A&M-COMMERCE OPENS SEASON'S SECOND HALF HOSTING TARLETON STATE
A&M-Commerce Lions vs. Tarleton State Texans
Saturday, October 13 • 6 p.m.
Memorial Stadium • Commerce, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (1-4, 1-2 LSC); Tarleton State (2-3, 2-2 LSC)
Live Video: LionAthletics.com
Radio: KETR 88.9 FM (listen online at KETR.org)
Live Stats: LionAthletics.com
Twitter Updates: @Lion_Athletics
A&M-Commerce Game Notes (PDF)
Tarleton State Game Notes (PDF)
A&M-Commerce begins the second half of the 2012 season at home, hosting Lone Star Conference rival Tarleton State at 6 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium. It marks the third installment of the newly-created President's Trophy as the Lions will look to claim the prize for the first time.
Lions on the Web
Lion fans unable to make it to Memorial Stadium for this weekend's game against Tarleton State can still keep up to date on each snap Saturday. Live video of the game, powered by Stretch Internet, will be available at LionAthletics.com for a charge of $7.95. Full-season passes for the remaining three A&M-Commerce home games are also available through the subscription service. KETR 88.9 FM will once again carry the game live with Charlie Chitwood and Brock Callaway on the call and streamed live online at KETR.org. Live stats will be available at LionAthletics.com with Twitter followers receiving in-game updates @Lion_Athletics.
Scouting the Texans
2012: 2-3 overall, 2-2 Lone Star Conference (T-4th), 0-1 road
Last Three Games: L vs. Delta State (38-35), L at West Texas A&M (41-21), W vs. Eastern New Mexico (35-23)
Head Coach: Cary Fowler (Murray State, 1994). Third season at Tarleton State (11-16, .407)
Key Offensive Players:
• #7 Aaron Doyle (Jr., QB): 118-of-178 for 1,243 yards (66.3%), 9 TDs, 6 INTs, long of 50; 44 rushes for 83 yards (1.9 avg.), 2 TDs, long of 27
• #28 Vaughn Smith (Jr., RB): 70 rushes for 386 yards (5.5 avg.), 3 TDs, long of 69
• #22 Zach Henshaw (Fr., RB): 46 rushes for 270 yards (5.9 avg.), 2 TDs, long of 22
• #12 Clifton Rhodes III (So., WR): 32 catches for 360 yards (11.2 avg.), 1 TD, long of 31
• #16 Jeken Frye (Jr., WR): 19 catches for 229 yards (12.1 avg.), 1 TD, long of 43
Key Defensive Players:
• #8 Marquis Wadley (Jr., LB): 39 tackles (17 solo), 2.5 TFL, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT
• #9 Charles Moore (Jr., DB): 30 tackles (15 solo), 2.5 TFL
• #37 Matt Knicky (Sr., LB): 30 tackles (16 solo), 2.0 TFL, 1 FF
• #33 Marc Martinez (So., LB): 29 tackles (13 solo), 3.5 TFL
• #90 Rufus Johnson (Sr., DE): 16 tackles (12 solo), 8.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks, 2 QBH
Key Special Teams Players:
• #13 Blake Barnes (Fr., K): 5-of-6 FG attempts (83.3%), long of 41; 17-of-17 PAT (100.0%)
• #30 Isaac Arellano (So., P): 18 punts for 751 yards (41.7 avg.), long of 55, 4 50+, 5 I-20, 2 blocked
• #81 Jamal Mays (Sr., WR): 9 kick returns for 184 yards (20.4 avg.), long of 30
• #82 Arthur Buckingham (Sr., WR): 12 punt returns for 53 yards (4.4 avg.), long of 16
Synopsis: Tarleton State caught the attention of the entire nation by upsetting fourth-ranked Midwestern State 20-17, followed by a hard-fought 34-31 loss to Abilene Christian at Cowboys Stadium. The Texans come into the weekend having loss two straight, including a 41-21 defeat at West Texas and a 38-35 loss against Delta State in Stephenville.
Saturday marks the 20th meeting between A&M-Commerce and Tarleton State with the Texans hold a 10-9 lead in the all-time series. Tarleton has had the upper hand in recent years, winning 10 of the last 11 meeting between the two rivals, including three-straight victories after last season's 54-27 win in Stephenville. A&M-Commerce, which won the first eight meetings between the two schools, is 5-4 all-time against the Texans at Memorial Stadium as the Lions' last victory in the series was a 14-13 win in Commerce in 2006.
Early Deficit Proves Too Much As Lions Fall at Incarnate Word, 31-9
Coming off an emotional overtime victory against rival Texas A&M-Kingsville, A&M-Commercw was hoping some of that momentum would carry with them to San Antonio in a showdown with Incarnate Word. But it was the Cardinals that got off to the fast start, racing out to a 24-0 halftime lead and never looking back en route to the 31-9 decision. A handful of Lion miscues, including eight sacks on quarterback Deric Davis and a muffed punt return that resulted in a Cardinal touchdown proved to be costly as A&M-Commerce was never able to get its footing. The Lions were able to pull to within two touchdowns in the third quarter, trailing 24-9 off a seven-yard touchdown scamper by Davis and a 32-yard field goal by Jacob O'Neil but that was as close as A&M-Commerce could get, falling to 0-3 all-time against Incarnate Word.
Frosch Remains Lions' Unsung Hero
While a majority of the Lions have struggled to find their position in 2012, one player that has consistently been solid for A&M-Commerce is junior punter Cameron Frosch. Through the first five games of 2012, Frosch as logged 35 punts for 1,431 yards, ranking second in the Lone Star Conference and 24th nationally with a 40.9 average. Frosch, who logged a long of 65 in the season-opener against Southeastern Oklahoma State, has six punts of 50-or-more yards this season, including 10 placed inside the 20-yard line with no blocks.
Smith Emerging As Lions' Go-To Receiver
Junior wide receiver Garrett Smith continues to emerge as one of quarterback Deric Davis' favorite targets. Against the Cardinals, Smith had seven catches for 66 yards to lead the Lions, matching his career-best for receptions that he set the previous week against Texas A&M-Kingsville. Smith leads A&M-Commerce in both receptions (22) and receiving yards (263) in 2012 with one touchdown, ranking eighth in the Lone Star Conference in receptions per game (4.4) and 10th in receiving yards per game (52.6).
Lions and Texans Meet For Third Annual President's Cup
Saturday's game against Tarleton State marks the second-straight home "trophy game" for A&M-Commerce as the Lions and Texans battle for the newly-created President's Cup. The trophy game was established in 2010 to add to the already developing rivalry between A&M-Commerce and Tarleton State, but the Lions have yet to touch the cup as the Texans won the inaugural game 34-31 in 2010 before retaining it with last year's 54-27 victory in Stephenville. The Lions currently are in possession of the Chennault Cup after defeating Texas A&M-Kingsville 21-14 in overtime on September 29.
First Quarter Woes
One of the trends that has plagued the Lions in 2012 is a sluggish start to each of their five games. A&M-Commerce has yet to score a point in the opening quarter of any game this season, a trend which dates back to the final game of the 2011 season. So far this season, the Lions have been outscored 40-0 in the opening 15 minutes of play, which isn't good news considering Tarleton State has logged 35 points in the first quarter this season. The second quarter hasn't been much better for the Lions, being outscored 88-10 in the opening half.
First Half of 2012 Season Complete
With five games under its belt, A&M-Commerce has reached the midway point of the 2012 season, sitting at 1-4 overall and 1-2 in Lone Star Conference play. The Lions currently are sixth in the LSC standings, one game back of third-place Angelo State and a half game behind both Abilene Christian and Tarleton State, while sitting one game ahead of Eastern New Mexico, Incarnate Word and Texas A&M-Kingsville. The Lions will have plenty of opportunities to make their mark on the 2012 conference race over the next few weeks as A&M-Commerce faces four of the five teams ahead of them in the standings (West Texas A&M, Angelo State, Abilene Christian and Tarleton State), with the games against the Buffs, Wildcats and Texans taking place at Memorial Stadium.
Lions Among Lone Star Conference Leaders
Through the first half of the 2012 season, A&M-Commerce ranks among the Lone Star Conference leaders in a number of categories. As a team, the Lions lead continue to lead the LSC in pass defense (161.0 yards per game) while ranking second in both punting (35.5 net avg.) and kickoff coverage (40.0 net avg.). Individually, 13 Lions rank among the league leaders in 14 categories, highlighted by Danny Mason leading the Lone Star Conference in tackles per game (10.8) with Byron Brooks and Cameron Frosch ranking second in kick return average (19.7) and punting average (40.9) respectively.
Lions Among National Leaders
Through the first half of the 2012 season, a number of Lions remain among the nation's leaders in a number of categories. Senior linebacker Danny Mason, last week's Lone Star Conference Defensive Player of the Week, continues to lead the LSC in tackles per game at 10.8, ranking 21st in the nation. Mason is also tied for 48th in sacks per game with 0.7 following his two-sack effort at Incarnate Word Saturday and is tied for 51st in tackles for loss (1.40). Punter Cameron Frosch ranks second in the conference and 24th nationally in punting, averaging 40.9 yards per punt, while punt returner Israel Hughes is 45th in punt returns, averaging 7.17 yards per return. Offensively, wide receiver Garrett Smith has emerged as one of the Lions' go-to receivers as his 5.5 catches per game is tied for 61st nationally.
Lions Announce 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees
In two weeks, A&M-Commerce will induct five new members into the Lion Hall of Fame, bringing the prestigious total to 144. Curtis Buckley (football), John Carlos (track and field), Paul Peak (coach/administrator), Robert Peek (meritorious service) and Donna Tavener (coach) will join the Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 27, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Sam Rayburn Student Center. In addition, the Lions will recognize three Bobby Fox Alumni Coaching Award winners: Arizona State football coach Bob Connelly, former Oklahoma State basketball coach, the late Miranda Serna and Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson. Tickets for the event are $25 and can be reserved until Monday, October 21 by calling the A&M-Commerce Athletic Department at (903) 886-5558.
Following this weekend's President's Cup tilt against Tarleton State, A&M-Commerce heads back on the road to face Angelo State on Saturday, October 20 at San Angelo Stadium at 4 p.m. The Lions then return home for Homecoming 2012, going up against Abilene Christian at 2 p.m. Saturday, October 27.