The Bulldogs fell 31-3 last Saturday during their season opener against Midwestern State University. The Midwestern State Mustangs are picked to finish third in the Lone Star Conference this season and received preseason votes in the NCAA Div. II national rankings, leaving them five spots out of the top 25.
During the non-conference matchup in Wichita Falls, Texas, the Bulldogs struggled to convert third downs, finishing the game 1-11 on third down situations. Midwestern State was 7-12 on third downs.
“When you get in those three-and-outs, it’s hard to get in the rhythm offensively,” junior offensive lineman Brad Wellman says. “It’s hard to take advantage of the game plan we had all week.”
Midwestern State succeeded in passing the ball, accounting for 196 yards of its offense completing 20-28 attempts. On the other hand, Truman State passed for 51 yards on a 12-22 performance from junior quarterback Devonte Black. Sophomore wide receiver Kyle Spratt led the Bulldogs’ receivers with three receptions for 32 yards.
“Playing an opponent like Midwestern State during the first week definitely lets us know where we’reat and what we need to improve upon,” Wellman says. “Teams like that are going to exploit the weaknesses that we had in that game, and they did. It gives us a good picture of where we’re at on a national level.”
The Mustangs scored 17 unanswered points during the first quarter before the Bulldog defense held theMustangs scoreless during the next two quarters. Senior defensive lineman Dominic Greenlee says he was pleased with the resiliency of the Bulldogs’ defense after several quick scoring drives by the Midwestern State offense.
“The positives on defense were our ability to bounce back after getting down two scores,” Greenlee says. “We had heart, we had fun out there, we forced a turnover and made them fumble a couple of other times, so I was really proud of our defense.”
The rushing figures for the two teams were comparable, with the Bulldogs rushing for 120 yards com-
pared to the Mustangs’ 125 yards. Junior running back AJ Hartfield led the Truman ground attack with 63 yards on 16 attempts, and Black was close behind with 11 attempts totaling 53 yards. The Mustangs averaged 275 yards per game on the ground last year.
The Bulldogs will travel to Detroit to play Wayne State University Saturday. The Warriors, from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, finished 7-4 last season, and lost the national title to Pittsburgh State University during 2011. Greenlee said a victory during either of the first two weeks of the season would be a huge stride toward putting the Bulldogs in the national spotlight.
For more analysis of the Bulldog’s performance by Henry Janssen, pick up of copy of the Index or click here to read online on Issuu.