MSU Roundup: Football Rankings, Great Golfing

FOOTBALL: Mustangs soar to highest ranking in program history at No. 5

Midwestern State's climb up the American Football Coaches' Association Division II Poll reached new heights Monday as the Mustangs claimed the highest national ranking in program history at No. 5.

MSU improved the best start in program history to 8-0 while claiming at least a share of its second Lone Star Conference championship in the last three years with a 57-34 win at Eastern New Mexico Saturday afternoon at Blackwater Draw.

The Mustangs go for their first outright LSC title Saturday afternoon against No. 20 West Texas A&M at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.

MSU is one of nine teams from NCAA Division II's Super Region 4 to receive mention in the poll which includes four teams from the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association, three from the LSC, and one from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and one from the Great American Conference.

The region boasts eight ranked squads including No. 2 Pittsburg State (Kan.), No. 3 Northwest Missouri, No. 5 MSU, No. 9 Washburn (Kan.), No. 16 Abilene Christian, No. 19 Humboldt State, No. 20 West Texas A&M and No. 25 Missouri Western while Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) is receiving votes.

Midwestern has received votes in 67 of the last 68 reporting periods and previously had reached a high point of No. 7 during the 2009 season.

FOOTBALL: Unbeaten Mustangs slipped to second in South Central Region Rankings

Midwestern State kept its unbeaten record intact with a decisive win over Eastern New Mexico, but slipped to No. 2 in the latest South Central Region rankings released Monday afternoon by the NCAA Division II Football Committee.

The Mustangs joined Pittsburg State (Kan.) as the only undefeated teams in the region, but the Gorillas leapfrogged MSU to take over to top spot in an idle week.

Both teams face tough challenges this week with PSU playing to No. 4 Washburn (Kan.) (8-1), while the Mustangs battle No. 6 West Texas A&M (6-2) Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

Northwest Missouri (8-1) retained the No. 3 position, but battles No. 7 Missouri Western this weekend, while Abilene Christian (Texas) is No. 5, Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) is No. 8, Humboldt State (Calif.) is No. 9 and Central Missouri is 10th to fill out the rankings.

The top six teams advance to the NCAA Division II playoffs with the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds receiving a bye into the second round.

The playoff field will be announced Sunday, Nov. 13 with the first round commencing the following weekend.

Men's Golf: Smith fires record round at Lion Fall Invitational, MSU second after Round 1

Midwestern State junior Sam Smith fired a school-record eight-under-par 64 to hold the first round individual lead and help the Mustangs to second place after the first round of the Lion Fall Invitational hosted by Texas A&M-Commerce at The Tribute Golf Club.

The Archer City junior toured the par 72, 6,535-yard links-style course that features hole designs similar to famous Scottish Courses like St. Andrew's and Carnoustie in fine fashion, hitting 16 greens in regulation.

The Mustangs have three players in the top 10 after the first round, standing second with a 10-under 278 team score. Central Oklahoma holds the lead at 12-under 276, two strokes ahead of MSU, with Dallas Baptist third at four-under 284 and Cameron fourth at even-par 288.

"Sam had an incredible round," said MSU Coach Jeff Ray. "He had great distance control, hit the fairway, played his irons well and made a lot of putts. He was very impressive."

Smith's round set new MSU records for low score and score relative to par. The previous record was held by Mitch Molen, when he fired a course record seven-under 65 at the Queen's Invitational in Bluffton, S.C. on Oct. 13, 2008.

Ray explained that the low scores came in part because of the openness of the wide fairways with few trees.

"There was no wind, and it played much easier," Ray added. "But putting was at a premium because of the undulations of the greens."

A pair of Mustangs stand six-strokes behind Smith in an eighth place tie at two-under 70. Jeremy LeGuen and Trevor Arianna helped stack up the MSU card, with Raine Copeland adding a two-over 74 to complete the team scoring and Derek Oland adding a four-over 76. Antonio Herran, playing as an individual in the tournament, shot a six-over 78.

"We played well and it's a fun course," Ray continued. "With so many of our guys from the Metroplex, they got a chance to play in front of the friends and family. It's been very positive."

Smith and Herran are the only MSU players in the tourney not from the metropolitan Dallas area.

Smith is a shot in front of UCO's Andrew Green, who carded a seven-under 65. Five others are tied for third at three-under 69.

A total of 24 of the 58 players shot par or better in the first round.

The tournament concludes on Tuesday.