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No. 11 Lions face no. 10 Mustangs in homecoming showdown

Memorial Stadium will host the third game of the season in which two nationally ranked teams square off, this time featuring the no. 11 Lions and the no. 10 Mustangs.
Memorial Stadium will host the third game of the season in which two nationally ranked teams square off, this time featuring the no. 11 Lions and the no. 10 Mustangs.

Memorial Stadium will host its third top-25 matchup this season on Saturday when the no. 10 Midwestern State University Mustangs travel to Commerce to square off against the no. 11 Texas A&M University–Commerce in their homecoming game.

The Lions (6-1, 5-0 Lone Star Conference) and Midwestern State (7-0, 4-0 LSC) go into this matchup as the only undefeated teams in conference play, and this game is looking to decide the seeding for the upcoming Lone Star Conference Playoff.

A&M-Commerce is coming off of its fifth win in a row, garnering a 38-20 in Canyon against West Texas A&M (2-4, 1-3 LSC) last Saturday.

In the contest, the Lions found themselves shut out in the first quarter for the first time all season, but regained their form in the second, putting up 21 points and grabbing a lead that they would hold for the rest of the game. Head Coach Colby Carthel was pleased at how his team was able to right the ship in the second quarter.

“The wind was blowing about 20 miles an hour into our faces in the first, and our offense did a good job of chewing up clock.” Carthel said. “But then we got the wind at our backs and were able to really get after them.”

Running back Richard Cooper was business as usual, posting his seventh 100-yard rushing performance of the season in as many games, setting a new school record. Carthel likes the dynamic that Cooper adds to the offense.

“He’s been steady Eddy toting the rock this year.” Carthel said. “Both him and Theo [Wofford] have been tremendous at running the football.”

Cooper and the rest of the Lions will have to be at their best to beat the Mustangs.

  Midwestern State is coming off a resounding 35-10 victory over then-no. 10 Humboldt State. The Mustangs have gotten things done mostly on the ground, averaging 217 rushing yards per game. They also feature a two-headed quarterback tandem of Quade Coward, who was named the LSC Offensive Player of the Week, and Hagen Hucthinson. The pair have combined for over 1500 passing yards and 12 touchdowns.

Defensively, Midwestern State is lead by senior safety Marqui Christian, who is fourth in the conference with 60 total tackles. The Mustang defense flexed its muscles last week, holding the top scoring offense in the nation to 40 points below its season average. The Mustangs also have the best scoring defense in the LSC, averaging only 19 points given up per game.

The Lions have struggled recently against Midwestern State, with the Mustangs winning the last meetings. Last season, the Lions entered the fourth quarter against Midwestern State up 31-14, but saw the lead quickly evaporate, and ended up being defeated in overtime by a score of 37-40. A&M-Commerce has not defeated a Mustangs team since 2005.

The start time of the contest, which was originally scheduled at 4 p.m., has been moved up to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Fans can listen live to the game live on 88.9 FM or online at ketr.org.