Hounds face UIW in ‘football festival’

Dave Wagner

Eastern New Mexico University’s football team, along with the rest of the Lone Star Conference, will get to experience “Jerry’s House” next season.

The LSC, which hosted three games last September at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, has expanded its “Football Festival” to two days with all nine football schools participating.

ENMU will play in the first of six games, facing Incarnate Word at 11 a.m. (MDT) on Friday, Sept. 14. Texas A&M-Commerce and Midwestern State meet in the second game, followed by a high school contest.

The Greyhounds were originally scheduled to host UIW on Sept. 15.

“It’s good for us, especially for recruiting purposes,” first-year ENMU coach Josh Lynn said. “It’s really neat for us to get to play there in a big-time atmosphere. I believe kids respond to that.”

The other five LSC teams will play on Saturday, including a non-conference clash in the opener between Angelo State and two-time NCAA Division II national champion and Gulf South Conference member Valdosta State.

“Last year’s festival proved to be a shining moment for the Lone Star Conference, and we’re confident this year’s version will be even better with all nine teams involved,” LSC commissioner Stan Wagnon said. “Our vision for this event remains to showcase LSC football programs while providing the LSC member schools with an opportunity to reconnect with alumni throughout north Texas. There’s no better place to do that than Cowboys Stadium.”

The 2011 event drew an LSC-record 24,837 fans to the tripleheader.

“This is a gem for Eastern and for the Lone Star Conference, as no other D-II conference in the country gets to play in Cowboys Stadium,” ENMU athletic director Jeff Geiser said in a release from the school, adding that the school’s marching band and spirit squad will also perform.

Cowboys Stadium, the brainchild of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, is the largest, most technologically advanced sports and entertainment venue in the world. Designed by HKS and built by Manhattan Construction, the $1.2 billion stadium features two monumental arches, the world’s largest HD quality video board, an expansive retractable roof and the largest retractable end zone doors in the world.

The three-year-old stadium also hosts the Cotton Bowl Classic, and will be the site for the 2014 NCAA men’s Final Four. It has already served as home to Super Bowl XLV in 2011, the 2010 NBA All-Star Game and the 2009 and 2010 Big 12 championship football games.

Notes — Lynn, hired in mid-December, said recruiting is coming along reasonably well, given the late start for his staff. He said the Hounds won’t have as many signees as normal on national signing day (Feb. 1). “We’re diligently trying to catch up,” he said. “I think it’ll be a pretty good little class.” … Lynn has one more coaching position to fill, inside linebackers, and said that will probably happen in May. His staff will include four fulltime and four graduate assistants.

LSC FOOTBALL FESTIVAL
At Cowboys Stadium
Arlington, Texas
All Times MDT
Friday, Sept. 14

Incarnate Word vs. Eastern New Mexico, 11 a.m.
Texas A&M-Commerce vs. Midwestern State, 3 p.m.
High school game, teams TBD, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 15
Valdosta State (Ga.) vs. Angelo State, 11 a.m.
Tarleton State vs. Abilene Christian, 3 p.m.
Texas A&M-Kingsville vs. West Texas A&M, 7 p.m.