Buffs Battle Rival Texans Saturday at AT&T Stadium

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WT Football Walk-on Setting Career Records_-108063482004878538

 Fresh off its upset of then-No. 2 Colorado State-Pueblo, the West Texas A&M football team heads to the Lone Star Football Festival Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in AT&T Stadium against conference rival Tarleton State.  The Buffs are 1-1 on the year, while Tarleton State is 0-1. 

THE SERIES – WT leads the all-time series 13-11, but Tarleton State has won the last two meetings by the same score of 31-27, including the meeting in Canyon last season.  TSU outscored WT 21-17 in the second half of the meeting last season as the teams were tied 10-10 at intermission.  WT held a 20-17 lead entering the fourth quarter.  TSU also erased a 27-3 halftime deficit in 2013 in Stephenville, outscoring WT 28-0 in the second half for the win that season.  Prior to that, WT had won eight-straight in the series.

JACK FM – This season marks the second year with radio partner in Townsquare Media and 98.7 KPRF “Jack FM.”  With the partnership, the Buffs have the opportunity to put more sports on the air along with football and basketball.  Select volleyball, baseball and softball games also will be broadcast in 2015-16.  Neil Horn and Brice Sheets are still calling the action of every home-and-away football game for the Buffs this season.

COACHES’ SHOW RETURNING TO BUFFALO WILD WINGS – The 2015 WT Football Coaches’ Show with head coach Mike Nesbitt and Brice Sheets returns to Buffalo Wild Wings on Coulter in Amarillo this year.  The show will be Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. throughout the season with live giveaways, prizes and more!  The show will be broadcast on 98.7 KPRF Jack FM each week.

HOW TO CATCH THE GAME – Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and links to live stats and radio streaming are on the football schedule page at www.gobuffsgo.com.  The game will not have streaming video. 

A WIN OVER TARLETON STATE WOULD:
·         Give WT a 2-1 record on the year and a 1-0 mark in the Lone Star Conference
·         Give WT a 14-11 record in the series, snapping a two-game skid against Tarleton State
·         Would be the sixth-straight year WT has opened Lone Star Conference play with a victory
·         Be the 497th win in program history (496-492-22)
·         Would be the first win against Tarleton State for Coach Nesbitt
·         Give WT a 5-0 record in the five-year history of the LSC Football Festival

ON THIS DAY – WT is 3-5 all-time on Sept. 19 dating back to 1946.  The Buffs last played on Sept. 19 in 2009 as they won 41-15 at Southwestern Oklahoma State.  This is the first game on Sept. 19 played at a neutral site.  The Buffs first played on Sept. 19 in 1953 at Texas Tech.  The first win on this date came in 1981 in a 21-17 win at UNLV.  WT is 1-1 at home and 2-4 on this date.

THE COACHES – West Texas A&M head coach Mike Nesbitt begins his third season at the helm of the program as he took over Aug. 21, 2013.  Nesbitt was the interim head coach all of 2013 and was elevated to head coach in December following that season.  He is 17-9 in his career as a head coach.  Tarleton State head coach Cary Fowler is in his sixth season at the helm of the Texans.  Fowler guided the Texans to a share of the LSC crown, which was the school’s third and Fowler’s first, in 2013 with a 7-3 record overall and went 5-5 last season.

RECAPPING LAST WEEK – The Buffs had another quick start, building a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and saw defending national champion and No. 2-ranked Colorado State-Pueblo roar back building a 17-14 lead at intermission and holding a 24-14 lead in the third quarter.  The Buffs returned the favor and outscored CSUP 17-6 the rest of the way, stopping the Thunderwolves from a go-ahead two-point conversion in the final two minutes of the game for the 31-30 upset win.  WT held CSUP to just 98 yards passing and a 341-271 lead in total offense.  Senior running back Geremy Alridge-Mitchell had another stellar performance with 105 yards on the ground and three touchdowns, while catching four passes for 37 yards and one touchdown.  It was Alridge-Mitchell’s 12th career game of over 100 yards and 11th-straight dating back to Sept. 20, 2014.  Defensively, the Buffs forced CSUP into six turnovers and four interceptions.  Sophomore safety Hunter Streuling had two key interceptions in the first half.  Backup sophomore Ethan Brinkley went 28 of 43 passing for 207 yards a touchdown and two interceptions in his first action of his WT career.  Brinkley came in for senior Preston Rabb in the first half.

STREULING AND ALRIDGE-MITCHELL TABBED WEEKLY BEST – Senior Geremy Alridge-Mitchell and sophomore Hunter Streuling were named LSC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, this week after their performances against CSUP.  It was Alridge-Mitchell’s second weekly honor of his career and first as offensive as he was special teams POW last year.  It was Streuling’s first weekly accolade.

CAREER WATCH WITH GEREMY – Senior Geremy Alridge-Mitchell moved into sixth all-time in career scoring with 242 points.  Alridge-Mitchell began the season with 206 career points.  He moved into eighth all-time in school history in career rushing yards with 2,307.  He needs 70 yards on Saturday to move into seventh all-time surpassing Duane Thomas’ record of 2,376.  Alridge-Mitchell’s 242 career points ranks him sixth and he needs 10 points to tie Eugene Morris for fifth all-time.

RABB INCHING CLOSER – Senior quarterback Preston Rabb is closing in on the top 10 all-time in career passing yards.  In his first season passing, Rabb threw for 2,912 yards and tossed 19 touchdowns as a junior in 2014.  He opened the season with 131 yards passing and a touchdown against Azusa Pacific Sept 3.  Rabb now needs just 431 yards to break into the top 10 all-time in career passing yards at WT.  Hank Washington (1965-66) sits 10th all-time with 3,510, while Rabb has 3,079 career passing yards.

STREULING SOARING – Sophomore safety Hunter Streuling had two acrobatic interceptions against CSUP last week.  He stopped two potential scoring situations as he leaped in the air at the WT three yard line for his second interception.  It was his second game of two INTs in his career (TAMUK, 2014).  Streuling is tied for first on the team in INTs this season with two and has five for his career.

STRONG FOOTED PARRA – Junior punter Felipe Parra has gotten off to a great start this season as he has 17 punts for 692 yards for a 40.7 average.  He has hit a long of 57 and has two touchbacks, two fair catches, four punts inside the 20 and two over 50 yards.  Against CSU-Pueblo last week, Parra averaged 38.7 yards net punting.  As a team, the Buffs are 53rd nationally in net punting at 35.65 per punt which is third in the LSC.  Parra is 31st and second in the LSC with his 40.7 average.

ALRIDGE-MITCHELL FIRST IN THE NATION – Senior Geremy Alridge-Mitchell leads the nation in scoring averaging 18.0 points per game.  He has 36 points on the year scoring six touchdowns, five rushing and one receiving.

INSIDE THE LSC FOOTBALL FESTIVAL – The Buffs are a perfect 4-0 in the LSC Football Festival in its four-year history.  The Buffs are the only undefeated team in the LSC Football Festival who have played all four years.  Tarleton State is 1-2 in the festival playing in 2012, 2013 and 2014.  TSU lost to Florida Tech last season 37-31, while defeating a ranked Midwestern State team 27-24 in 2013 and losing to a ranked Abilene Christian team in 2012.  WT won the first two games in the festival in 2011 and 2012 against Texas A&M-Kingsville upsetting the ranked Javelinas both times.  WT won 42-21 in 2011 and 40-10 in 2012.  In 2013, the Buffs battled back from a 24-6 halftime deficit for a thrilling 34-31 win over a ranked Chadron State team on national television.  Last season, WT also had to come from behind in a 27-19 victory over Shorter (Ga.) as the Buffs were down 19-7 at halftime.  WT has outscored its opposition 143-81 in the four games at AT&T Stadium.

ABOUT THE BUFFS – Quick starts have been the theme for the West Texas A&M football team two games into the 2015 season.  WT has outscored its opposition 28-7 in the first quarter and held a 21-0 lead in the opener against then No. 19 Azusa Pacific and a 14-0 lead over then-No. 2 Colorado State-Pueblo last week.  The opposition has outscored WT 20-7 in the second quarter and 20-10 in the fourth quarter, but the Buffs are 1-1 on the year.  This season, the team has been led by senior running back Geremy Alridge Mitchell who leads the team in rushing with 222 yards on 47 carries and five rushing touchdowns.  He is averaging 111.0 yards per game and has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in both games this season and 11-straight games dating back to Sept. 20, 2014.  He also has 10 catches for 48 yards and a touchdown.  Alridge-Mitchell leads the team with 357 all-purpose yards for a 178.5 average per game.  WT has used two quarterbacks this season as senior Preston Rabb is 30 of 53 with one interception for 167 yards and one touchdown, while sophomore Ethan Brinkley is 28 of 43 for 207 yards one touchdown and two interceptions.  Brinkley entered the game against CSUP early on and led the Buffs to the upset victory as Rabb left the contest with an injury.  Senior Jarrian Rhone leads the team with 19 catches for 154 yards and one score as he is averaging a team-high 77 yards per game.  Defensively, the Buffs are led by sophomore Trevor Myklebust who leads the team with 20 total tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.  Sophomore Hunter Streuling has a team-high 11 solo tackles and 18 total stops with two interceptions and two breakups.  Junior transfer Davontae Merriweather also has two interceptions, while senior Alex Tucci leads the team with two sacks and four tackles for loss.  Junior kicker Conner Hollabaugh is 2 for 3 in field goals and 7 for 7 in extra-points. 

HOLLABAUGH NAMED TO FRED MITCHELL WATCH LIST – Junior place-kicker Conner Hollabaugh has been named to the Fred Mitchell Award Watch List for 2015.  Hollabaugh was one of ten finalists for the award last December and finished second on the team in scoring with 99 points as he was 17 of 19 in field goals and 48 of 50 in extra-points.  Hollabaugh earned second team Daktronics All-America honors and D2Football.com Honorable Mention All-America as he began the season as a walk-on.  He earned first team all-region honors and was a second team all-conference selection.  He ranked fourth nationally in field goal percentage (89.5), ninth in field goals made per game (1.55) and 27th in scoring at 9.0 points per game.

ALRIDGE-MITCHELL AND HOLLABAUGH NAMED PRESESAON ALL-AMERICA – West Texas A&M senior running back Geremy Alridge-Mitchell and junior kicker Conner Hollabaugh were named D2Football.com Preseason Second Team All-America the organization announced.  Alridge-Mitchell had an outstanding junior season as he led the team and the Lone Star Conference in rushing touchdowns with 21 which was good for fourth nationally.  He ranked fourth nationally in all-purpose yards at 203.73 and ninth nationally in kick returns at 29.9 yards per return.  He was 19th in rushing yards with 1,342 and was 16th in rushing yards per game at 122.0.  Alridge-Mitchell was fourth nationally in scoring at 12.5 points per game.  He earned D2Football.com Honorable Mention All-America honors and was a first team all-conference selection.

BUFFS FIFTH IN PRESEASON LSC POLL – The Buffs were picked fifth in the 2015 preseason LSC poll which was released at Media Day on July 28.  Angelo State was picked first, followed by Texas A&M-Commerce, Midwestern State, Tarleton State, the Buffs, Eastern New Mexico and Texas A&M-Kingsville. 

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