Lamar looking for first SLC win at Incarnate Word

Published 9:52 am Friday, October 13, 2017

LU Travels to Face League’s Other Cardinals


BEAUMONT, Texas – When the Lamar University Cardinals step on the field Saturday to take on Incarnate Word, it will not only be a matchup of two Southland schools who share the same nickname, but a contest between two programs headed in the same direction.

Both LU (1-4/0-3 SLC) and Incarnate Word (0-5/0-3 SLC) enter the week looking for their first Southland victory of the season. Incarnate Word heads into the week six showdown still looking for its first overall win of the year. The two teams are currently in a three-way tie for ninth in the Southland standings with Houston Baptist.

Big Red has a small advantage of having an extra week to prepare for the Saturday’s game coming off its open weekend. The Red and White are coming off a 41-14 setback against Nicholls back on Sept 30th, a game that saw the Cards get stung by turnovers and struggled to stop the run.

“The off week has been nice for us because it came at a really good time,” said LU head coach Mike Schultz. “We had some guys that were a little banged up and the extra time off has helped us in their recovery.”

UIW traveled to Hammond, La. last week and put 30 points on the board against Southeastern Louisiana, but was unable to stop the Lions’ offense. The Lions scored 49 points while racking 564 yards of total offense (353 yards on the ground).

Saturday’s game presents an interesting matchup defensively. LU has struggled to stop the run this season surrendering 283.4 yards per game on the ground, while Incarnate Word is last in the league in pass defense (327 ypg). The flip side of that is UIW has struggled to find consistency with its ground attack averaging fewer than 72 rush yards per contest.

The defensive side of the ball has been a struggle for UIW all season. Incarnate Word enters the week ranked last in the league in scoring defense, total defense and pass defense.

“I don’t think UIW’s record is indicative of how talented of a team they really are,” said Schultz. “They are a well-coached team, and Coach (Larry) Kennan’s teams always play hard. They’ve had some things happen for them that if the ball bounced the other way they wouldn’t be in the position they are.

“We’re going to have to go there and play some very disciplined football. I’ve said this before, the formula doesn’t change for us. We have to play hard in all three phases of the game. Offensively, we absolutely have to take care of the football and defensively we have to maintain gap integrity and stop the run,” added Schultz.

Also playing in LU’s favor has been its ability to cut down on the penalties from the first three weeks of the season. After struggling with penalties in the early part of the year, the Cardinals have brought that number down in each of the past two games. After being flagged 15 times in a one-score loss at Northwestern State, the Cardinals have watched the penalties drop significantly. Big Red was penalized just six times for 52 yards at Southeastern Louisiana – nine fewer than the previous week. The Cardinals were flagged just four times in the setback to Nicholls. The Red and White averaged better than nine penalties per game in the three games prior to the SLU trip.

Saturday’s contest will be just the fifth meeting between the two teams in series history, with Big Red holding a 3-1 (.750) overall record. That mark includes a 1-0 record in San Antonio, although UIW is coming off a seven-point victory, 35-28, in Beaumont last season. The last time the two teams met in San Antonio, LU took advantage of a pick six from 2017 NFL Draft selection Brendan Langley to break open a defensive struggle. The Cardinals built a two-touchdown lead and left San Antonio with a 28-21 victory.


Saturday’s game is slated to kick off at 6 p.m. from Benson Stadium. It can be heard live on Newstalk 560 KLVI.