The Homecoming crowd left Memorial Stadium happy as the No. 24-ranked Texas A&M University-Commerce Lion football team trounced the visiting Western New Mexico University Mustangs by a score of 62-21 Saturday evening.
This was the fourth win in four tries for A&M-Commerce against WNMU.
Mustang quarterback C.J. Fowler had a solid game for Western New Mexico, statistically speaking, as he completed 17 of 34 passes for 315 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. However, he was sacked a whopping six times by the Lion defense. Josh Powell was by far his favorite target, racking up 214 receiving yards and a score on seven catches. DeAndre Williams led the team with 70 yards on the ground on 15 carries.
Miklo Smalls was hot and cold at times for the Lions. he completed 18 of 28 throws for 282 yards and three touchdowns, but also tossed up two picks, and a third that was called back on a penalty. He also ran the ball three times for 17 yards. Antonio Lealiiee had a strong game, gaining 133 yards and scoring twice on 17 rushing attempts. Chris McPhaul came into the game late and finished with 66 yards and a touchdown on just four rushes. Jaquorious Smith also scored in the fourth quarter on a lone run of 19 yards. Jemal Williams scored both on the ground and through the air, finishing with 23 rushing yards on five carries and catching a lone pass for a 36-yard score. In total, A&M-Commerce defenders sacked Mustang quarterbacks seven times, with Neema Behbahani leading the way with 1.5 sacks. Dominique Ramsey returned a kickoff 91 yards for a score for his sixth return touchdown of his career and first kickoff return score.
A&M-Commerce Head Coach David Bailiff had high praise for his team following the victory Saturday.
“It was a big win. Our guys played extremely hard,” Bailiff said. “I thought our team rebounded well from last week. We had some individuals tonight that were just absolutely electrifying.”
Ramsey said that it took a lot of effort from the team to clear the way on his first career kickoff return touchdown.
“I saw a lot of effort from our guys trying to block” Ramsey said. “I looked to my left and saw a hole and new I had to take it. My guys led me into the end zone.”
The win improves the Lions’ record to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in Lone Star Conference play, while Western New Mexico falls to 1-7 overall and 1-4 in the LSC.
For the second time this season, the Lions will be featured on ESPN3 as they head out west to face the West Texas A&M Buffaloes on Saturday.
This is the 34th all-time meeting between the two teams, with A&M-Commerce holding a 19-14 advantage in the series. The Lions have won the last five meetings.
The Buffaloes come into the game sporting a 6-2 record and a 3-2 mark in Lone Star Conference games. Both of WT’s losses came against nationally-ranked teams, falling to Tarleton State and Angelo State.
The Buffaloes feature a balanced running attack, with five runners eclipsing at least 100 total yards on the year. Duke Carter IV leads the team with 492 yards and five touchdowns on 120 carries, but Jordan Johnson has scored six times on 48 attempts while gaining 127 yards. Quarterback Nick Gerber has been effective, completing 54 percent of his passes for 1,518 yards, 12 scores and four interceptions. On defense, the Buffaloes are allowing just 24.75 points per game, and are led by Frank Honang, who has compiled 87 tackles, 7.5 for a loss, and forced four fumbles this season. Special teams has been a struggle, with WT kickers combining to complete just one of seven field goals.
The A&M-Commerce Lions will face off against the West Texas Buffaloes on Nov. 2 at Buffalo Stadium in Canyon, Texas. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.