A matchup between two top-25-ranked teams ended in defeat for the No. 11 Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions as they fell to the No. 20 Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves 24-17 on the road Saturday night.
Quarterback Gunnar Lamphere was stout for CSU-Pueblo after coming into the game following an injury to starter Jordan Kitna, completing 14 of 25 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown. D.J. Penick was battling injuries on the night and finished with a hard-fought 47 yards on 13 carries. Punter Justin Dwinell put a lot of pressure on the opposing team, with four of his seven punts being downed inside the 20 yard line.
A great defensive effort by the Lions was all for naught, as they only allowed 19 rushing yards on the night and just 238 total yards. However, A&M-Commerce was penalized 11 times for 110 yards, which was a huge factor. Quarterback Miklo Smalls completed 23 of 34 throws for 248 yards and an interception. Antonio Lealiiee gained 35 yards and had a touchdown on 17 carries.
The loss drops the Lions to 2-1 on the season while the Thunderwolves improve to 3-1.
With the loss behind them, the Lions will head down south for a Chennault Cup showdown against Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
The Javelinas enter the contest with a record of 1-3 overall and a 0-2 mark in Lone Star Conference play, coming off of a 48-34 defeat at the hands of Eastern New Mexico.
The team currently sits evenly balanced in scoring, having scored 127 points on offense, and allowing 127 defensively. A&M-Kingsville features a two-headed passing attack between quarterbacks Cade Dyal and Koy Detmer, Jr., however Dyal has gotten the bulk of the passing attempts. Dyal has completed 61 percent of his passes for 803 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions, while Detmer, Jr. has completed 54 percent for 258 yards, one score and three picks.
The Javelinas don’t run the ball much, and are led on the ground by Luis Lopez, who currently has 269 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 45 carries. Donte Ross has been dangerous as a punt returner, averaging more than 15 yards per return and scoring a touchdown this season.
These two teams play annually for the Chennault Cup, named for Lt. General Claire Chennault, a Commerce-born World War II-era hero who spent part of his life at the Naval Air Station in Kingsville.
All time, the Lions have a 29-35-1 record against A&M-Kinsgville, and a 10-16 mark in games for the Chennault Cup since 1992. But A&M-Commerce has had the upper hand this decade, winning seven-straight against the Javelinas dating back to 2012. Many of those games have been nail-biters, including a double-overtime victory in 2018 and a blocked last-second field goal in 2016.
The A&M-Commerce Lions will face off against the A&M-Kingsville Javelinas on Oct. 5 at Javelina Stadium in Kingsville. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.