By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal
COMMERCE — Texas A&M University-Commerce (0-2) will look take positives from their 27-16 loss to UT-San Antonio last week to the Harvey Martin Classic Thursday night at Cowboys Stadium, the first game of the annual Lone Star Football Festival. The Lions performed much better against the NCAA Division I Roadrunners than they did in their first game of the season against Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
The Lions will play Midwestern State (0-1) for the second year in a row. Midwestern dominated the Lions in last year’s Harvey Martin Classic, defeating A&M-Commerce 63-17. The Mustangs won the LSC last season, but played poorly in their season opener against Tarleton State.
Lions defensive leaders senior linebacker Danny Mason (25 total tackles), junior safety Joel Wren (12 tackles against UTSA) and senior linebacker J.T. Bates (16 total tackles) will look to slow down senior Mustang quarterback Brandon Kelsey (173 yards, 2 INTs against Tarleton) and senior wide receiver Jared Freeman (83 yards last week). The Lions defense needs to produce more turnovers (only one on the season) and sacks (three through two games) if they hope to help out an offense that struggles to move the ball on the ground.
The good news is that the Lions are effective passing the ball. Junior transfer Deric Davis started both games at quarterback, recording 313 passing yards, a 52.6 percent completion percentage, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Senior wide receiver Tyler Rawlings has been Davis’ favorite target, notching totals of 11 receptions and 113 yards so far.
A&M-Commerce has been horrible running the football, however, and will have to establish some semblance of a running game if they hope to be successful against Midwestern. Senior running back Jamar Mosley has 22 yards on 12 carries, and the Lions have failed to score running the ball.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. The game will be nationally televised by the CBS Sports Network, 88.9 KETR will broadcast the game live and live stats are available at www.lionathletics.com. The Lions are 0-4 in Harvey Martin Classic Games.