CANYON, Texas — Behind a safety, a fumble recovery, two interceptions, a muffed punt recovery, and a blocked punt from its defense, the Texas A&M University-Commerce football team handed West Texas A&M a 15-3 loss at Buffalo Stadium on Saturday night.
For the fourth game in a row, the Lion defense kept its opponent under 250 yards, allowing 225 yards on Saturday night.
The Lions improve to 5-3 on the season and 3-1 in Lone Star Conference action with three conference contests remaining. The loss drops the Buffaloes to 4-4 on the season and 3-2 in LSC play.
In the first half, the Lions allowed less than 100 yards of offense, Celestin Haba (Columbia, S.C.) recovered a fumble, and a punt blocked by J.T. Smith (Klein Oak) as well. The Lion defense secured the first points of the night at the 7:48 mark of the first quarter.
The Buffaloes’ quarterback, Nick Gerber threw an incomplete pass from the end zone, which was ruled as intentional grounding by the officials, thus resulting in a safety.
The Lion offense’s first chance for six points came up short on its first drive of the night due to a fumble right at the goal line. The Buffaloes took over just outside their end zone and ended the drive on the safety.
Jake Viquez (Rockwall) went 1 for 3 in three field goal attempts in the first half, but drilled a 40-yard kick in the first quarter to give the Lions a 5-0 lead. Neither team scored in the second quarter and the Lions took a 5-0 lead into the locker room.
On their first drive of the second half, the Lions received the ball at their 40-yard line and marched down the field for a touchdown. Miklo Smalls (Plano East) connected to Matt Childers (Henderson) twice on the drive for 19 yards, Chance Cooper (Leander – Rouse) caught a pass for 10 yards, and Carandal Hale (Greenville) rushed for two yards on the drive to set up the Lions inside the Buffaloes’ 10-yard line.
On 2nd and 4 from the nine-yard line, Smalls rushed to the right side for a touchdown, his third rushing touchdown of the season. In the air, Smalls threw for 186 yards on 21 for 38 passing and threw an interception as well.
Viquez bounced back from his two misses in the first half and gave the Lions a 15-3 lead going into the fourth quarter with a 42-yard field goal in the Lions’ last drive of the third quarter.
A drive that started on its 36-yard line after the field goal by Viquez, West Texas A&M made its way into Lion territory, but an interception by D’Angelo Ellis (Cy Ridge) stalled the drive with seven minutes and 50 seconds left in the game.
After a punt by the Lions, the Buffaloes started their next drive with 3:54 left in the game and made it into A&M-Commerce territory, but an interception by Dominique Ramsey (Converse – Judson) ended the last chance to score for the Buffaloes.
A&M-Commerce kneeled it out for its second win a row.
In the running game, Hale had 31 of the 104 rushing yards for the Lions. E.J. Thompson (Cy Ranch) rushed for 28 yards and Smith netted 24.
Childers led the way with seven catches for 76 yards. Andrew Armstrong (Dallas – Bishop Dunne) had four receptions for 36 yards.
Defensively, Dee Walker had eight solo tackles as well two assisted for nine total tackles, one of which was for a loss. Five Lions had five tackles, while Jaylon Hodge (Houston – Fort Bend Travis) had a sack.
This is the first time that the Lions have won a game by a score of 15-3 and the first time they have scored exactly 15 points in a game since 2009 against Southwest Oklahoma State.
The Lions return home to face UT Permian Basin on Saturday, October 30 at 4 p.m. A&M-Commerce will be celebrating its alumni from the education department during the game as part of North Texas Educators Day presented by Alliance Bank.