SAGU was close to winning three games last year.
The Lions ended with just two, but a close 7-0 loss in the home opener against Austin College prevented the team from equalling the highest single season win total in the programs short history.
Another chance at the Kangaroos is coming early this season as SAGU travels to Austin College on Saturday for each team’s season opener.
“We’re excited about getting to kick-off Saturday,” head coach Jesse Godding said. “We scrimmaged at East Texas Baptist last weekend and hopefully got some kinks out. It revealed some blind spots too, but that’s what scrimmages are for.”
The Lions’ first opponent did not have a scrimmage this year, leaving Godding and his staff guessing at what they might see Saturday. Austin College went 4-6 last year after dropping its first two games of the season.
“All the reports we’ve gotten have said they haven’t changed much,” Godding said. “You can look at their returners and their schemes, but you still go in kind of blind.”
The Kangaroos struggled offensively last year as they scored only one touchdown six times and had two games in which they scored just two touchdowns.
Things got better as the season went along though as running backs Ryan Cowley and Ross Hasten helped Austin College become the 22nd best rushing offense in Division III with 206.8 rushing yards per game average.
Cowley and Hasten are both back for another season and Godding is counting on his defense to use its improved speed to slow down the duo.
“Defensively we’ve got more speed and are really flying to the ball well,” Godding said. “They’re a run-oriented team so we’re going to need to get to the ball as fast as possible.”
As far as SAGU’s offense goes, Godding is excited about an addition he believes the Lions have been missing.
Last year, the Lions scored just under 11 points per game, but expectations have been risen at SAGU.
“Something we’ve been missing is a playmaker,” Godding said. “Now I think we’ve finally got a couple guys that can change a game.”
Austin College will rely on linebacker Scooter Means to shut down the Lions’ offense.
Means led the Kangaroos in tackles as a freshman and sophomore and even led Austin College’s conference in tackles last year when he recorded 90 of them.
Kick-off is set for 3 p.m. Saturday in Sherman.