Simon Fraser's Robert Meadors hauled in a 13-yard catch to account for his team's only touchdown Saturday in a 51-10 loss in Texas to the Lone Star Conference's Angelo State Rams. (Photo by Garrett James property of Simon Fraser athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
Feature University Football

As Simon Fraser feels heat from Texas toughie Angelo State, coach Rigell says Lone Star Conference “…is the SEC of Div. 2 football”

If going on the road to play the traditional powers of the Texas-based Lone Star Conference represents the most challenging Div. 2 portion of Simon Fraser’s annual football schedule, then the locals faced one of the toughest teams on their 2021 schedule Saturday.

Playing at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Tex., SFU (1-5, 0-2) was handed a 51-10 loss by the host Rams (6-2, 2-2) in a game that the visitors weren’t threatening to win, but one in which they had kept more than respectable, trailing 30-10 until the final play of the third quarter.

That’s when a lack of depth sapped SFU’s energy reserves and the home team was able to finish with a flourish, putting three unanswered majors on the board to win going away.

“You’re talking about the SEC of D2 when you get a Lone Star game. It’s second to none,” SFU head coach Mike Rigell said, offering the comparable of Div. 1’s traditional home of powerhouse programs like Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Texas A&M.

Back in 2019, Simon Fraser played at Angelo State and lost 68-7.

While Lone Star teams have suffered losses to GNAC teams in the past, for the most part, they have been stout with Texas schools like Angelo, Midwestern State and UT Permian Basin.

“You’re talking about Texas… where you’ve got to be ready to play every week and your margin for error is so small,” continued Rigell. “If you don’t, the great teams in this conference will capitalize on you.”

On Saturday, after SFU’s Kristie Elliott booted a 30-yard field goal to cap an 11-play drive just past the midway mark of the second quarter, SFU trailed 15-3.

But after a safety, and then a special teams letdown which led to a 90-yard kick-off return with only 1:50 left in the half, the Rams were suddenly cruising at 23-3.

Yet with just 2:37 left in the third quarter, Simon Fraser quarterback Justin Seiber connected with receiver Robert Meadors on a 13-yard TD pass, and Elliott’s PAT made it 30-10.

That score looked for a while like it might hold over into the fourth, but on the last play of the third, quarterback Zach Bronkhorst threw a 34-yard scoring strike to Kellen Pachot for a 37-10 lead.

In the fourth, the Rams put the game away with a pair of touchdowns, capped by a 45-yard pick six by Andrew Pitts.

Running back Somto Anyadike had to earn everything he got Saturday as he assumed the majority of carries out of the SFU backfield. (Photo by Garrett James property of Simon Fraser athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)

“They just wore us out in the end,” Rigell said of an Angelo State offence which out-gained SFU 464 yards to 190. “Again our guys played hard and they fought hard, and they never quit.”

Of course it doesn’t get any easier over the teams final two games of the season as SFU plays both of its league rivals on the road, beginning this coming Saturday with Western Oregon, followed by Central Washington two weekend after that.

“You’ve got to lick your wounds like a champion does, and go back and watch film and get better,” said Rigell whose team had won last week, 30-3 at NAIA Montana State Northern.

“You’ve got to be remember, these (Lone Star) teams played in the spring, all the Texas teams did, so they are just way further ahead than us. We have to get better and we can’t have our heads down. We have to get ready for the next game.”

Justin Seiber went 15-of-24 for 166 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions before giving way to Brandon Niksich late.

Somto Anyadike has continued to garner the majority of the carries at running back, carrying 15 times for 44 yards.

Riley Morrison caught eight passes for 46 yards.

Griffin Barrett with 11 tackles and Kolby Buljevic with nine were the team’s top tacklers while Jakob Mozill had four tackles, including three solo and one for a six-yard loss. Brendan Lowry had four tackles and returned an interception 13 yards.

Kick-off time for Simon Fraser’s date at Western Oregon this coming Saturday is 1 p.m.

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