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Lions rout WT, 48-21

Richard Cooper rushed 16 times for 81 yards against WT.

The No. 23 ranked Lions (6-1) delivered a 48-21 win over West Texas A&M (4-3), and guaranteeing themselves at least a share of the Lone Star Conference title for the first time since 1990.


The Lions are now 5-0 in conference, and have the opportunity to go undefeated in conference for the first time in 24 years when the 1990 squad accomplished the feat going 7-0.


Coming off a three interception-game last week at Angelo State, Lions quarterback Tyrik Rollison bounced back in a big way, dishing out three long touchdown passes on the night. The longest was a spectacular 61-yard strike to Ricky Collins midway through the second quarter, which gave the Lions a 16-14 lead that they would not relinquish. Collins found pay-dirt again in the third quarter on a 27-yard pass from Rollison, while senior receiver Seth Smith also got in on the action in with a 28-yard catch of his own.


Collins led all Lions receivers on the night with nine grabs for 153 yards to go along with his two touchdowns, his best receiving total of 2014. He now has 47 catches on the year for 766 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Also getting involved in the passing attack was Vernon Johnson, who provided his usual 100+ yard receiving game –102-- on six grabs.


The Lions most spectacular drive was without a doubt their gambit near the end of the first half, following the long strike to Collins. The Lions ran a surprise onside-kick, which was successful thanks to the efforts of Colton Lyon, who recovered it around midfield. The Lions drove 40 yards before being bottled up by WT at the five yard line, putting the Lions at 4th and goal with three yards to go. The Lions lined up for the field goal, but instead of settling for the three points, holder Trever Lasseter took the ball and shoveled it up to the waiting hands of Theo Wofford, who ran it in to the end zone to put the Lions up 23-14 going into the half.


The Lions relied on Richard Cooper for the second straight game in the ground, who delivered 76 yards on the ground on 13 carries for 5.8 yards per carry. However, the only rushing score the Lions were able to come up with was in the hands of backup quarterback Deric Davis, who provided a short-range run from one yard out to give the Lions their first touchdown of the game.


Defensively, the Lions secondary patrol the field making the game difficult to navigate for West Texas A&M quarterback Preston Rabb, who provided the Lions with three takeaways on the evening. Tu’u Liu and Ronald Fields each had interceptions for moderate returns, while Cole Pitts gave the Lions a third-quarter pick-six, his first interception of his career, which he returned for 50 yards. Pitts’ touchdown, which complimented his five solo-tackles and 10 total tackles, put the Lions up 48-14 -- A&M-Commerce’s largest lead of the evening, Additionally Charles Woods seemed to always be near the ball with 16 tackles, a tie for his highest total of his season, as well as a forced fumble.


The Lions now possess a share of the conference-title no matter what happens the rest of the season. They can wrap things up and guarantee themselves the whole outright title next week, as they are set to travel to Wichita Falls to face the Midwestern State University Mustangs (4-2) on Saturday, October 25 at 7 p.m. MSU currently sits in a four-way-tie for second place in the conference at 3-2 in league play and 4-2 overall.


Fans can follow all the action from the 2014-15 season on www.LionAthletics.com, through twitter @Lion_Athletics and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LionsAthletics