By Caleb Slinkard
Texas A&M University-Commerce began its 2012 football season much the way the last one ended: on the wrong side of a 31-6 defeat that featured too many penalties and too few rushing yards.
Junior transfer quarterback Deric Davis started the game for the Lions against Southeastern Oklahoma State, finishing with 138 yards, one touchdown and one interception. That interception was returned 79 yards in the final seconds of the first quarter to give the Savage Storm a 7-0 lead. Southeastern tacked on a field goal in the second and freshman running back C.J. Kirk picked up 23 of his 80 total rushing yards on a touchdown scamper with two minutes left in the first half.
The Lions got off to a fast start in the second half when senior cornerback Israel Hughes returned a storm punt 70 yards for a touchdown, but the score was waived off when Hughes was flagged for taunting. Davis hooked up with wide receiver Tevin Godfrey for a 3-yard touchdown a few plays later, but a two-point conversion attempt failed, keeping the Lions behind 17-6.
The Storm marched right back down the field on a four-play, 1:30 minute drive capped off by a 38-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Anthony Gale. Penalties and an anemic rushing attack forced the Lions to punt on their ensuing possession.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Lions backed Southeastern back to their own 1-yard line. The Storm proceeded to march down the field on a 16-play, 12-minute, 99-yard drive that ended in a 1-yard touchdown rush to the right side by Kirk.
The Lions offense held the ball for 43 seconds before being forced to punt again, and the Storm ran the clock out.
Overall, the Lion defense was on the field for almost 40 minutes. Senior linebacker Danny Mason made the most of his extended playing time, finishing with 16 total tackles, one sack and two tackles for losses. Senior linebacker J.T. Bates and junior safety Joel Wren contributed eight tackles for the Lions. Starting running back Jamar Mosley only managed 10 yards on five carries.
The Storm outgained the Lions 335 yards to 185 and earned 21 first downs to the Lions 9.
A&M-Commerce will need to rebound quickly as they travel on Saturday to the Alamodome to take on UT-San Antonio.