The past two opponents for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions (2-7, 1-4) were the top teams in the Southwestern Western Division standings.
This week, the Golden Lions will play the third No. 3 team out of the West at this time, the Prairie View A&M Panthers (3-5, 2-3).
This will be the first game that the Golden Lions will play out of the state of Arkansas since Sept. 30.
During this week's media luncheon, UAPB Head Coach Monte Coleman addressed the fact that they're going back on the road after being home for a while, and he believes the guys are looking forward to the travel.
"This is our last road game, as I won't count Little Rock as a road trip," Coleman said.
"War Memorial is definitely our second home sight. To travel to Houston, it really doesn't matter. Every year we've got to go there, either to play Texas Southern or Prairie View. We'll get on the bus at midnight on Thursday and we'll travel, we'll get some rest, and we'll be ready to play. It was a little tiring to be on the road for the four weeks earlier in the season, but for right now for this one game I'm sure the guys are kind of anxious to get out of Pine Bluff to go see some other places. Overall it's another opportunity for us as opposed to a road trip we have another opportunity to win a football game.”
The Panthers have dropped their last three SWAC games, including a 37-31 loss to Southern University last week. No matter their record, Coleman is in-tune with what Prairie View Head Coach Willie Simmons has done since arriving there.
The Panthers are averaging 389.6 yards of total offense per game while giving up 351.2 yards of total offense per game.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Neiko Hollins spearheads the Prairie View offense. Hollins only attempted a total of 20 passes in their first four games of the season. On the season, Hollins has completed 60/128 passes for 776 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Lately for the Panthers, senior running back Sta'fon McCray has handled majority of the workload on the ground. Coleman also referenced their two preseason All-SWAC receivers, Darius Floyd and KhaDarel Hodge.
"They're explosive," Coleman said. "Their quarterback is not the Kincade, and he's not going to look to run the football. He's a big quarterback, he can see over the line, and he can spin it very well. He's got two or three receivers including the tight-end that are key players for him. The effort in the game against Grambling was there across the board, but we did make some mistakes that we have to clear up. They're not quite as explosive as they were last year but they're putting points up on the board."
The Golden Lions offense took major hits in back-to-back games with junior Le'Earl Patterson and senior Brandon Duncan suffering season ending injuries. Coleman updated their status, and they have confidence that redshirt senior Marcus Terrell can step in and get the job done.
"Le'Earl had a separated shoulder against Southern, and he's out for the remainder of the year," Coleman said. "Brandon suffered from a targeting hit that was called against Grambling. He's out for the remainder of the season also. The protocol is he'll sit two days and then he'll go into a two-week stretch to make sure everything is fine. The thing is that we as coaches and the trainer Robert Long are more concerned with the welfare of the kids. We wouldn't do anything to try to rush Brandon back, he's a senior, so basically this game against Grambling was his last game in a Golden Lion uniform."
Marcus Terrell has seen action in four games this season, and he's completed 8/16 passes for 84 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
However, Coleman eluded to the fact that Terrell has started for the Golden Lions before, and he does have game experience under his belt. In 2015, Terrell made five starts, finishing 1-4. In those starts Terrell completed 50.9 percent of his passes while throwing three touchdowns and eight interceptions.
"If we go back two or three years under previous Offensive Coordinator Anthony Jones, Marcus actually started that campaign,” Coleman said.
“So Marcus does have SWAC hours, and he understands the speed of the game. We won some games with Marcus during his tenure as the starter. Le'Earl and Brandon have beaten him out over the past couple of years, but Marcus does have the ability to lead this football team. It hurts to have the two starters out, but we still have Marcus in place to lead us to a victory this weekend."
The next man up mentality has been in place for the Golden Lions all season, and this week they'll need a few guys to fill voids left by injuries.
"We did sustain some injuries last week, but it's next man up," Coleman said. "That's been the good thing about this football team, when the next man has that opportunity they come in and give it everything they got. We're excited to be headed to Houston for Prairie View and it should be a real good football game."
The Golden Lions and the Prairie View Panthers are set for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Panther Stadium.