No. 12 A&M-Commerce Football improves to 2-0 heading into Lone Star Conference play


Photo Credit | John Parsons

Lions DB L.A. Dawson returning an interception

Tyler McDonough, Senior Sports Reporter

By: Tyler McDonough | Sr. Sports Reporter

The No. 12 Texas A&M University-Commerce Lion football team stormed into the Pacific Northwest this past Saturday and defeated the Western Oregon Wolves 34-27 at McArthur Field in Monmouth, Oregon.

The Lion defense dug deep and got the stops they needed to get late in the game. On a Western Oregon’s possession later in the game, Kader Kohou stepped in front of a Ty Currie errant pass and returned it deep into the Wolves redzone. Five offensive plays later, E.J. Thompson found the endzone from five-yards out for the third time of the day to take a 34-27 lead with just under six minutes to go. The Wolves drove down the field attempting to send the game into overtime, but the Lion defense stood stout and forced a turnover on downs to secure the victory.

The Lions started off the game hot, marching their way down, but were halted by the Wolves defense and had to settle for a Jake Viquez 30-yard field goal at the 7:21 mark.

On the Lions second possession of the game, they once again marched down the field, converting multiple times deep in Western Oregon territory, leading to an Thompson 9-yard rush to take the lead 10-0 early in the second quarter. Western Oregon did respond when Ty Currie ran the ball in from three yards out to cut the lead to 10-6 after missing the extra point with 9:07 left in the second quarter.

A&M-Commerce went three-and-out on their next possession, and Western Oregon took advantage with a 10-play drive resulting in a 1-yard touchdown run from Omari Land to give the Wolves a 13-10 lead going into halftime.

The Lions tied the game 13-13 on the first drive of the second half, when Viquez knocked down a 20-yard field goal, which was set by a 25-yard run from Thompson on the first play of the half.

The Lions managed to take back the lead on their next possession when quarterback Miklo Smalls led the Lions down the field with a solid passing effort. The 10-play, 79-yard drive was capped off when Smalls found Chance Cooper on a 23-yard pass in which Cooper made a fantastic catch over the defender’s head with 2:11 left in the third quarter.

The spectacular play landed Cooper #4 on SportsCenter’s top 10 plays of the night with the grab.

Western Oregon tied the game back up at 20-20 on a 1-yard touchdown carry early in the fourth quarter, then proceeded totake a 27-20 lead with 9:44 to play on a 74-yard touchdown.

A&M-Commerce rallied, trailing by a touchdown and proceeded to march down the field when Smalls found Ryan Stokes on a 52-yard pass that set up a 1-yard touchdown from Thompson to tie the score at 27 apiece with 8:22 left in the game.

The A&M-Commerce football team held steady at No. 12 in the national ranking in the second regular season release of the American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Poll, as announced by the AFCA on Monday.

Lions running back E.J. Thompson has even named the Under Armour Student-Athlete of the Week by Lion Athletics. He is the first Lion to have three rushing touchdowns in a game since Joe Bergeron did so twice in 2014. He now leads the LSC in scoring per game and had 120 all-purpose yards including his receiving yardage.

Inside the Numbers

Passing: Smalls- 23-of-31 attempts/235 yards/1 TD

Rushing: Thompson- 17 carries/81 yards/3 TDs

Smalls- 10 carries/24 yards

Receiving: Stokes- 4 receptions/60 yards

Cooper- 5 receptions/42 yards/1 TD

Defense: Jalon Edwards-Cooper- 5 tackles

Neema Behbahani- 5 tackles

Chris Williams- 1 sack

Kader Kohou- 1 interception

Kicking: Jake Viquez- 2 field goals made/4 made PATs

Next Matchup:

The No. 12 Lions move to 2-0 with the win, and will be back in action at home this Saturday, September 21st for CommUniverCity Day and Family Weekend. The Lions open up Lone Star Conference play as the host the Greyhounds of Eastern New Mexico with a 6 p.m. kickoff.