Ike forces ENMU football time change

By Dave Wagner, Freedom New Mexico

Southeastern Oklahoma isn’t taking any chances.

The school decided Friday to move its start time for today’s Lone Star Conference crossover football game against Eastern New Mexico University ahead four hours, to 1 p.m. (MDT), because of the potential for bad weather caused by Hurricane Ike.

“We feel like for our fans and our guests from Eastern New Mexico that it is our best interest to move the game up to avoid any possible weather situations …” Southeastern athletics director Keith Baxter said in announcing the move the school’s Web site.

ENMU (1-1) hopes to build on its 37-24 win over Southwestern Oklahoma last week at Blackwater Draw. The Savage Storm (0-2), playing its home opener, is coming off a 27-20 loss to Midwestern State last week after getting thumped 51-10 by Tarleton State in its opener.

“They’re a typical Southeastern team,” ENMU coach Mark Ribaudo said. “They play hard and they’re well-coached. They’ve been on the road for two weeks, so they’ve started out pretty tough.”

Southeastern coach Ray Richards said his team expects to treat this game like any other, despite the slow start.

“They’re all big,” he said. “When you’re 0-2, it puts a little more urgency on it.

“Eastern improved a heck of a lot from Week 1 to Week 2. They look like a pretty good team.”

Southeastern got three touchdowns last week from freshman running back Baylen Laury, including one to tie the game 20-20 late in the third quarter.

Midwestern, though, punched over the game-winner on a 1-yard run by Bobby Ransom in the final two minutes.

The competitive loss certainly made the Savage Storm feel a little better.

“We had a chance to win that thing,” Richards said. “Obviously, I don’t think Midwestern was as good as Tarleton, but we played a lot better all-around.”

Laury, a 5-foot-10, 185-pounder from Forney, Texas, also caught two passes for 15 yards and accounted for nearly two-thirds of Southeastern’s 211 total yards against the Mustangs. He was named the LSC North Division’s player of the week on offense.

Ribaudo said he expects the Savage Storm’s defense to try to pressure ENMU’s spread attack.

“They’re really aggressive,” he said. “They bring a lot of blitzes and they fly around to the ball.”

He said sophomore quarterback Cory Baker earned a second start after going 34 for 46 for 278 yards against Southwestern.

The win was good for the team’s psyche.

“From our perspective, it’s a matter of how much we’ve improved on offense,” Ribaudo said. “We made some big improvements between week one and week two.”