PRUETT COLUMN: Here’s why the Cards struggle
Nobody has said it yet, but everyone around has been thinking it.
The fact of the matter is this — Lamar is just not a good football team right now.
Lamar is 0-3 and has faced only ranked teams so far this year in Coastal Carolina (previously ranked No. 16 in FCS), Houston (No. 6 in FBS) and Sam Houston State (currently ranked No. 3 in FCS).
There is something that very optimistic Lamar fans could hang their hats on, but if you look closer, the fact remains the Cardinals are struggling on every level.
Let us take a look at some first half stats against the Bearkats from Saturday night.
Andrew Allen, who got the start over struggling Carson Earp, had thrown for 55 yards on 11-of-20 passing. All-American Kade Harrington was held to 38 yards on 16 carries for an average of 1.6 yards per carry.
Harrington’s low production comes from the fact no team right now is even remotely concerned with stopping Lamar’s passing attack, which is almost nonexistent.
Lamar had 80 yards of offense in the first half on 42 plays. Let me do the math for you: That is 1.9 yards per play.
Flip to the defense, and there is another problem on hand for the Cardinals. Lamar cannot stop anybody.
The Bearkats had 30 points and 20 first downs in the first half alone. SHSU had gained 370 yards on 40 plays, an average of 9.3 yards a play.
See the difference?
This Lamar team was picked in preseason polls to finish fourth in the Southland Conference.
And now the Cardinals are on their second quarterback already this year. If the pace isn’t picked up in the passing game soon, Port Neches-Groves graduate Adam Morse might be on the field quicker than he ever thought he would be.
Lamar came back to make a game of it in the second half against SHSU and eventually fell to the Bearkats 44-31.
Remember, scores can be misleading. Fans have seen what the struggles are with this team and they need to be corrected soon if the Cardinals are going to still contend for a SLC championship.
Lamar did finish with 405 yards and picked up the average to 5.1 yards per play. The Cardinals defense gave up 598 yards of offense to SHSU who averaged 7.2 yards per play. SHSU held Harrington in total to 89 yards on 25 carries and without a touchdown. Allen finished with 178 yards on 19-of-36 passing with two touchdowns.
The talent is there and the coaching is there. The pieces have just not come together yet this year.
If anything positive can be taken from Saturday’s loss to SHSU, it is the fact Lamar did not quit in the second half and actually made the Bearkats work for the win.
The team could have easily rolled over and died but they didn’t.
Maybe if the offensive and defensive woes get fixed, the conference title dreams won’t be dead before too long either.
Gabriel Pruett: 721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe
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