Angelo State and West Texas A&M played the first Division II football game of the 2020 season on Saturday. The Rams beat the Buffaloes 21-10 as the sport made its much-anticipated return to DII. Here are three observations from Angelo State's win:
Strong second-half defense
Angelo State led 14-10 after 30 minutes but was outgained 186-170 by West Texas A&M. The Rams' defensive efforts in the second half was a huge spark and may have been the difference between a win and loss. Angelo State was among the top defensive teams in its conference in 2019 after allowing 21 touchdowns a year ago. If the Rams can keep consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks the way they did Saturday, they'll have a chance to be one of the top units in DII this fall. ASU limited the Buffaloes to 89 yards in the second half while keeping them off the scoreboard. Angelo State owned the line of scrimmage with three sacks and nine tackles for loss. Linebacker Daron Allman was a force in the backfield with 2.5 sacks.
One of the more impressive takeaways from Saturday's contest was Angelo State's game flow. After a long break from football, it's not uncommon for teams to make mental errors. But ASU avoided those mistakes when it came to sustaining drives. The Rams had only three penalties for the game. Quarterback Zach Bronkhorst managed the game by going 18-of-28 for 178 yards with no turnovers. Running backs Nathaniel Omaye and Carl Odom operated out of a split backfield and received a near-equal workload with both rushing for more than 70 yards and a touchdown. ASU's ground game also gave them a slight edge in time of possession.
Show out for the fans
Angelo State was able to have a limited capacity crowd at LeGrand Stadium on Saturday night. It was also the only Rams home game of the 2020 DII football season. But ASU fans were treated to a win over West Texas A&M. Angelo State will meet West Texas A&M later this season on the road (Oct. 24) in addition to contests at FCS opponents Stephen F. Austin (Oct. 10) and Abilene Christian (Nov. 7).