BATESVILLE, Ark. – It's a new year, and for the Lyon College football squad, there is renewed optimism. And there is plenty of reason for the positive outlook, with the nation's third-leading rusher back, along with seven starters back on both sides of the football, a new head coach, two new coordinators on the coaching staff and a squad that has another year of experience under its belt.
The Scots will have the opportunity to start the 2016 off in grand fashion Thursday night when Lyon hosts Wayland Baptist University in a non-conference matchup at Pioneer Stadium. It's the nation's first college football game of the year and Lyon is looking to start the year off with a bang by recording its first victory since restarting football one year ago after a 64-year hiatus. The game has been designated as a "Blue Out", which means Lyon fans are urged to wear navy blue to the game.
The contest, which kicks off at 8 p.m., will air (audio) on KZLE-FM Radio (93.1) and on the station's website (see below), with "Big Daddy" Randy Alan and Mark Lamberth bringing the live action. The pregame show will get underway at 7:30 p.m. The game will also be streamed live on the Scots Digital Network (see link below) for $9.95. Tickets will go on sale when gates open at 6:30 p.m. Adult admission is $5, with children six and under admitted free. Tailgating is expected to be in full force by 6 p.m.
FOLLOW THE GAME
For FREE live stats – CLICK HERE
For pay-per-view video/audio on Scots Digital Network ($9.95) – CLICK HERE
Listen to the game FREE on KZLE-FM (93.1) – CLICK HERE
Although Lyon College and Wayland Baptist University are both members of the Central States Football League, Thursday's game will be a non-conference matchup and the first of two meetings between the squads in 2016. The teams will also square off in a conference game on Oct. 29 in Plainview, Texas… Lyon is coming off a 0-11 campaign in 2015 in the first season of football since 1951. The Scots were 0-6 in CSFL competition last season… WBU posted a 4-6 record in 2015, tying Texas College and Bacone College in fourth place in the league with a 2-4 record.
The matchup will be the first official college football game in the country in 2016... after tonight's matchup, Lyon will have 10 days off and won't step back on the field until Sept. 3, when the Scots travel to Columbia, Ky. for a matchup with 12th-ranked Lindsey Wilson College at 1:30 p.m. The Scots will host three of their first four games this season and four of their first six contests.
WAYLAND LEAD SERIES, 1-0
Tonight's game is only the second meeting between the Scots and the Pioneers. Last season the two squads played in the final game of the regular season. WBU jumped out to a 14-0 lead after the first quarter and then saw the Scots score 20 fourth-quarter points as the Pioneers claimed a 51-30 win… The Pioneers outgained Lyon 419-335 in total offense, with Michael Romero rushing for 161 yards on 24 carries. He scored a touchdown. Quarterback Payson Bain, who returns this season, completed 8-of-16 passes for 137 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions… Lyon was led offensively by Michael Bowles (SR/Earle, Ark.)' 116 yards on the ground, carrying the ball 28 times and scoring a TD. Dwane Robinson (SO/Palm Bay, Fla.) caught six passes for 81 yards and a score. Both of the Scots are back this year.
PIONEER DEFENDER IS ONE OF BEST
WBU senior linebacker Alden Mann is a NAIA Preseason All-American. Last season he finished 124 tackles, including 57 solo stops. He finished third in the nation in tackles per game (13.8), fifth in tackles for a loss per game (2.1), 12th in sacks per game (0.8), 14th in tackles for losses (14) and 28th in sacks (7.0)… Other key returners include Bain, who completed 121-of-297 passes a year ago for 1,816 yards, 19 touchdowns, but also 20 interceptions… leading receiver Preston Woodard returns, catching 32 aerials for 614 yards and five scores. He averaged 19.2 yards per catch.
SCOTS RETURN SEVEN STARTERS EACH WAY
Lyon College returns seven starters on both offense and defense this season, led by Bowles, who finished third in the nation among NAIA players with 1,431 yards. He also ranked fourth in yards rushing per game (130.1). He carried the bulk of the Scots offense last season, being handed the ball 291 times. Dwane Robinson returns at quarterback after completing 33-of-85 passes for 515 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions. He can also run the ball, picking up 252 yards on 53 carries, averaging 4.8 yards per rush in 2015. Both players were All-CSFL players last season. Robinson averaged 27.4 yards on 14 kickoff returns and caught 27 passes for 380 yards and two scores… On defense, all-conference starter Stephen Benedik (SO/Panama City, Fla.) comes back after leading Lyon in tackles a year ago with 89 tackles, including 60 solo stops. He had four tackles for losses and 2.5 sacks.
WHAT LYON HEAD COACH KYLE PHELPS SAYS ABOUT WAYLAND
OFFENSE: "Wayland Baptist is a well-coached team. Butch (Henderson) does a fantastic job of getting that team ready. Offensively they run kind of a zone-read type read type scheme where they run some power things. They run almost exclusively out of the (shot) gun, with one back in the backfield. They do a lot of zone blocking, with some pulling and some motion. But mostly you'll see a lot of one-block power running game, with some inside and outside zone stuff."