Nine points.

That's the total point differential between West Texas A&M and Tarleton State on the Lone Star Conference gridiron during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

West Texas A&M edged Tarleton 30-26 in 2005 and 21-16 in 2006 to prevent the Texans from entering the post season either year.

The seemingly annual regular season finale between the two marquee names in the LSC is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Stephenville.

The 2007 match-up between the Texans and Buffaloes has glaring similarities to the 2005 and 2006 meetings.

Both offenses are loaded, as WTAMU averages 43.4 points per contest and Tarleton scores 39.5.

Both defenses have been capable at times and exposed at others. West Texas A&M gives up 18.1 points per battle and Tarleton surrenders 21.7.

As always, the quarterback match-up is intriguing.

Dalton Bell and Richard Bartel have gone off to practice squad duty in the NFL, but Keith Null and Scott Grantham have filled the respective voids brilliantly. Grantham leads the league in pass efficiency at 162.3, while Null is fourth at 154.0. The Buffaloes average 379 yards through the air to Tarleton's 281.2.

The Texans hold a slight edge in rushing yards with their three-man platoon system picking up 183.2 yards per contest, but it's the Buffaloes that net over 500 total yards on an average day.

West Texas A&M has already secured at least a share of the championships both in the South Division and the Lone Star Conference, and has posted 10 wins for the first time in school history.

Tarleton will be looking for its second 10 win season since joining the NCAA, and first since 2001. The Texans are also hoping for a return trip to the national playoffs for the first time since 2003, while the Buffs are planning a third straight trip.

If Tarleton and Abilene Christian both win Saturday, the conference and division titles will be split three ways, but if West Texas A&M can pull off a hat trick with its third straight victory over Tarleton, the Buffs will be outright champs yet again.

Brad Keith is the sports editor at the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at (254) 965-3124, ext. 241, or by e-mail at