The no. 8 ranked Texas A&M University-Commerce Lion football team put on a shutdown performance on the day a legendary coach was honored with a 52-0 rout of the University of Texas at Permian Basin Saturday night.
The Lions honored Ernest Hawkins, the winningest football coach in school history, by dedicating the playing field in his honor before the game.
UTPB could do almost nothing offensively. Quarterback Kameron Mathis completed seven of 22 passes for 54 yards and no scores. Mathis also ended with negative-eight rushing yards on eight carries. Jordan Williams led the team on the ground with 28 yards on five carries, but starting running back Marquis Simmons carried the ball the most, running nine times for 18 yards. The Falcons only gained 125 total yards of offense in the contest.
A&M-Commerce was led through the air by Perez, who finished with 26 completions on 34 throws for 301 yards and four touchdowns. Big tight end Vincent Hobbs was the primary target on the night, catching six passes for 144 yards and two scores, but Cowan and Commerce-local Buck Wilson also caught six throws for 63 and 84 yards, respectively. Each had a touchdown catch. The Lions had their best running game of the year, accruing 202 total yards on the ground. Carandal Hale led the way with 84 yards on just six carries. A&M-Commerce averaged 7.8 yards per carry.
Kicker Kristov Martinez moved closer in his quest to become the school’s all-time leading scorer, with his seven extra points and one field goal moving his career point total to 274, just seven points behind former Lion kicker Billy Watkins.
Carthel said after the win that his team played a complete game.
“Our guys played the best they have this season in all three facets of the game,” Carthel said. “You couldn’t script a better ending for the first game at Ernest Hawkins Field.”
The win improves the Lions to 8-1 overall and 6-1 in conference play. The Lions remained in seventh in the latest Super Region Four rankings, which would be the final postseason spot in the region. Carthel said that he isn’t too pleased with the team’s ranking, but knows that a win is required to have any chance to make the postseason.
“I don’t think we are ranked as high as we should be,” Carthel said. “But that’s neither here nor there, we are going into this last week with the mentality of ‘we win, we’re in.’”
Winning does not look to be easy for the Lions. Tarleton State is currently 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the LSC this season. The Texans took No. 4 ranked Midwestern State down to the wire last week before falling in overtime, and feature plenty of weapons on offense.
Tarleton features a balanced attack that is capable of scoring both through the air and on the ground. Runningback Xavier Turner currently ranks third in the LSC with 10 rushing scores. The Texans’ top two receivers, Jeff Thomas and Del’michael High rank fourth and seventh in the conference in receiving yards per game. Carthel showed respect to Tarleton’s weapons and says that the game has the potential to be a close one.
“Tarleton has some of the best receivers out there,” Carthel said. “We thought that the last game would have huge postseason implications, and it has shaped up that way.”
The A&M-Commerce Lions play the Tarleton State Texans each season for the President’s Trophy. The Lions are looking for their fifth-consecutive President’s Trophy win. The Lions are 14-11 all time against the Texans, and are 7-5 all-time in Stephenville.
The A&M-Commerce Lions will face off against the Tarleton Texans on Nov. 11 in Stephenville, Texas. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.