first nationally in both categories, with the team’s 11 total takeaways second in the country. Southern Utah was also fourth in net punting (43.14). SFA ranked second nationally in net punting (43.44). 
 
Southern Utah’s Zach Strand joined eight other players tied for the FCS lead with two fumble recoveries, while teammate Jake Gerardi remained the national punting leader with an average of 48.4 yards per boot. Isaiah Wooden’s 28.25 yards per reception ranked fourth to round out the Thunderbird players in the top five.