Cards Host Huskies on Homecoming

BEAUMONT, Texas – A week after the Lamar University Cardinals three-game win streak came to an end, Big Red returns to action looking to start another streak. The Cardinals are looking to start that new streak Saturday when they squares off against Houston Baptist on Homecoming. The third-ever meeting between the two programs is slated for a 6 p.m. kick off from Provost Umphrey Stadium.

The Cardinals (3-4/3-2 Southland) enter the week in a two-way tie for fourth place in the Southland standings – just a game up on McNeese in the loss column – with four games remaining in the regular season. The Red and White are just a game back of Southeastern Louisiana in the loss column, a team the Cardinals defeated earlier this season.

After a quick start to the season, the Huskies have fallen on hard times lately. HBU opened the season winning two of its first three games, but has dropped four straight since a three-point overtime win over Abilene Christian. During the recent four-game skid, HBU has been involved in some close games that resulted in heartbreaking result. HBU dropped a three-point decision, 33-30, to Nicholls just two weeks ago in Houston.

“I could talk for hours on all the possible scenarios that remain for us,” said LU head coach Ray Woodard. “We can’t get wrapped up in that. Our guys have to be ready to face an improved HBU squad. That is our only focus for this weekend.”

Saturday’s contest is equally important to both schools but for different reasons. The Huskies are looking to put an end to a four-game slide that has them sitting in a two-way tie for eighth in the Southland standings. The Cardinals are on the outside looking in but still have a shot at the Southland’s top spot. For that to happen Big Red will need considerable help.

The matchup against HBU pits two schools that are looking to turn things around offensively. The Cardinals are 10th in the Southland averaging nearly 24 points per game, but HBU is the league’s only team averaging fewer than 20 points per game (16.6 ppg).

The Huskies bring a very strong ground attack into the game. HBU is fourth in the league averaging 180 rush yards per game but HBU has struggled to get much going from its passing game (176.4 ypg). LU’s defense, which already leads the Southland in passing defense, will look to shut down the Huskies’ Terrance Peters who is averaging 80 yards per game on the ground.

“This is a vastly improved team,” said Woodard. “Just look at results – they defeated Abilene Christian and took Nicholls right down to the wire. They brought just about everybody back from last season, so they’re all playing with another year of experience and another year in the weight room. We have to focus on what we need to do to get better because if we don’t we will have a letdown. HBU is not done making noise in this league and they will win more games down the stretch.”

LU comes into its Homecoming contest looking to overcome some recent setbacks to its overall depth. With the loss of running back Kade Harrington, the Cards have turned the ball over to freshmen Austin Kruatz and Derrion Randle to carry the load on the ground. Krautz has carried the ball 61 times for 151 yards and touchdown this season, while Randle has attempted 14 rushes.

LU hopes that recent Homecoming history will have an impact on Saturday’s outcome. The Cardinals are .500 all-time in Homecoming contests (22-22-1), and have split the last six contests. The Cardinals are coming off a disappointing two-point loss to Nicholls last season on Homecoming. The Cardinals are 2-0 all-time against HBU, including a 72-14 decision for Homecoming 2014.

One of the Homecoming traditions at campuses all across the country is the parade. The LU Homecoming Parade will begin at 1 p.m. and the route will be on E. Lavaca, MLK, and Virginia. Parade parking will be in B Lots 1-4, D Lots 1-5, F Lots 1-2 and 4-5, T Lots 5-9, Lot G-2 and Lot J-6.

Fans who are planning on attending the LU volleyball match against Sam Houston State should plan on using lots J-4, J-5 and T-3. The normal McDonald parking lot is being used to lineup the parade participants. Police will be on hand to allow those in need of a handicap spot into the McDonald lot.

Saturday’s game is slated to kick off at 6 p.m. from Provost Umphrey Stadium.