LANGSTON — Langston continued to flex its muscle against Central States Football League teams Saturday afternoon at Anderson Stadium. Whether that helps the Lions in the long run will be left to those who vote in the NAIA poll.
Langston moved a step closer to .500 overall and remained unbeaten in the CSFL after its 53-7 victory over Oklahoma Baptist before a crowd of about 1,500.
Freshman quarterback Mark Wright Jr. accounted for two touchdowns, and running backs D'Mark Collier and Kievon Jackson added a pair of touchdown runs each for Langston, which improved to 3-4 overall and 3-0 in the CSFL. The Lions overcame a slow start in just their second home game of the season to beat a reborn OBU program that hoped to challenge for the league championship in its first year of varsity football since 1940.
Instead, the Bison fell to 2-6 and 1-2. The loss assured Oklahoma Baptist of its first losing campaign since the 1935 squad finished 2-6-1.
“They're going to have to be reckoned with in the next year or so,” Langston coach Dwone Sanders said of Oklahoma Baptist. “It's scary to think what (OBU coach) Chris Jensen is going to put together over there. They're all juniors, sophomores and freshmen. But until that day comes, we just have to be sure and stay the course here for now.”
A brutal nonconference schedule against NCAA Division I-AA programs — at Northern Colorado, at Incarnate Word (Texas), at Nicholls State (La.) and at Northwestern State (La.) — led to an 0-4 start for Langston. Since then, the Lions have used the experience to post one-sided victories over fellow NAIA members Texas College (34-8), Southwestern Assemblies of God (41-17) and now OBU.
Langston will be favored next Saturday at Panhandle State, and then comes a probable CSFL championship-deciding game Nov. 9 at No. 25-ranked Bacone in Muskogee.
Even if Langston wins the rest of its games, it might not be enough to make the NAIA playoff cut. The Central States champ does not receive an automatic bid to the postseason; instead, it must be ranked in the top-20.
Langston began this season rated No. 23 but fell out after the four-straight losses to open the year. Despite its strength of schedule, and even if it wins out by large margins, voters might not let Langston back in the poll.