Lions Prepare For Showdown Against FCS Foe Sam Houston State.
The no. 8 Texas A&M University-Commerce football team ended Lone Star Conference play with a spotless 6-0 record thanks to a27-14 victory against then-no. 10 Midwestern State University. Head Coach Colby Carthel’s team now heads to Huntsville to face off against no. 8 FCS opponent Sam Houston State on Saturday.
The Lions (7-1, 6-0 LSC) and the Mustangs (7-1, 4-1 LSC) both had struggles passing the ball early in the game, as wet and windy conditions wreaked havoc on quarterbacks. A&M-Commerce quarterback Harrison Stewart was able to find a rhythm as the game progressed, and finally connected with Buck Wilson with less than a minute to go in the half to put the Lions up 21-0 at the half.
Things got dicey in the third quarter, as Midwestern State began to finally get its wheels turning on offense, scoring twice to cut the lead to just seven points. The Lions were able to chip away more points with a Kristov Martinez field goal as time expired in the third quarter. Less than a minute into the fourth, Chase Thrasher nailed a 44-yarder after a Mustangs turnover, tied for the longest of his career.
The Lions defense clamped down on Midwestern, not allowing any points to the Mustangs, as well as forcing a turnover on every drive in the frame, sealing a 27-14 victory, and the first undefeated LSC season for the Lions in 25 years.
In addition to the clean record, A&M-Commerce won LSC Championships back-to-back for the first time since 1959. Stewart finished the game 11-20 for 193 yards and one touchdown and no interceptions. Richard Cooper once again lengthened his school record by rushing for 100 yards on the dot, his eighth straight game to reach the century mark. Theo Wofford rushed for 73 yards of his own. Backup quarterback Gabe Rodriguez saw a bit of action of his own, scoring both on a short run, and on a goal line pass in the second.
Perhaps the biggest star of the day was the Lions defense, which forced six turnovers on the day. Three fumble recoveries, including one on a muffed punt, and three interceptions helped subdue Midwestern. Perhaps the biggest turnover occurred when Darian Lindsey intercepted a Mustang pass at the Lions 19-yard line with just 2:54 remaining. Cole Pitts had an active day, wrapping up his game with nine tackles, a forced fumble, an interception, and a pass breakup.
A&M-Commerce will have to cut the celebrations short however, as it now faces its toughest opponent of the season in Sam Houston State. The Bearkats have a long and storied history against the Lions, with the two teams first meeting back in 1919. Sam Houston State was one of the charter members of the LSC, and played in the conference from 1931 until 1984.
The Bearkats are one of the most successful teams in the FCS, formerly NCAA Division I-AA. Sam Houston State is riding a five game winning streak after losses to Texas Tech and Lamar early in the season. Offense is the primary strength for the Bearkats, as they rank second in the nation in total yards per game with 548.4, and in scoring with 47.6 points per game.
The Lions lead the all time series against Sam Houston State with a record of 39-23-1, with the last meeting being a 40-21 Lions win in 1985. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Fans who can’t make the trip to Huntsville can listen to the game on 88.9 KETR, or online at ketr.org. The game will also be televised on Fox College Sports and streamed online at FoxSports.com and the Fox Sports Go app.