MURRELL COLUMN: With respect comes history

Published 12:41 am Friday, September 25, 2015

Lamar 49, No. 3 Sam Houston State 46. Let’s rank the Cardinals, shall we?

We wish.

Without being a homer, it should be academic Lamar gets a top-25 … really, a top-20, vote in either of the two major Football Championship Subdivision polls. It just shows, really, how little voters know about Lamar.

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They don’t know Kade Harrington ranks ninth in total rushing yards in the country and is second overall in rushing touchdowns. They don’t know Carson Earp’s 162.1 pass efficiency rating ranks ninth. They don’t know Lamar slowed down — because who can really stop it? — Sam Houston’s second-ranked offense nationally at 598.5 yards per game.

Quite honestly, I didn’t know it until I looked it all up. But to voters, it doesn’t matter.

It should, though. The statistics add up to all the style points they look for. Yet, it’s so much quicker to just look at the stats that matter: What the visiting team scored and what the home team scored.

How much more impressive can 49-46 at Sam Houston get?

OK, it could’ve been more. Lamar was up 35-14 at halftime and committed some costly fourth-quarter penalties.

I was there. The voters weren’t. Sadly, I’m not a voter. I have my own stripes to earn in Southland circles after a run in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Still, the bottom line is that Lamar isn’t quite a household name across the country. And recent history is to blame for that. It’s also blamed for the Cardinals not getting enough respect.

When a team has gone 5-6, 4-7, 4-8, 5-7 and 8-4 in the years since rebooting the football program and defeated only one ranked opponent during that time, Lamar isn’t quite going to be on the radar of FCS followers. It sure as heck doesn’t mean Ray Woodard hadn’t done things right all that time.

But something should have been said for Lamar leading Baylor late in the first half on the road and matching the speed and power of a Southland Conference power — also on the road.

Something should been said for beating the No. 3 team in the nation in one of the two toughest conferences in the FCS. It wasn’t like Lamar was 4-6 limping into a meaningless season finale.

Some voters knew. That’s how Lamar got even close to breaking the STATS FCS Top 25.

Others didn’t. That’s how loudly [recent] history speaks.

It’s not fair, but the good news is, without being a homer about it, these Cardinals can rewrite history.

Rarely do I publicly boast or defend anything I do regarding my duties, but I do like to stay in touch and be accountable. It’s only been eight weeks, though, since I came to town and seven weeks since I’ve been on the job, running head-first into football season, and I’ve made my mistakes along the way. Successful people do.

Some elements from sections of years past, though, I’ve been able to carry over or bring back. And there are some more I’m lobbying for, if not planning to, bring back. I realize the expectations of long-time readers as well as the challenges of the present and future, not that it’s possible to please everyone.

Here’s one element I do ask for your help with:

As great as football, basketball, baseball and softball are, and we do place plenty of emphasis on these sports, I really desire to cover more. If you know of a non-major sports team or an athlete or athletes on such teams who are exceling, please drop me a line. We also extend the invitation to every coach to do the same.

Gabriel Pruett and I go wherever we can to cover you and your communities. But everyone — athletes, coaches, parents and fans — can play a part in covering (or uncovering) our sports community. There’s no better formula.

I.C. Murrell can be reached at On Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

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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