The Commerce Journal
Blackwater Draw, N.M. —
Texas A&M University-Commerce’s offensive never made it out of the locker room Saturday afternoon as the Lions managed just three points and 275 yards of total offense, falling to Eastern New Mexico 7-3 at Greyhound Stadium.
A&M-Commerce falls to 1-8 on the year and 1-6 in Lone Star Conference play, dropping its seventh-straight game at Blackwater Draw, dating back to 1995. The Lions continue to search for answers on the road, dropping their 10th-straight road game dating back to 2009 as well.
A&M-Commerce was able to manage just three points on the day, marking the first game this season the Lions have failed to find the endzone. Even more disturbing was the fact that A&M-Commerce was able to manage just three points against the Eastern New Mexico defense, who came into the game last in the Lone Star Conference allowing 42 points per game.
The Lion defense did its job in a big way, holding Eastern New Mexico to just seven points on the afternoon as the Greyhounds came into the day averaging 24 points a game. Senior linebacker Danny Mason came ready to play, finishing with a career-high 17 tackles with a sack, keeping Eastern New Mexico frustrated all afternoon. Matt Claggett added a season-high nine stops for A&M-Commerce with Kristoddie Woods and Stephen Ford finishing with seven each.
But it was the A&M-Commerce offense that never found its groove, finishing with 181 passing yards from Kevin Vye, completing 17-of-31 yards. Garrett Smith was the highlight of the Lion receiving corps, hauling in seven passes for 91 yards with four other receivers notching two catches each.
On the ground, the Lions racked up 94 yards, one of its best outputs of the year. Jamar Mosley led the way, carrying the ball 11 times for 63 yards while Wayne Chapman added 22 yards on seven rushes.
The other highlight on the afternoon for A&M-Commerce was punter Cameron Frosch, who reeled off six punts for 286 yards, averaging 47.7 yards per kick. Frosch also set a new career-long, booming a 76-yard punt in the third quarter to pin the Greyhounds deep.
A&M-Commerce struck first in this one, as after holding Eastern New Mexico on a fourth-down attempt early in the first quarter, the Lions moved down inside the red zone, getting as close as the six yard line but had to settle for a 23-yard field goal from Jacob O’Neil, giving them the 3-0 lead with 8:42 remaining in the first.
Early in the second, A&M-Commerce was marching deep into Greyhound territory once again, getting back to the six-yard line, but the drive was squelched when Vye’s pass was intercepted at the three-yard line, keeping the Lions off the board.
The turnover proved to be costly as Eastern New Mexico would then march 97 yards over 15 plays, culminating with a three-yard touchdown pass from Wesley Wood to his brother, Lance, putting the Greyhounds on top 7-3 with 5:32 remaining in the opening half.
A&M-Commerce dodged a bullet late in the half as Eastern New Mexico missed a 22-yard field goal wide right as time expired, sending the Lions to the locker room trailing 7-3.
Neither offense was able to do much in the second half as Eastern New Mexico’s punting team proved to be its most valuable asset, pinning the Lions deep in their territory a handful of times, the last of which came midway through the fourth quarter.
Despite the lack of offensive sparks on the afternoon, A&M-Commerce had one last opportunity to earn the victory, getting the ball back on its own 20-yard line with 2:44 remaining. A fourth-down conversion to Smith, followed by completions to Mosely, Blake Ohm and Mosley again had the Lions thinking victory as A&M-Commerce had first and 10 at the Greyhound 18 yard-line. The Lions were able to get as close as the 12-yard line, but Vye’s fourth-down pass into the endzone fell incomplete as the Greyhounds escaped with the 7-3 victory.
The road doesn’t get any easier for A&M-Commerce in its season finale next week as the Lions will face nationally-ranked and Lone Star Conference-leading West Texas A&M on Saturday, Nov. 10. In last year’s season finale, the Buffs dominated the Lions from the opening whistle, handing A&M-Commerce a 49-0 defeat. Kickoff against West Texas A&M is set for 2 p.m. with the Lion’s 2012 seniors being recognized prior to the game.