Saturday afternoon will be a scary place at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium as the West Texas A&M Buffs host rival Eastern New Mexico for the annual Wagon Wheel on Halloween. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. in a game that has serious Lone Star Conference playoff implications. The Buffs enter with a 3-4 record and a 2-3 mark in conference play, while ENMU is 6-2 and 3-2 in league play. The Greyhounds have won the previous two meetings in the Wagon Wheel and have won three-straight.
INSIDE THE LSC STANDINGS – Texas A&M-Commerce clinched the outright Lone Star Conference regular season title with a 27-14 victory over Midwestern State last week. The Mustangs are second at 4-1 and will be the No. 2-seed in the upcoming playoff, while Eastern New Mexico sits third currently with a 3-2 record in conference play. Angelo State and WT are tied for fourth with a 2-3 record, while Tarleton State is 1-4 and Texas A&M-Kingsville is 0-5. If WT and Angelo State win this weekend, there will be a three-way tie for third heading into the LSC playoff and if Eastern New Mexico and Tarleton State win this week over the Buffs and Rams, respectively, there will be a three-way tie for fourth. The Buffs could be as high as the No. 3-seed with a win over ENMU and an ASU loss, or as low as the No. 6-seed with a loss to ENMU and a Tarleton State win forcing a three-way tie for fourth. The playoff is a two week event with the top four teams playing in one bracket on Nov. 7 and the winners/losers of the first week playing the second week. The second half of the bracket features Nos. 5-7 seeds and Oklahoma Panhandle State. OPSU will host the No. 5-seed Nov. 7, and it will travel to the 6/7 loser the second week. Check back with www.gobuffsgo.com for the latest information on the playoff following Saturday’s game.
SENIOR BUFFS –The 2015 West Texas A&M football senior class includes; Geremy Alridge-Mitchell (RB, Dallas, Texas), Jarrian Rhone (WR, Silsbee, Texas), Anthony Hayes (DB, Allen, Texas), Dimitri Donald (WR, League City, Texas), Xavier Amey (WR, Sacramento, Calif.), Word Hudson (WR, Sonora, Texas), Preston Rabb (QB, Llano, Texas), Elliot Moore (P, Danville, Calif.), Josh Beal (LS, San Antonio, Texas), Ethan Morriss (DB, Sonora, Texas), Elijah Lagafuaina (LB, Mililani, Hawaii), Nathan Bartley (OL, Waipahu, Hawaii), Alex Tucci (DL, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Terry Banks (OL, Lakeview, N.Y.), Stan Hasiak (OL, Kapolei, Hawaii), John Sheehy (DL, Leander, Texas), Iosia Iosia (DL, San Francisco, Calif.) and Jacob Laguna (DL, San Antonio, Texas). Best of luck in your future endeavors!
THE SERIES – WT leads the all-time series 15-14, but the Greyhounds have won the past three meetings and each of the last two in the Wagon Wheel. Prior to 2013, the Buffs had won seven-straight and eight of nine. WT has outscored ENMU 905-797 all-time in a series dating back to 1945. Since 1946, both teams are 7-7 in Canyon and in Portales. There have been two overtime games with WT winning both as the last was a 52-51 thriller on Oct. 8, 2005. In the Wagon Wheel Games, WT leads 14-13. Below is the complete series history with the Greyhounds.
Date Result Location
1945 West Texas A&M 57, Eastern New Mexico 6 Home
Nov. 15, 1986 West Texas A&M 50, Eastern New Mexico 3 Home
Nov. 14, 1987 West Texas A&M 29, Eastern New Mexico 7 Away
Nov. 5, 1988 West Texas A&M 34, Eastern New Mexico 15 Home
Nov. 4, 1989 Eastern New Mexico 21, West Texas A&M 17 Away
Nov. 3, 1990 Eastern New Mexico 32, West Texas A&M 0 Home
Nov. 7, 1992 Eastern New Mexico 56, West Texas A&M 0 Home
Nov. 6, 1993 West Texas A&M 35, Eastern New Mexico 34 Away
Nov. 5, 1994 Eastern New Mexico 48, West Texas A&M 38 Home
Nov. 4, 1995 Eastern New Mexico 10, West Texas A&M 7 Away
Nov. 9, 1996 Eastern New Mexico 31, West Texas A&M 21 Home
Nov. 8, 1997 West Texas A&M 35, Eastern New Mexico 34 (OT) Away
Nov. 7, 1998 West Texas A&M 13, Eastern New Mexico 10 Home
Nov. 6, 1999 Eastern New Mexico 24, West Texas A&M 16 Away
Nov. 4, 2000 Eastern New Mexico 49, West Texas A&M 21 Home
Nov. 3, 2001 Eastern New Mexico 41, West Texas A&M 27 Away
Nov. 9, 2002 Eastern New Mexico 27, West Texas A&M 16 Home
Nov. 8, 2003 West Texas A&M 49, Eastern New Mexico 23 Away
Oct. 9, 2004 Eastern New Mexico 21, West Texas A&M 20 Away
Oct. 8, 2005 West Texas A&M 51, Eastern New Mexico 50 (OT) Home
Oct. 14, 2006 West Texas A&M 21, Eastern New Mexico 14 Away
Oct. 13, 2007 West Texas A&M 62, Eastern New Mexico 31 Home
Oct. 11, 2008 West Texas A&M 51, Eastern New Mexico 27 Away
Oct. 10, 2009 West Texas A&M 34, Eastern New Mexico 24 Home
Oct. 22, 2011 West Texas A&M 52, Eastern New Mexico 21 Home
Oct. 20, 2012 West Texas A&M 44, Eastern New Mexico 21 Away
Nov. 2, 2013 Eastern New Mexico 39, West Texas A&M 38 Home
Nov. 1, 2014 Eastern New Mexico 31, West Texas A&M 21 Away
Nov. 15, 2014 Eastern New Mexico 55, West Texas A&M 45 Away (LSC Playoff)
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 – Links to live stats, ticket information and streaming are on the football schedule page at www.gobuffsgo.com.
A WIN OVER EASTERN NEW MEXICO WOULD. . .
· Give WT a 4-4 record on the year and a 3-3 mark in the Lone Star Conference
· Be the 499th win in program history (498-495-22)
· Snap a three-game skid against ENMU and return the Wagon Wheel to Canyon for the first time since 2012
· Give Coach Nesbitt his first win against ENMU (0-3)
· Give WT a 16-14 record all-time against ENMU and a 15-13 record in the Wagon Wheel Game
· Give WT a chance to be in the top half of the LSC playoff next weekend
· Be the sixth win on Halloween for the Buffs (5-3)
THINGS TO WATCH ON SATURDAY – There are a lot of interesting story lines in Saturday’s game. Here are a few things to watch.
· The ground game – WT’s Geremy Alridge-Mitchell leads the conference in rushing yards per game at 131.9 yards ranking 13th nationally. ENMU’s Kamal Cass is third in the LSC at 111.8 and 31st nationally
· Alridge-Mitchell is second in the LSC in rushing yards with 923 and Cass is third at 894
· Cass leads the LSC in scoring at 10.5 points per game ranking 10th nationally, while Alridge-Mitchell is second in the LSC and 29th nationally at 9.4
· Eastern New Mexico leads the nation in scoring offense at 45.9 points per game and the Buffs are allowing 29.4 points per game
· These are two of the top three teams in the fewest interceptions allowed this season as ENMU is second nationally and first in the LSC allowing just one and WT is third in the LSC allowing seven
· ENMU leads the LSC in rushing offense at 379.0 yards per game ranking third nationally while WT is allowing 192.3 yards on the ground this season
· These two teams are two of the top three in the league in turnover margin and TO’s gained
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 19-12 in his career as a head coach. Eastern New Mexico head coach Josh Lynn is in his fourth season at the helm of the Greyhounds. He has ENMU off to a great start a 6-2 overall and 3-2 in league play. In 2013, he guided the team to a 7-3 record and a 5-1 mark in conference play earning Coach of the Year honors.
ON HALLOWEEN – WT is 5-3 all-time on Halloween since 1946. WT has won its past two meetings on Oct. 31, including a 66-23 win at Northeastern State in 2009. Prior to that WT won at Midwestern State in 1998, 38-22. The Buffs have not played at home on Halloween since a 44-20 loss to Texas A&M-Kingsville in 1987. WT is 3-2 on the road on Halloween and 2-1 at home.
PARRA TABBED WEEKLY BEST – Junior punter Felipe Parra earned LSC Special Teams Player of the Week honors as he had four punts for a 48.2 average, including a career-long 76 yard punt turning field position late in the game with the 76-yarder getting the Buffs out of deep in their own end pinning the Javelinas at their own seven. He had two punts inside the 20 and on touchback. The 76-yarder was the longest since Kevin Van Voris had a 72-yarder at Midwestern State on Nov. 16, 2013. He has had an outstanding season for the Buffs as he is sixth nationally in punting at 43.1 yards per punt and as the Buffs, as a team, have a 39.24 net punting average ranking third nationally. Parra has 45 punts for 1,940 yards with the 76-yarder on Saturday. He has three touchbacks, with nine fair catches, including 15 punts inside the 20 and 10 over 50 yards.
PAYE DAY – Junior Devon Paye had another strong outing at running back spelling senior Geremy Alridge-Mitchell Saturday as he had 16 carries for 79 yards and a long of 15 in the Buffs’ 24-14 win at Texas A&M-Kingsville. For the season, Paye has 30 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown.
SCHOOL-RECORD GEREMY – Senior Geremy Alridge-Mitchell had another outstanding game Saturday as the Buffs snapped a three-game skid with a 24-14 win at Texas A&M-Kingsville. Alridge-Mitchell broke his own school-record for carries in a game with 45 for 149 yards and a touchdown. He previously had 40 carries at Midwestern State on Oct. 10. Alridge-Mitchell leads the league in rushing at 131.9 yards per game and 923 yards for the season with 10 touchdowns. Alridge-Mitchell is eighth in all-purpose yards at 177.29, 22nd in rushing touchdowns with 10, 15th in rushing yards (923), 13th in rushing yards per game (131.9) and 29th in scoring at 9.4 points per game. Alridge-Mitchell needs 205 yards to move into the top 10 all-time in season rushing yards as Billy Pritchett (1971) is 10th all-time with 1,128.
CAREER GEREMY – Alridge-Mitchell has 3,008 career rushing yards on 570 carries ranking him fifth all-time in rushing. He has 272 career points surpassing former Buff Charly Martin (2004-08) with 270 points ranking fourth all-time. Alridge-Mitchell has 4,347 career all-purpose yards and has 45 career touchdowns ranking tied for third all-time. Alridge-Mitchell needs 380 yards to tie Eugene “Mercury” Morris (1966-68) for fourth all-time in rushing yards at 3,388.
NATIONALLY SPEAKING – The Buffs lead the nation in 4th down defense holding teams to 0.111 on fourth down (1/9). WT is third nationally in net punting at 39.24, 26th in team tackles for loss (8.1), 17th in completion percentage (.638), 14th in defensive touchdowns (3), 29th in passes intercepted (12), 19th in punt return defense (3.75), 23rd in turnover margin (1.00), 26th in turnovers gained (20) and 51st in turnovers lost with just 12.