SINCE BUD ELLIOTT WAS unable to achieve the 200th win of his 36-year college coaching career against longtime conference power Texas A&M-Kingsville, getting it this week against rival West Texas A&M would be almost as satisfying.
Elliott said Eastern New Mexico played pretty well in Saturday’s 44-26 Lone Star Conference South Division loss to the nationally No. 4-ranked Javelinas 44-26 at Kingsville, Texas, a setback which likely ended the Greyhounds’ hopes for an NCAA Division II postseason berth.
“We played hard and we played pretty well,” Elliott said Monday. “We just had trouble shutting them down.
“Defensively, we played extremely hard and we made some big plays. I thought offensively we may have played our best game of the year.”
Elliott was impressed with Kingsville junior quarterback Daniel Taylor, a California junior college transfer who threw for 322 yards and four touchdowns despite being sacked five times.
“That quarterback of theirs is really, really a good one,” he said. “He threw the ball on target (even) when we had them covered.”
While Elliott said some of the ENMU players “were really down” after the loss, he noted the Hounds earned the respect of the competition.
“(TAMK coach) Richard Cundiff was quoted in the Corpus Christi paper as saying he was worried about that game for three weeks,” Elliott said. “And one of their safeties said he was glad the game was over because ‘Eastern comes in here and believes they can beat us. They get after you.’”
IT WAS A TOUGH FIRST year for the freshman-laden ENMU women’s soccer program, but the Zias were relatively competitive.
Coach Travis McCorkle, whose squad was 3-12 overall and ninth at 2-7 in the LSC, said after Sunday’s 6-0 loss to Central Oklahoma that the Zias have to add talent, but have some young players to build around.
“We’ve got to improve our attack, but our attack can only get better when our defending gets better,” he said, adding that season-ending knee injuries early on to freshman defenders Kara Henderson and Christina Alessi were tough to overcome. “When we get them back, I expect them to contribute big-time.”
While they want to improve overall team speed, McCorkle said the Zias also need to work on technique.
“We’re going to have to improve technically,” he said. “I hope that’s from the players we have, but if not we’ll have to go outside to add technique.”
QUICK HITS — The Greyhounds lost junior defensive tackle Tremaine Johnson, a two-year starter, for its final two games after he injured an Achilles tendon at Kingsville. … Elliott said junior quarterback Steven Hinson and junior running back Jason Tezeno will miss some practice time this week after getting nicked up at TAMK, but both should play Saturday against WT at Blackwater Draw. … The ENMU men’s basketball team plays an exhibition against the New Mexico All-Stars at 7 p.m. Saturday at Greyhound Arena. The Hounds open the regular season at home on Nov. 18 against Incarnate Word. … The women’s basketball team travels to Division I Texas-El Paso on Sunday for a scrimmage, and opens its campaign on Nov. 16 in a 1 p.m. tipoff at Colo.-Colorado Springs.
CNJ sports writer Dave Wagner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org