The Game: After two home games the East Central University football team will be hitting the road for a game at Southwestern Oklahoma State, Saturday, Oct. 26. The game at Fast Lane Field in Weatherford, Okla., is set to start at 6 p.m. and is the Homecoming game for the Bulldogs.
The Broadcast: ECU’s radio home for Tiger football in 2013 is Ada’s KXFC, 105.5, FM ‘The X-Factor’. Mike Manos returns to broadcast the games for his 17th consecutive season. Manos has worked 174 Tiger games since taking over the play-by-play duties in 1997.
The Coverage: Fans who can’t be at the game can find links to live stats, live video and the KXFC radio broadcast on ECUTigers.com. Go to the football schedule page. You can also download the KXFC radio app for your smartphone by searching ‘105.5 the X Factor.’
Coaches Show: Every Monday night fans are encouraged to come to Rib Crib in Ada for the weekly Coaches Show on 105.5 the X-Factor. Each week coaches from all 13 sports will be on hand to talk about the latest news from their teams. Fans will be able to tweet in questions to @ECUTigersCoach or ask them in person. Each week will feature different coaches and food specials.
Tailgating: This year the Tigers will have a designated tailgating location in the parking lot in front of the ECU baseball and softball fields. A reservation is required and can be done through Katie Wellington in the ECU Alumni Office (580-559-5651) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scouting Southwestern: The Bulldogs are 4-3 on the season and like ECU have only played GAC opponents. The last outing for SWOSU was a 37-27 win at Southeastern Oklahoma State.
The Bulldogs split their offense between rushing and passing pretty evenly, with a slight advantage towards the pass. SWOSU has 1,020 yards rushing and 1,698 yards passing on the season, but there is a key difference in touchdowns scored, with 17 on the pass and five rushing. While they are close in offensive stats, they are much stronger defending against the rush this season. The Bulldogs have allowed just 855 yards rushing and 1,968 yards passing. With the difference they are close with their opponents in total yardage at 2,718 to 2,823.
SWOSU has three players with over 200 yards rushing, with D.C. Walker leading the trio with 463 yards on 124 carries and one TD. Quarterback Dustin Stenta has added 247 yards on the rush and scored twice.
Stenta has played in all seven games this season at quarterback and is 123-of-225, with seven interceptions and 16 TD’s. He has four receivers with over 200 yards, but Ryan Corbin is his favorite target. Corbin has 575 yards on 44 catches. He has been in the end zone four times and averages 82.1 yards per game. Brad Smithey is the next target on the list with 33 catches for 358 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, the Bulldogs are led by Ryan Feller and Cliff Nyagesiba. Feller has 64 (21-43) total tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, one pass breakup and one fumble recovery. Nyagesiba adds 47(21-26) total tackles, 3.5 TFL, one sack, two quarterback hurries and three pass breakups.
The Series: Saturday’s game will be the 91st meeting between the two teams, which includes a span of 86-straight seasons (expect 1942-45 when football was not played due to World War II). The Tigers currently own a 47-41-2 advantage in the series. The teams have played each other as members of the NCAA DII on 16 of the 90 previous occasions, with the Tigers holding a 10-6 lead.
Against the Bulldogs: ECU dropped a 10-13 decision at Fast Lane Field to SWOSU in 2012.
The Tigers were trailing 0-13 late in the second quarter before earning the final 10 points of the game, but were unable to overcome the deficit as both teams stepped up on defense.
Offensive execution and penalties became keys to the game, with ECU trailing in both categories. The Bulldogs ended the game with 128 rushing yards and 208 passing yards to the Tigers’ 16 rushing and 135 passing yards. ECU was also penalized 11 times for 86 yards to SWOSU’s seven penalties (76 yards).
Night for the Record Books: ECU senior Caleb Holley was been named the GAC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts against Northwestern Oklahoma State (Oct. 19).
Holley set an ECU record for receiving yards in a single game with 224. He had 212 at the half and had already broken the school record, set in 1969, of 183 by Dave Davis. He also tied the single game record for receiving touchdowns with three. In the first half, he helped the Tigers to 552 total yards, 418 receiving. He caught a 54-yard touchdown to start the second quarter.
Key Offensive Performance: The Tigers had their best offensive performance of the season against Northwestern (Oct. 19), with 599 yards of total offense, 405 passing and 194 rushing. It marked the fourth-straight week that ECU was above 400 yards of total offense, dating back to the Ouachita Baptist game (423). The Tigers added 418 yards against Henderson State, and 491 against Southern Nazarene.
Getting in the Red Zone: The Tigers have been very strong in the red zone this season, scoring 22 of the 23 times they have made it past the 20-yard line. The 96% mark ranked then No. 3 in the nation in the category. ECU has scored 17 TDs (71%) and five field goals when making it into the red zone and also held their opponents to a 19-of-26 (73%) mark, with 16 touchdowns and three field goals.
Turituri Turning Up Pressure: Junior JuJu Turituri turned up the pressure on the opposition in his last outing. Turituri tallied three tackles-for-loss, doubling his season totals. He also added two sacks, which brought his season total to three.
Long Arm of Gaines: Gaines has had his hands in the faces and paths of the opponent’s offensives this season. The Fresno, Calif., native had three pass break ups and eight total tackles, including one for loss, in the game against Ouachita Baptist. He now has season totals to 30 tackles, six passes defended, four pass break ups and two interceptions.
All-Around Bond: Sophomore Spencer Bond took control of both the running and passing aspects of the game against Ouachita Baptist, leading the Tigers in rushing and passing. Bond had a passing TD and a rushing TD in the game and ran for a team-high 150 yards. He then added a career-best 406 yards of total offense at No. 8 Henderson State. For the season he has a 144.1 passing efficiency, 1,660 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and 1,924 yards of total offense.
Penalty Woes: Penalties have been a key point for ECU so far this season, with two losses coming when they recorded more penalties than their opponents. This was evident in the loss to Ouachita Baptist when the Tigers committed 13 penalties for 124 yards. As a team, ECU is averaging 85.2 yards in penalties per game in 2013.
Special Teams Power: In the Tigers game at Southern Arkansas special teams led the way. ECU scored a safety and a touchdown on a kickoff return. Senior LaQuan Harper tallied a total of 111 yards for the night on kickoff returns, including a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Fellow senior Ruben Tiller added two more points for special teams, with a safety on a point after attempt return in the fourth quarter.
Defense Producing Offense: Junior Qumain Black had an outstanding first game of the season for the Tigers and was named the GAC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
Black intercepted a pair of passes against Arkansas-Monticello. He returned the second interception 80 yards for the final touchdown of the game. In the first quarter, he returned his first interception 58 yards to the five-yard line that led to the second touchdown of the game. He also added a 40-yard kick return to finish with 178 all-purpose yards.
Todd’s Turn: Last season Justin Todd was behind Titus Mobley on the depth chart. This year he may be behind JoJo Snell, but he has already made a spot for himself on the field. In the first game of the year, Todd doubled the number of touchdowns he had scored in his career and recorded more yards than he had in 2012 combined. Todd had eight rushes for 97 yards (85 yards in 2012) and tallied two touchdowns (1 TD in 2011) all in the first half.
The JoJo Express: Junior transfer JoJo Snell had an impressive first game for the Tigers and accomplished it all in the first half of action. Snell exploded out of the pack for 101 rushing yards and 11 receiving yards. Snell averaged 6.3 yards per rush and had long runs of 45 yards, while scoring a TD.
New Season; New Field: Besides the new faces on the field, the team will be competing on a new surface, as the natural grass that had been at Norris Field for over 80 years was replaced with turf by the FieldTurf Company. The $880,300 facelift was completed in late April.
Gaines Garnering Pre-Season Honors: Senior Fred Gaines claimed three 2013 pre-season honors. Gaines was named to the 2013 D2Football.com Pre-Season All-America Second Team, the 2013 USA College Football Pre-Season Division II All-America First Team and the 2013 Beyond Sports Network Pre-Season All-America Second Team. He had a strong junior season for the Tigers in 2012. The safety was a 2012 Daktronics Super Region #3 Second Team Defensive selection after leading the Tigers and the Great American Conference with seven interceptions, for 80 yards. He also added 63 (46-17) tackles and three pass break-ups in 2012.
Gaines was also honored as an All-GAC First Team Selection as a safety in 2012. The Fresno, Calif., native is one of nine players from the GAC honored by Beyond Sports Network.
Black Gaining Attention: Junior Qumain Black was named to the 2013 USA College Football Pre-Season Division II All-America honorable mention team. Black was also a strong defensive presence for ECU as a sophomore in 2012. The All-GAC Honorable Mention tallied 51 total tackles (30-21), two tackles-for-loss, five pass breakups and two forced fumbles. One on his forced fumbles resulted in a recovery and touchdown for 35 yards. The defensive back also added three interceptions for 29 yards and returned six kickoffs for 119 yards.
Offensive Consistency: The 2012 version of the ECU offense struggled to find consistency early in the season, but over the last three games emerged as a strong force. The good news for the Tigers is that eight of the offensive starters from a year ago are returning, including sophomore quarterback Spencer Bond.
Bond earned the starting quarterback position four games into the 2012 season and made the most of his new spot. He went 94-189-10 in passing, with eight touchdowns. Bond also added seven rushing touchdowns and rushed 86 times for 340 yards.
From the Playing Field to Coaching: The majority of the ECU coaching staff consists of familiar names for Tiger football fans. Seven of the current coaches were members of the ECU football program as collegiate athletes. Rashad Jackson, Chad Roark, Josh Phillips, Chris Espinoza, Brian Gonzalez, Dustin Lasell and Tyler McGrew have all worn an orange and black uniform before moving to a leadership role.
Seeking Winning Season Consistency: For the past two seasons the Tigers have had winning seasons, with an 8-3 mark in 2011 and a 6-5 record in 2012. It is the first time since 2000-01 that the Tigers have had back-to-back winning seasons (6-5/6-4). A winning season in 2013 would mark the first time since 1991-93 that ECU had three-straight winning seasons. In 1991 the Tigers went 5-4-1, 1992 was 6-3 and 1993, the National Championship season, had a 10-3 record.
Up Next: The Tigers will return home for their final home game of the 2013 season, Nov. 2 when they host Arkansas Tech at 2 p.m. The game is Chickasaw Appreciate Day, where Chickasaw Nation members and employees receive free admission. It is also the annual Senior Day where ECU will honors its 18 seniors.