Abilene, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Once members of the Division II Lone Star Conference, Texas-based programs Incarnate Word and Abilene Christian will square off for the first time on the FCS level Saturday as the two teams continue to transition into Southland Conference play for the 2014 season.
The two teams, both currently FCS independents, are scheduled to play each other one more time this season on Nov. 9. Considering both have futures in the Southland Conference, the potential for a newfound FCS rivalry is apparent.
Abilene Christian began the year with three straight wins over lesser-division opponents, but then dropped three consecutive games. The two FCS matchups the team has faced this season include a loss to Illinois State and a win over Houston Baptist, a first-year developmental program also bound for the Southland Conference.
Quarterback John David Baker and receivers Taylor Gabriel and Darrell Cantu- Harkless have been the focal points of Abilene Christian's 4-3 team.
Like the Wildcats, Incarnate Word has fared well against teams in lesser divisions. The Cardinals are 3-3, but have lost three games against future Southland foes Central Arkansas, Sam Houston State and Southeastern Louisiana.
Quarterback Trent Brittain is on the Jerry Rice Award Watch List, while running back Johnny Sessions has enjoyed a strong statistical first year on the FCS level. He has five rushing touchdowns.
Abilene Christian has won all three previous games, including 24-12 in San Antonio last year.
This year's matchup should feature an evenly balanced offensive attack. Though it takes time adjusting to a higher level of football, both teams have received performances worthy of optimism as they move upward in the FCS ranks.