LIONS STAMPEDED BY MUSTANGS, 65-14, AT COWBOYS STADIUM
No. 16 Midwestern State 65, A&M-Commerce 14
2012 Harvey Martin Classic · Lone Star Football Festival
Location: Cowboys Stadium · Arlington, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (0-3, 0-1 LSC); Midwestern State (1-1, 1-1 LSC)
Up Next: vs. Texas A&M-Kingsville · Saturday, Sept. 29 · Memorial Stadium · 6 p.m.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A&M-Commerce spotted 16th-ranked Midwestern State a 37-point lead and never recovered, getting routed by the Mustangs 65-14 at the kickoff game of the 2012 Lone Star Football Festival at Cowboys Stadium. The Lions drop to 0-3 on the year and 0-1 in LSC play while the Mustangs rebounded from their season-opening loss, improving to 1-1 on the year.
A&M-Commerce was able to muster just 271 yards of offense on the day, compared to 555 for Midwestern State who racked up 376 yards on the ground off 43 carries. On the night, however, the Lions committed seven turnovers, coming in the form of four interceptions and three fumbles, which resulted in 38 points off turnovers for Midwestern State. The Lions also suffered in the field position battle as A&M-Commerce's average starting position was their own 24 yard line, compared to the 44 yardline for the Mustangs.
Junior quarterback Deric Davis completed 14-of-21 passes for 129 yards, a touchdown and an interception while rushing for 49 yards on 10 carries, including a 60-yard touchdown scamper - a play which was ranked No. 10 on ESPN SportsCenter's Top Plays of the night.
Davis led the A&M-Commerce quarterback brigade, which also saw action from junior Justin Duncan and senior Kevin Vye. Duncan was 6-of-11 for 36 yards, but his night was highlighted by back-to-back interceptions to start the second half, the first of which was returned for a Mustang touchdown. Vye was 2-of-3 for 17 yards but also had a pick-six of his own.
Among the Lion receivers, junior Garrett Smith led A&M-Commerce with five catches for 43 yards, posting a long of 20. Three different Lions had three catches on the day with Tyler Rawlings posting 27 yards, Tevin Godfrey racking up 17 yards and Jamar Mosley adding 15. Seth Smith had the long catch of the night, hauling in a 41-yard reception from Davis while Blake Ohm made his first collegiate touchdown count - reeling in a circus-like catch in the corner of the endzone late in the third quarter.
A&M-Commerce had its best rushing output of the season, totaling 89 yards on 25 carries, although 60 of those yards came off Davis' touchdown scamper. Behind the 49 yards from Davis, sophomore Wayne Chapman added 33 yards on seven carries while Mosley racked up 13 yards on seven carries.
Defensively, senior Danny Mason led the way with seven tackles while Joel Wren notched six tackles, including a team-best four solo stops and a tackle for loss. Marlin Terrell, Jeremy Dotson and Kristoddie Woods each finished with four tackles with J.T. Bates, Cole Pitts and Marcus Fore each adding a tackle for loss.
After a strong showing in the second half against UT-San Antonio Saturday, A&M-Commerce was looking to make another statement against Midwestern State, who was coming off an upset loss at Tarleton State last week. The Lions held the Mustangs to field goals on two of their first three possessions, but the offense stuttered as the Lions managed just 16 yards in the first quarter as Midwestern State pulled out to a 13-0 lead.
Midwestern State continued to hold the Lions at bay in the second quarter, pulling ahead to a 23-0 halftime lead behind an extended touchdown drive and a 37-yard field goal as time expired.
Against the Roadrunners Saturday, A&M-Commerce came out energized in the second half and outplayed UT-San Antonio for the final 30 minutes. There would not be a repeat performance Thursday as Duncan's first pass of the third quarter was returned 32 yards for a pick-six, followed by another intercepted on the next snap which triggered a 35-point outburst for the Mustangs.
A&M-Commerce had a few highlights in the quarter, including Davis' highlight reel rush and the touchdown grab from Ohm, but it was a true case of too little too late as Midwestern took a 58-14 lead into the fourth quarter before closing out the game with the 65-14 victory. The result was eerily similar to the Mustangs' 63-17 victory over the Lions in last year's Lone Star Football Festival.
For Midwestern State, Brandon Kelsey completed 13-of-19 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown, but it was the Mustang running game that caused havoc all night for the Lions. Chauncey Harris rushed for 148 yards on just four carries, posting a pair of touchdowns while Peter Smith tallied 82 yards on 11 carries and a score.
A&M-Commerce now has a bye week at perhaps the best possible time, giving the Lions 15 days to rest and make the necessary adjustments. A&M-Commerce returns to the field on Saturday, September 29 facing Texas A&M-Kingsville at Memorial Stadium. It marks the annual battle for the Chennault Cup as kickoff against the Javelinas is set for 6 p.m.