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Game Preview: Texas Lutheran at East Texas Baptist - 6 p.m. Saturday in Bulldog Stadium

Game Preview: Texas Lutheran at East Texas Baptist - 6 p.m. Saturday in Bulldog Stadium
Game Facts
DATE:  Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019
KICKOFF:  6 p.m.
PLACE:  Marshall, Texas
STADIUM:  Ornelas Stadium
TLU RADIO: KWED 1580 AM (Seguin, Texas)


LAST GAME - TEXAS LUTHERAN:  Loss - Hendrix 26, Texas Lutheran 23

Sept. 14, 2019 in Seguin, Texas (Bulldog Stadium, Frank L. Dunne Field

LAST GAME - EAST TEXAS BAPTIST:  Loss - Wisconsin-Platteville 38, ETBU 30                                                                                         

Sept. 7, 2019 in Platteville, Wis. (Pioneer Stadium


ALL-TIME SERIES:  TLU leads series, 11-9


Oct. 13, 2018 in Seguin, Texas (Bulldog Stadium)

TLU vs. ETBU STREAK:  TLU has won two in a row. 

TLU OVERALL W-L STREAK:  TLU has lost two in a row (dating to '18).

ETBU OVERALL W-L STREAK:  ETBU has lost two in a row (dating to '18). 

LAST YEAR – TEXAS LUTHERAN:  7-3 overall / 6-3 ASC (T-3rd)

LAST YEAR – EAST TEXAS BAPTIST:  6-4 overall / 6-3 ASC (T-3rd)


TLU HEAD COACH:  Carl Gustafson, 3rd season

OVERALL RECORD (TLU):  13-8 (.619) / 12-6 (.667) ASC

OVERALL RECORD (COLLEGE):  13-8 (.619) / 12-6 (.667) ASC



ETBU HEAD COACH:  Brian Mayper, 2nd season

OVERALL RECORD (ETBU):  6-5 (.545) / 6-3 (.667) ASC

OVERALL RECORD (COLLEGE):  32-11 (.744) / 6-3 (.667) ASC



Texas Lutheran vs. East Texas Baptist

(TLU leads, 11-9)

1949 East Texas Baptist 20, Texas Lutheran 0

2000 Texas Lutheran 35, East Texas Baptist 7

2001 East Texas Baptist 38, Texas Lutheran 24

2002 East Texas Baptist 28, Texas Lutheran 21

2003 East Texas Baptist 45, Texas Lutheran 21

2004 Texas Lutheran 39, East Texas Baptist 28

2005 East Texas Baptist 17, Texas Lutheran 16

2006 Texas Lutheran 31, East Texas Baptist 28

2007 East Texas Baptist 19, Texas Lutheran 17

2008 East Texas Baptist 26, Texas Lutheran 14

2009 East Texas Baptist 32, Texas Lutheran 21

2010 Texas Lutheran 17, East Texas Baptist 14

2011 Texas Lutheran 44, East Texas Baptist 34

2012 Texas Lutheran 34, East Texas Baptist 28

2013 Texas Lutheran 64, East Texas Baptist 41

2014 Texas Lutheran 55, East Texas Baptist 49

2015 Texas Lutheran 55, East Texas Baptist 27

2016 East Texas Baptist 44, Texas Lutheran 20

2017 Texas Lutheran 41, East Texas Baptist 34

2018 Texas Lutheran 28, East Texas Baptist 21


21st All-Time Meeting for TLU-ETBU

The Texas Lutheran Bulldogs and East Texas Baptist meet for the 21st time in their respective histories this Saturday with a 6 p.m. kickoff set for ETBU's Ornelas Stadium. The series between TLU and ETBU began in 1949 with the Tigers shutting out the Bulldogs 20-0. TLU has had the advantage in recent contests, winning eight of the last nine and the last two games consecutively. The Bulldogs have won their last four contests in Ornelas Stadium in Marshall. In 2017, the Bulldogs rallied from 17 points down in the second quarter to pull out a 41-34 victory. Kyle Grona scoring the winning touchdown with a minute to play in regulation, and the Bulldogs got a sack and fumble recovery on the final ETBU drive to preserve the lead. 


Always entertaining between TLU, ETBU

"The game between TLU and ETBU is always crazy and always very competitive," said Carl Gustafson, TLU's third-year head football coach. "We expect this to be no different. Over the last couple of years, we have settled in and both tied for third in the conference. We've always had great football games, great in the sense that they are always fun to watch. I'm not sure how fun they are to coach. This will be a great challenge. This is a better football team than the last football team we played. The quarterback (Brian Baca) is exemplary. They have some real weapons. They've had two weeks to prepare, and we know that they will be ready. But our guys are hungry as well. We are going to turn what was a tough loss into a better feeling after this game.


Bulldogs Look for Bounce-Back Game

Texas Lutheran comes off a heart-breaking 26-23 home defeat to Hendrix College (Ark.) last Saturday in Bulldog Stadium. TLU ran the ball seemingly at will (racking up 310 yards on the ground), controlled time of possession (36:21 to 23:39), and held Hendrix to 67 yards rushing and to 350 total yards. Still, the Warriors came out of Seguin with a 26-23 non-conference victory. The Bulldogs committed a whopping 14 penalties for 150 yards, fumbled four times (losing two), and settled for three short field goals on three trips inside the red zone. "


Reflecting on loss, preparing for ETBU

"Any loss is hard, but that was a heart-breaking loss," said Gustafson. "We were a little concerned about how the guys would bounce back, but they are better than the older guys - the older guys meaning the coaches. We've had a great week of preparation, and our guys know that we made critical mistakes at the wrong times. But these are things that we can correct. These are good guys. These are good young men. They understand the mistakes we made, and we are going to fix those. And now, this is the conference opener. These games now count. So it is kind of a start-over for us."


Big day for the three TLU running backs

The Bulldogs nearly had three running backs Saturday that went over 100 yards. The Bulldogs' talented trio of senior Ian Leslie, senior Austin Mathews and junior Chris Monroe combined for 292 of TLU's 310 rushing yards. Leslie, coming off a 2018 season in which he missed eight games due to injury, came back in a big way, with 109 yards on 16 carries for an average of 6.8 yards per carry. Mathews continued his torrid production pace, after a 2018 in which he scored 14 touchdowns and rushed for 978 yards, and carried the ball 14 times of 96 yards, averaging 6.9 yards per carry and scoring on a 10-yard run. Monroe missed five games last season and also returned to his pre-injury form. The junior rumbled for 87 yards on 13 carries, scored on a 13-yard run, had another TD called back due to penalty, and averaged 6.7 yards per carry.


QBs Freeman, Lotz gain experience

TLU went with a two-quarterback system on last Saturday against Hendrix, playing both sophomore Wade Freeman and senior Andrew Lotz about the same number of snaps last week in the loss. Freeman finished the day 12-for-18 for 117 yards with no touchdowns, no interceptions, two fumbles but no lost fumbles, and 32 rushing yards. Lotz was 11-for-14 for 78 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions, one fumble and it was lost, and -14 yards rushing. "It's an ongoing process, and I think it will be an ongoing process, probably until mid-season," said Gustafson on the quarterback playing time with Freeman and Lotz. "They both are going to play (Saturday). They both are doing some great things, but they both are learning too. So we are going to play both of them again, and maybe go with one if one has the hot hand. We will see how that goes. It's going to be a process. It's like any other position, just probably two-fold because of having to be the field general, not just knowing what they do but knowing what everybody else does. And there is just no substitute for game experience. They've got now a game under their belt, and they have learned from that first game. We expect them to be better the second game.


Ball spread to eight different receivers

TLU quarterbacks Wade Freeman and Andrew Lotz spread the ball around to a combined eight different receivers or running backs last week in the passing game. Redshirt junior Mason Perkins nearly equaled his entire career catch total in last week's contest. Perkins, who has battled injuries in each of his first three seasons and has taken a medical redshirt, had six varsity catches entering last week's game. He ended the Hendrix contest with five catches for a career-best 75 yards. The 75 yards surpassed the career 59 yards he had coming into the ball game. Joseph Moreno caught three passes for 31 yards and also surpassed his career totals, which had amounted to 1 catch for seven yards. Hunter Jaehne was the third Bulldog to eclipse career totals with a productive first game of 2019. Jaehne collected five catches for 30 yards. He had two catches for 25 in 2018. First-year player Caleb Cervenka made his collegiate debut with three catches for 25 yards.


Offensive line paved the way v. Hendrix

With the Bulldogs controlling the line of scrimmage, running the ball well, and protecting the quarterback, the offensive line - outside of some key penalties - had a productive day. TLU was sacked just one time all evening, and that came on the last offensive play of the game when a fumble occurred in the backfield. TLU had to juggle playing time with a few linemen due to injury, but unit - led by senior left tackle Travis York and senior left guard Garrett Garza - dominated up front against the Warriors. They will need another strong performance Saturday against the East Texas Baptist Tigers as the game plan will be much the same as it was against Hendrix: run the ball, control the clock, and limit the offensive production of an explosive offense by keeping them off the field.


No Longoria sacks, but pressure applied

Preseason All-American defensive end Manny Longoria did not have a sack or a tackle for loss Saturday against Hendrix, but that doesn't mean his presence wasn't felt by the Warriors offense. Longoria still made frequent visits to the Hendrix backfield and had four quarterback hurries. He collected two total tackles - one solo tackle and one tackle assist. Longoria remains 10.0 tackles for loss shy of Darian Candler's DIII-era record of 44.0 career tackles for loss.


Davis all over the place at linebacker

Bulldog junior linebacker DaKwa Davis recorded a career-best 13 tackles in the loss to Hendrix. He had 11 tackle assists and two solo stops. He also was credited with a pass break-up. Davis, an inside linebacker, was second on the team in total tackles in 2018. He finished last year with 64 tackles. He was second on the team in tackles for loss with 10 for 42.


Bennett steps up on the defensive line

Bulldog sophomore Brandon Bennett made the most of his first game as a starter on the defensive line. A 6-foot-2 and 235-pound nose tackle, Bennett tallied six tackles last week and had TLU's lone sack, which went for nine yards. He also collected 1.5 tackles for loss (nine yards in losses) and had a forced fumble. Bennett played nine games last season and had all of 14 tackles as a true freshman.


Bell ever-present in the secondary

Preseason All-American James Bell led the team in solo tackles last week, amassing five in the game against Hendrix. He finished with six total tackles versus the Warriors. Bell started at free safety for the second consecutive year. He missed the first game of his career, a game he would have started, with an injury in 2017. Since missing that one game, Bell has started 18 of the next 19 contests and twice been named All-Region and All-Conference. Bell is a two-time nominee for the Cliff Harris Award.


Ocampo shakes off miss, makes 3 FGs

It had to happen sooner or later, so Juan Ocampo got his first career miss out of the way early in 2019. Ocampo missed wide right on his first field attempt of 2019 - a 33-yard attempt in the first quarter. Ocampo rallied to make his next three field goal attempts. He was good from 30 yards in the third quarter and from 31 and 28 in the fourth quarter. Ocampo was a perfect 2-for-2 on point-after attempts, bringing his career PAT total to 47-for-47.


Enriquez busy on defense, special teams

True freshman defensive back Daniel Enriquez, out of Edinburg, Texas, saw significant playing time at strong safety and at returner, both kick and punt returner, in last week's contest. Enriquez is slated to start at strong safety this week against East Texas Baptist. Against Hendrix, he had four total tackles, one tackle for loss, three punt returns for 16 yards with a long of seven, and a kick return in which he covered up a squib kick to prevent a Hendrix recovery.


Mathews, Monroe ready to break returns

TLU had both starting running backs - Austin Mathews and Chris Monroe - on kickoff return duty last week. Mathews nearly broke free on two returns, finishing with two returns for 52 yards and a long of 35.


Always explosive ETBU offense offers test

One week after facing a former total offense individual champ in Miles Thompson (quarterback at Hendrix), the Bulldogs now face the challenge of stopping the explosive offensive of East Texas Baptist, which overall ranked as the sixth-best total offense in all of NCAA Division III a year ago. Senior quarterback Brian Baca leads the Tigers. Baca was eighth in total offense last season, averaging 321.1 yards per game. He was 23rd in passing efficiency, 22nd in passing yards (2,783), and fifth in points responsible for (22.2 per game). He also ranked fourth nationally last year in passing yards per completion (16.47). 


Bulldog defense out to pressure Baca

"Well that is always going to be a key component for our success - our defensive line and the pressure that they are able to provide," said Gustafson. "Coach (Ricky) Matt and our defensive coaches have a great plan. If Baca is allowed to just sit back there and take his time, he is lethal. He is a great quarterback, maybe the best quarterback in our conference, and that is saying something in this conference. You can't just let him get into a rhythm and be comfortable. We are going to have to win the battle on both sides of the trenches. It starts with the defensive line getting good pressure. We are going to dial up some blitzes at certain times to try and get him out of his comfort zone. We are going to have to do a great job of covering those wide-outs because they are really good."


Don't forget All-ASC back Robertson

Senior running back Jeremiah Robertson was an All-ASC back in 2018, and he remains a big part of the ETBU offense, although he only rushed for 39 yards last week. Robertson rushed for 594 yards and nine touchdowns in 2018 and was named Second Team All-ASC. "It's not like you can just turn all the focus to the passing game," said Gustafson. "Robertson is a great running back. Brian Baca can create with his feet. We have to hem them in. We have been pretty good at stopping the run. We feel like against these guys that is still what you have to do. If you allow them to have both phases, that is when they have most of their success. We've got to shut down the run and limit the big plays and the explosives, and then our offense is going to try to keep their offense on the sideline."


Active, aggressive ETBU defense

The Tigers love to bring pressure, and they have the personnel to create a lot of havoc for opposing offenses. "They are young up front, but they are very talented," said Gustafson. "All the defensive linemen are good size, great to get off the ball, very explosive, very active. They are a very multiple defense. When I say multiple, their base stays the same, but they are dialing up pressures all the time. They are blitzing. They are bringing heat from one side or maybe a seven-man blitz - a lot of seven-man blitzes. They have very athletic guys in the secondary, but they don't want to have them to cover very long. Against Wisconsin-Platteville, (Platteville) gave ETBU a lot of problems. (Platteville thew for four touchdowns and 373 yards.) We've got to do a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage, and not just in the run game. We need to be able to milk the clock and run and do what we do offensively in the run game, but we are going to have to do a great job of protecting whoever is at quarterback at the time because they just don't play just a base defense. They are built on pressure, and we have to counter that."