Before this season started, UTPB had never scored more than 75 points in a game in the program’s eight-year history.
The Falcons have already done that twice this year.
UTPB is coming off another offensive explosion as the Falcons defeated Southwest Baptist 86-7 Saturday in Bolivar, Mo.
The 79-point victory was the second largest win in school history with the top spot going to UTPB’s Week 1 blowout against Texas College in which the Falcons won 96-0.
“We went out and took care of business,” UTPB first-year head coach Kris McCullough said at this week’s press conference. “Overall, in the game, we played well in all three phases. I thought top to bottom, we haven’t had a team play like that in my career. It was a physical game. it’s how we intended it would be early on. We had 10 straight runs before scoring. Then the defense gets a pick six and a then a punt return for a touchdown and a safety. Going up 16-0 early does take the wind out of another team. Our team never stopped; never stopped with the energy. If we play like that, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
Now, the Falcons will get a new set of challenges as they begin Lone Star Conference play with Saturday’s 6 p.m. game against West Texas A&M at Astound Broadband Stadium.
West Texas A&M and UTPB both enter with identical records at 2-1.
Both teams are also under the direction of first-year head coaches as Josh Lynn was hired this past offseason to take over at West Texas A&M.
McCullough said he has a lot of respect for Lynn.
“I think they’re one of the best-coached teams in the country,” McCullough said. “I have a lot of respect for Josh Lynn and what he’s done at West Texas A&M. He’s a phenomenal coach with a great staff. They have a lot of great players. This is going to be a big battle between two good defenses. It’s going to be a test with whose offense can take control of the game.”
UTPB’s defense currently ranks No. 5 in the country, having allowed only six offensive touchdowns and 170.3 yards-per-game.
West Texas A&M’s defense is right behind the Falcons at No. 6 with 214 YPG and five offensive touchdowns allowed.
The Buffaloes began the season on a shaky start, losing to Western Colorado 28-6 in Week 1 in Gunnison, Colo.
West Texas A&M won its next two, beating Adams State, 28-7, on Sept. 9 in Canyon before shutting out Midwestern State 23-0 last week at home.
>> OFFENSIVE FIREPOWER: The Falcons remain hot on offense, as the unit ranks second overall in the NCAA Division II standings, just only behind Minnesota State-Mankato.
Led by quarterback Kenny Hrncir, the Falcons have put up 1,562 yards of total offense (averaging 7 yards per play) and 520.7 yards per game.
While UTPB’s opening season opponent was an NAIA school, McCullough was glad to see his team put up points against another Division II opponent on Saturday.
“I’ll be honest, when we scored 96 against Texas College, I took a lot of heat for that,” McCullough said. “I didn’t try to score 96. It just naturally happened. But when you put (over 80) on a division II team, you realize you have a great offense and we’re clicking on all levels of the game. Everyone’s playing well. That starts opening up eyes. But it shows us and it shows our guys that we can do that against any opponent when we put our mind to it and put our focus to it. …. I was very impressed with our offense but more impressed with our defense.”
>> EXCITEMENT BREWING: After two weeks on the road, the Falcons will finally be back at home this week and it gives McCullough and his players a chance to show how this season is different from previous years.
“I think to the fans of UTPB, it just grows the excitement,” McCullough said. “There’s a buzz and everyone wants to see what UTPB has. The first game at home, we scored 96 points. Our next game at home is our blackout. It’s against a rival and it opens up Lone Star play. It puts a target on our backs. Scoring 96 and 86 points, everyone’s going to bring the heat. Everyone’s going to try and contain Kenny Hrncir and stop pour offense. We have to take it to the next level.”
However, McCullough would be lying if he said he was satisfied.
“I took this job not just to win one or two games,” McCullough said. “I took this job to compete for a national championship and a conference title. I don’t think one or two games will define me or this program. I just want to continue every single week to get better on all aspects of the game. I’m proud of our performance so far, but now the real challenge begins with Lone Star Conference play. Week in and week out, we have to play really good. This conference is wide open. It’s going to take going 1-0 each week and taking care of our jobs.”
>> LONE STAR PLAY: UTPB was the only Lone Star Conference team to not play a conference game this week.
Currently, Eastern New Mexico, 3-0 overall, 1-0 in conference, is at the top of the standings, along with Texas A&M-Kingsville (3-0, 1-0), followed by West Texas A&M (2-1, 1-0) and Central Washington (1-2, 1-0) to round up the top four.
Defending conference champions Angelo State (1-2, 0-1) lost its second consecutive game, falling to Central Washington in a 27-24 road contest.