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Lions win Chennault Cup for third year in a row

Ryan Scott, Sports Editor

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After a rocky start, the Texas A&M University – Commerce Lions came roaring back to beat Texas A&M University – Kingsville 55-20 at AT&T Stadium on Saturday and bring home the Chennault Cup for the third straight year.

In the battle for the Chennault Cup, the trophy given to the winner of the annual matchup between the two teams, A&M – Commerce brought home the trophy for the third straight year, giving them five wins in 18 battles for the cup.

A&M – Kingsville put on the pressure early after blocking a punt at the end of the Lions’ first possession and scoring on a five-yard run by Javelinas quarterback Trey Mitchell. After blocking the extra point attempt, the Lions got the boost they needed, scoring on their next drive. The Lions did not trail for the rest of the game.

The Lions offense continuously pressured the Javelina defense throughout the game, with senior running back Joe Bergeron leading the running game with 101 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. Quarterback Tyrik Rollison was consistent throughout the game, completing 15 of 21 passes for 196 yards, and two TDs (one passing and one rushing).

What had many fans pleased was the play of the Lions defense, who allowed just 289 yards of total offense, the least amount of yards allowed since the Oct. 12, 2013 game against the Javelinas. Spotlighting the stellar defensive play was senior defensive lineman Tu’u Lui, who got in the way of two passes and came down with two interceptions, one of which was returned 35 yards for a score.

Head coach Colby Carthel was pleased with his team’s performance in the game.

“We got off on the wrong foot, it wasn’t how we wanted to start this game,” Carthel said. “But after our first score we just got rolling, and that first interception really jumpstarted our team.”

“That touchdown I scored was all teamwork,” Lui said. “I was able to get the right blocks from my teammates and they cleared the way to the end zone.”

Lui also said “that was my first touchdown, ever.”

Bergeron commented on his role as the Lions’ feature running back. “It is a tough role to fill but that’s what practice is for,” he said. “I’ve been watching a lot of film and getting a lot of reps in practice so I’m ready to get a lot of carries.”

The game marked the 63rd overall meeting between the two teams, and the Lion’s 55 points are the most scored in any of those matchups.

“This is a storied rivalry,” Carthel said. “It’s special to be here and walk away with this trophy.”

Lions on the road to face ENMU

Now the Lions will turn their eyes west to Portales, NM where they will travel next to face conference rival Eastern New Mexico University in the Greyhounds’ homecoming game.

The Greyhounds come into this matchup with a 2-1 record after dropping their Lone Star Conference opener over the weekend to Midwestern State University 42-17, snapping the longest running win streak in the LSC in eight games.

Offense has not been hard to come by for the Greyhounds as they currently average 34.3 points per game and 493.7 yards of total offense per game. Starting quarterback Jeremy Buurma has three touchdown passes on the season, but the Greyhounds’ true strength lies in their running game led by junior E’lon Spight, who is currently averaging 131.3 rushing yards per game. Against Midwestern, he had his third straight 100-yard rushing performance with 142 yards on 30 carries.

ENMU controlled the time of possession against Midwestern with 39:27 of play and outrushed the Mustangs 272-130. The Greyhounds defeated New Mexico Highlands University 44-21 in their season opener than beat Adams State University 42-14 the following week.

Eastern New Mexico defeated the Lions in the final regular season matchup last year in dramatic fashion with a 42-35 win, giving EMNU a 7-3 record and a share of the Lone Star Conference title. The Lions look to continue their strong defensive showing to stop the Greyhounds’ running attack.

The A&M – Commerce Lions will play the Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds at Greyhound Stadium in Portales, NM on Sept. 27 at 4 p.m.

 

For more photos of the game click here.

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Lions win Chennault Cup for third year in a row