The East Texan

Lions head to the NCAA Playoffs for the first time in 20 years

Members+of+the+Pride+Marching+Band+blast+the+university%27s+fight+song+at+the+announcement+of+the+Lions%27+NCAA+ranking+held+inside+the+Club+at+the+Sam+Rayburn+Student+Center.
Members of the Pride Marching Band blast the university's fight song at the announcement of the Lions' NCAA ranking held inside the Club at the Sam Rayburn Student Center.

Members of the Pride Marching Band blast the university's fight song at the announcement of the Lions' NCAA ranking held inside the Club at the Sam Rayburn Student Center.

Photo by Travis Hairgrove

Photo by Travis Hairgrove

Members of the Pride Marching Band blast the university's fight song at the announcement of the Lions' NCAA ranking held inside the Club at the Sam Rayburn Student Center.

Travis Hairgrove, Managing Editor

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The Texas A&M University-Commerce Lion football team, many members of the athletic staff, a few Lion fans from the community and a pep band comprised of members of the Pride Marching Band crowded into the Club at the Sam Rayburn Student Center on Sunday, Nov. 15 to hear the announcement of the team’s ranking in the 2015 NCAA Playoffs.

To their delight, the Lions are ranked the No. 7 seed in Super Region 4, and will play the Bulldogs of Ferris State University at Taggert Field in Big Rapids Michigan next Saturday, Nov. 21 at 12 P.M. (ET)/11 A.M. (CT) – their first appearance in the NCAA Playoffs since 1995.

“Three months ago, some of us on the coaching staff kind of scratched our heads a little bit because we were coming off of a very successful season, but we lost 30 seniors,” Head Football Coach Colby Carthel said as he addressed those in attendance.  “We had a lot of young guys.  We were turning a lot of this program over to some guys who maybe weren’t proven or didn’t have a lot of experience out there on Saturday nights.

“There have been some growing pains along the way, and there are still some growing pains we’re going through,” Coach Carthel added.  “If anybody saw the last seven minutes of last night’s game, they could see that there are still some things we’re working on, but that’s what’s fun about making NCAA postseason.  You get a whole new brand new season.  We get to start zero and zero, and it’ll be our goal to get to one and zero.”

The announcement came as good news after an unfortunate fumble in the middle of the fourth quarter of Saturday, Nov. 14th’s game allowed the Midwestern State Mustangs the opportunity to score 13 points within a span of 15 seconds, causing the Lions to lose ground on their 33-24 lead, resulting in a 37-33 loss.

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Lions head to the NCAA Playoffs for the first time in 20 years