West Texas A&M's Lone Star Conference road contest against Texas A&M-Commerce presents itself with many opportunities.
It allows the Buffs to get back on the field and move forward past last week's 28-0 shutout loss to rival Eastern New Mexico.
It gives the Buffs a chance to start a new win streak.
And it also gives the Buffs a chance to play a huge spoiler role. A victory could all but eliminate the defending NCAA Division II national champions from playoff contention. Currently, the No. 18-ranked Lions sit 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the LSC.
"We had a good week of practice," WT second-year coach Hunter Hughes said. "The players are ready to get on the field. We're fighting to have a winning record, and we get a chance to go play one of the best teams over the past five years.
"We get three more chances to play this season, and it starts with Commerce. We're looking to finish the year strong. We want to continue to improve and win games."
At 5-3 overall and 3-2 in league play, this victory could also be beneficial to the Buffs. It would earn a winning season with a sixth win. They could beat their second ranked team of the year, and defeat another team on their Homecoming.
Central Washington scheduled WT to open its new renovated stadium. WT won, 28-26. Angelo State scheduled the Buffs for Homecoming. WT wrecked the Rams plans with a 26-18 win.
But, what's most important to WT, is a chance to break a losing trend to TAMC, and former WT defensive coordinator Colby Carthel. Carthel, the son of Don Carthel, who is WT's all-time winningest coach in program history, has had the Buffs' number.
Since falling 63-28 to WT in his first season at TAMC, Carthel and the Lions have roared past the Buffs with four straight wins, including a 35-16 last year.
"I like going up against someone like Texas A&M-Commerce," Hughes said. "They are ranked in the top 20, and they are a very talented team that's the class of our conference. I'd much rather go in and play someone where no one thinks we're going to win.
"A lot of people think we've folded the tent, but we haven't. The coaching staff and myself have prepared all week for this like we do every week."
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Saturday’s game will be the 33rd all-time meeting with Texas A&M-Commerce holding a 18-14 advantage. The Buffs have dropped the last four games by an average score of 39-14.
WHO WILL RUN THE FOOTBALL
WT junior running back Duke Carter IV has been ruled out for today's game with an undisclosed leg injury. Carter is the LSC's leading rusher with 818 yards and eight touchdowns. Marshawn Brown, Brandon Blair and Collin Bailey will have to pick up the slack for the Buffs in the backfield.
WT true freshman Tobias Harris is having an All-American type season. The speedster enters the ninth week of the season ranked second in combined kick return yards. His 719 yards (426 kickoff, 293 punt) are second only to Fairmont State’s Lyrics Klugh. He is one of three freshmen ranked in the Top 10.
Harris has also been impressive as a cornerback with a team-high six interceptions. His 0.8 interceptions per game are the most in the Lone Star Conference and fourth-highest in the nation.
Lone Star Conference Standings
MSU Texas 4-1;6-1
Texas A&M-Commerce 4-1;6-2
West Texas A&M;3-2;5-3
Eastern New Mexico;3-3;3-5
UT Permian Basin;1-4;2-6
Western New Mexico;0-5;0-7
West Texas A&M at Texas A&M-Commerce, 4 p.m.
Adams State at Angelo State, 4 p.m.
Western New Mexico at Texas A&M-Kingsville, 6 p.m.
Tarleton at MSU Texas, 7 p.m.
UT Permian Basin at Eastern New Mexico, 8 p.m.