Woodard sees improvement in Baylor game as SHSU looms

Published 6:04 pm Monday, September 14, 2015

BEAUMONT — All Lamar coach Ray Woodard looked for was improvement in his football team.

In a 66-31 televised loss at Baylor, he found it. To him, it was just a matter of separating the fact Lamar played the College Football Playoff contender from playing a second game on the schedule.

“You’ve got to look at it and withdraw Baylor from game 2 and look at what you did as a team and what you have to improve on for game 3,” Woodard said. “When you’re doing that, you’ve got to almost, for a little while, look at the game 3 opponent in one breadth.”

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Woodard and the Cardinals (1-1) now have all week to concern themselves with the Football Championship Subdivision’s now-former No. 1 team, according to STATS.

Sam Houston State (0-1), now No. 3 in the STATS Top 25 Poll, was off this past weekend after taking its own Big 12 licking from Texas Tech, 59-45.

Woodard doesn’t expect the Cardinals to catch the Bearkats, who’ve won or shared four of the past five Southland championships, sleeping.

“A, they’ll be rested,” Woodard said. “B, they’ll be very prepared and very confident. They’re coming off a season with a lot of guys back who’ve won and they can win


“Watching them play, they deserve to be ranked as high as they are.”

Lamar even earned 12 voting points in the STATS poll, good enough for 37th place. Jacksonville State of Alabama leapfrogged to No. 1 from No. 5 after taking Auburn to overtime. The poll is formerly organized by The Sports Network, which was purchased earlier this year by STATS LLC.

It’s proof that, in more than just Woodard’s eyes, the Cardinals did some good things in Waco.

“We created field position off turnovers for our offense,” the coach said. “We put points on the board after turnovers. Special teams, I thought, was a good special teams performance. All those things, we can build on.”

The Cardinals led 14-13 with 10:37 left in the second quarter on the strength of two Kade Harrington rushing touchdowns and were tied with the Bears at 21-all with 4:57 remaining. Quarterbacks Carson Earp and Joe Minden combined to throw 18 of 31 for 167 yards with an interception, and Woodard isn’t ready to roll with just one over the other in Huntsville this Saturday.

“It’s really not even a quarterback controversy,” he said. “We’ve got two guys that are doing different things to help us move the football, so we’re probably going to play two guys.

“I don’t think I ever had two guys who I was high on pretty equally after two games.”

Woodard did see weaknesses from the Baylor game, namely penalty yards allowed and the inability to sustain drives on third downs. Baylor moved the chains 39 times to Lamar’s 19.

Sam Houston garnered 34 first downs to Texas Tech’s 29, rushing for 317 rushing yards in the process. Senior Donovan Williams rushed for 99 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Bearkats.

“I don’t want to take anything away from what we did,” he said. “I want to add to it. I thought, out of all of it, the thing we did the most was we improved from week 1 to week 2, and we have to see that improvement by Saturday if we’re going to have a snowball’s chance over there.”


Weekly awards

Reggie Begelton’s record-setting career was missing one thing — a weekly conference-wide award.

The senior Beaumont West Brook graduate reached the 2,000-yard mark in receiving yards against Baylor, getting 96 yards on 10 catches. That earned him College Sports Madness’ Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Week award, it was announced Sunday evening.

The conference itself announced Harrington as its own Offensive Player of the Week on Monday. Harrington was awarded for his two touchdowns and 54 yards on 15 carries.

Begelton now has 2,023 career yards, 76 away from surpassing the school record set by Ronnie Gebauer from 1967-70.

Harrington gave Lamar its first two touchdowns against a Big 12 opponent in three tries. He ranks seventh all-time at Lamar with 2,325 career all-purpose yards. And fifth all-time with 1,724 rushing yards.


About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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