The game went down to the wire as the No. 12-ranked Texas A&M University-Commerce Lion football team held off a last-gasp effort to beat the Western Oregon Wolves 34-27 on the road last Saturday in the Lions’ first NCAA-sanctioned game of the season.
Now the Lions (1-0) return home for their first taste of Lone Star Conference action as they prepare to face Eastern New Mexico this weekend.
A&M-Commerce had traveled more than 2,000 miles, the longest road trip in program history, to Monmouth, Ore. for the contest.
Western Oregon’s Ty Currie had a hard day in the pocket, completing just 16 of his 32 passes for 226 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran the ball eight times for 27 yards and a score. Nico Jackson had 30 yards and a touchdown on nine carries while Omari Land had 20 and a score on seven rushes.
Miklo Smalls was an efficient passer for the Lions, completing 22 of his 30 throws for 240 yards and one touchdown. Ryan Stokes led the team with four catches for 60 yards. E.J. Thompson had 81 yards and three touchdowns on the ground on 17 carries.
The win improves A&M-Commerce to 1-0 on the season, as their victory against Selección Nuevo León does not count toward official NCAA records and playoff considerations, while Western Oregon drops to 0-2.
For Saturday, A&M-Commerce will welcome the Greyhounds of Eastern New Mexico (2-0) into Memorial Stadium.
The Greyhounds have proven to be strong on offense this season in the early going, but have won both of their contests by just one score, with a 35-28 win over Missouri S&T and a 44-37 overtime shootout against Colorado Mesa last week.
Eastern is once again featuring an option offense that relies heavily on the run game, as it has for quite a few years now. The Greyhounds are averaging 456 yards rushing as a team in their first two games. Paul Terry has led the way with 373 yards and three touchdowns, while quarterback Wyatt Strand has added 168 yards and three scores on the ground.
Recent history has been on the Lions’ side, however, as A&M-Commerce has won the last five meetings between these two teams. In 32 all-time matchups, the home team has held a distinct advantage, possibly due to the travel involved between Commerce and Portales, N.M. A&M-Commerce is 12-4 at home all-time against the Greyhounds, while holding a paltry 5-11 record on the road in the series.
The A&M-Commerce Lions will square off against the Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds on Sept. 21 at Memorial Stadium in Commerce. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.