By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal
Texas A&M University-Commerce unveiled its 2014 football schedule, a nine-game season featuring an early trip to Stephen F. Austin State University and four home games.
The Lions will kickoff their season against East Texas Baptist University on Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Scheduling the season opener on a Thursday is a unique decision by the Lions, who typically begin their year on a Saturday.
A&M-Commerce will then travel down to Nacogdoches to take on SFA in the first of three consecutive road games. The game will kickoff at Homer Bryce Stadium on Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.
The annual Lone Star Football Festival is scheduled for the following week, and A&M-Commerce will participate for the third straight year, taking on rival Texas A&M University-Kingsville at AT&T Stadium on Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. The teams will battle for the Chennault Cup, which is currently in A&M-Commerce's possession following a 41-28 victory in 2013.
The Lions Lone Star Conference schedule continues on Sept. 27 when they take on 2013’s most surprising team, Eastern New Mexico, all the way out in Portales, N.M.
A&M-Commerce finally returns home on Oct. 4 to play Tarleton State University. The game features a 7 p.m. start. The Lions will get on the bus the next week and travel to San Angelo to take on the Rams of Angelo State on Oct. 11, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Lions will wrap up their 2014 LSC schedule with games against West Texas A&M University (at home on Oct. 18) and Midwestern State University (away on Oct. 25) before finishing their season with a homecoming game against McMurry University at 2 p.m. The Lone Star Conference will feature a playoff system for the first time in 2014, but with McMurry pulling out of joining the LSC, the conference will only feature seven teams.
2014 will be head coach Colby Carthel’s second season under the helm. In his first year, Carthel turned around a team that had won only two games in the past two seasons into a comepitor with a 7-5 record and a Division II bowl appearance. Key stars from last season, including defensive lineman Charlie Tuaau, wide receiver Vernon Johnson, and quarterback Tyrik Rollison are set to return this season.