Penalties hurt Lions against CSU-Pueblo


Photo Credit | Esme Galvan

Coach Bailiff breaks the game down and gives pointers for the team after another win

Tyler McDonough and Esme Galvan

By: Tyler McDonough | Sr. Sports Reporter

The No. 21 Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions traveled to the Rocky Mountains this past Saturday in a top-25 matchup against the No. 20 Colorado State-Pueblo ThunderWolves, only to fall 24-17 in a late comeback attempt. 

Lots of penalties were thrown the last few minutes of the game which caused harm to both teams down the stretch.

The Lions found themselves with a first and goal within the five-yard line with 40 seconds left to go in the game, but the CSU-Pueblo defense prevailed and kept the Lions out of the end zone. On fourth and goal Miklo Smalls found Chance Cooper in the end zone, but a questionable call wiped the touchdown off the board and the Lions were not able to heave a desperation game tying-throw on the next down.

Lions jumped out in front early in the game 10-0, when Jake Viquez made a 44-yard field goal, and Mark Westbrook scored a special team’s touchdown early in the second quarter. 

CSU-Pueblo responded at the end of the second quarter with 10 unanswered points to tie the game on a short touchdown and a 33-yard field goal as time expired to go into halftime tied 10 apiece. 

A&M-Commerce started off the second half with a bang, as quarterback Smalls had a big 22-yard rush and a 34-yard bomb to Cooper. Four plays later Antonio Lealiiee punched the ball in the endzone to give the Lions a 17-10 lead. 

The ThunderWolves answered the Lions with a drive of their own as Austin Micci ran in a 1-yard touchdown to tie the game at 17. 

After a couple of punts from both teams, the Lions were in good position to take the lead, but a pass from Smalls was tipped and intercepted.

Early in the fourth quarter CSU-Pueblo took a 24-17 lead after quarterback Gunner Lamphere found Nick Williams on a corner route for a touchdown with 11:20 to play. 

After a few more punts from both teams, the Lions found themselves with the ball with 7:13 left to play in the game. The Lions did a fantastic job of bleeding the clock to make sure not to give the ThunderWolves another possession. 

According to Lion Athletics, after the game Head Coach David Bailiff said, “We had our opportunities, we had the interception down in the red zone, had the opportunity down here right at the end of the game to tie it up.”

“The defense was flying around, making good plays, but we’ve got to get better with the penalties, I’ve got to be better, coaching staff has got to be better, we’ve got to get this football team better,” Bailiff said.

Next Matchup

With the loss the Lions fall to 3-1, but still remain 1-0 in Lone Star Conference play. A&M-Commerce returns to LSC play this Saturday as they head to South Texas for the Chennault Cup against Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Javelina Stadium on October 5.