By Alex Goodwin
The Prairie View A&M Panthers fell to Texas A&M Saturday by a score of 67-0. The loss drops the Panthers to 1-1 on the young season. There have been positives for the Panthers as certain players have stood out, but as with anything there are things the Panthers can improve upon. As the Purple and Gold look to get back into the win column when they return to the field this Saturday against Alabama A&M, these are the top five takeaways for the Panthers through the first two contests.
1. Demarquo Lastrappe is off to a strong start
The high-flying Panther offense was not able to get off the ground against Texas A&M, but wide receiver Demarquo Lastrappe certainly did his part. The senior wideout had a career high six grabs for 88 yards, including a spectacular leaping grab near the sideline for 27 yards. The Spring, Texas native currently ranks second on the team in receptions, and is on pace to easily surpass his 19 reception 2015 campaign. As the Panther offense aims to return to form versus Alabama A&M, Prairie View quarterback Trey Green may look early and often to the hyper-athletic, 6’4 LaStrappe.
2. The Prairie View defense must limit big plays
Big plays can be the deciding factor in a football game, and one could definitely make the argument that big plays from the Aggie offense were the difference in Saturday’s game, and were nearly the Panthers’ undoing against Texas Southern. The PVAMU defense gave up more than nearly a dozen plays of 20 or more yards in just two games, including touchdowns of 32,34,46,and 64 yards. If the Panthers hope to realize their championship dreams of hoisting the SWAC championship trophy in December, they will have to limit explosive plays from the opposing offenses by limiting coverage busts and blown defensive assignments on all three levels of the defense. [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” cart=”y” identifier=”B00QU1JDNS” locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]
3. Transfer Terrence Singleton is making a big impact in the Panther secondary
It’s not often that players from Power Five programs transfer and end up in the SWAC, but the Panther defense is certainly happy that Terrence Singleton made the choice to finish his collegiate career on “The Hill”. Singleton, a graduate transfer from Baylor, is Prairie View’s leading tackler, tallying 19 stops after two weeks. Singleton also has a duo of pass breakups in his first two contests in a Prairie View uniform. His superb performance has certainly been noticed by PV head coach Willie Simmons, who noted Singleton “showed up” for the second consecutive game. If Singleton continues his strong play, defenses will think twice before throwing in the direction of the Port Arthur, Texas native.
4. Jalen Morton must be ready to play
After a big hit from an Aggie defender late in the first half Saturday, Prairie View A&M signal caller Trey green was briefly sidelined with a back injury. Redshirt freshman Jalen Morton played briefly in relief of Green carrying the ball on three consecutive quarterback runs. This is the second consecutive week Morton has had to take the field due to Green being shaken up. Coach Simmons said after the game that Green is “fine” and will be available to play next week. However, he added that the offensive line will have to do a better job of protecting the senior signal caller. If at some point Green is forced out of the lineup for an extended period of time, offensive coordinator Alex Jackson and quarterback Coach K.J. Black must ensure that Morton is prepared to execute at a high level in order give the Panther offense a chance to put points on the board.
5. The Panther offense needs to establish the running game
It’s been said that if a defense limits the running attack of their opponent, they have an excellent chance of leaving the field victorious. Both of the Panthers’ first two contests, the defensive fronts of Texas Southern and Texas A&M, neutralized the Panther rushing attack. Prairie View has gained less than 150 yards on the ground in their first two contests. “Whenever you can’t establish the ground game it makes it very tough offensively, and it makes us one dimensional, Simmons said after the Texas A&M loss. It is imperative that the Prairie View offensive front gives the backfield quartet of Dawonya Tucker, Caleb Broach, Javonte Ham and Stafon McCray running room as PVAMU resumes SWAC play next week against Alabama A&M. If the Prairie View running game can get on track, it will allow offensive coordinator Alex Jackson to utilize more play action passes as well as screens, in addition to providing the explosive Prairie View wideouts more single coverage, as more defenders come into the box in an effort to stop the run.
Alex Goodwin is the sports editor for The Panther Newspaper at Prairie View A&M University.