No. 5 A&M-Commerce heads to No. 6 North Alabama for premier season-opening matchup
COMMERCE – The fifth-ranked Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions’ football team kicks off the 2017 season this Thursday with one of the top matchups in Division II this season, traveling to Florence, Ala., to take on defending national runner-up and sixth-ranked University of North Alabama.
WHO: Texas A&M University-Commerce at University of North Alabama
WHERE: Florence, Ala. | Braly Municipal Stadium
WHEN: 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 31
RECORDS: This is the first game of the season for both teams.
RANKINGS: Texas A&M-Commerce is ranked No. 5 in the AFCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 6 in the D2Football.com Media Poll. North Alabama is ranked No. 6 in the AFCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 5 in the D2Football.com Media.
LIVE AUDIO: Lion Sports Network — KETR 88.9 FM, Commerce (http://www.ketr.org)
LIVE VIDEO: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/una/
LIVE STATS: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/una/
OPENING UP WITH A BANG
• The A&M-Commerce Lions come into the 2017 season as the favorite to win the Lone Star Conference championship and will test themselves right out of the gate with the North Alabama Lions.
• This game is a matchup of two teams ranked in the top six of the AFCA preseason poll, both with significant success in 2016.
• A&M-Commerce advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs, while North Alabama is the defending NCAA Division II, national runner-up.
• This game is the first meeting between the two schools.
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS
• With an 8-1 conference record, the Lions won the 2016 Lone Star Conference championship outright.
• This effort marked the third consecutive LSC championship for A&M-Commerce.
• In LSC history, a three-year championship run has happened 12 times since the league’s founding in 1932.
• A&M-Commerce has had a three-year championship streak four times.
• This effort is the first since 1957-59.
• ET won five straight championships from 1951-55, which was the beginning of eight championships in nine seasons in the 1950s.
LOOKING FOR NUMBER FOUR
• The Lions are now on the prowl for their fourth straight LSC title, which would be the first such streak for the school since the 1951-55 run of five straight titles.
• The last time an LSC team won four straight titles was Texas A&M-Kingsville from 2001-04. They shared the 2001 title.
• Texas A&M-Kingsville’s run of five outright titles from 1993-97 is the only time an LSC team has won four straight outright titles in the league’s history.
LIONS RIDING HOT HAND
• In the four seasons under head coach Colby Carthel, the Lions have rattled off the second-best four-year streak in school history
• Over the last four seasons, the Lions have won 35 games against only 14 losses.
• The school record for a four-year span is 36 wins, from 1951-54.
• Eight or more victories in 2017 would tie or pass the 36-win mark for four seasons.
LIONS EARN FIRST PLAYOFF WIN IN 25 YEARS
• A&M-Commerce’s 34-23 first round playoff victory over Colorado Mesa gave the Lions their first playoff win since 1991.
• That 1991 win was also the last time, A&M-Commerce hosted playoff action.
• A&M-Commerce is now 4-1 all-time in postseason games at Memorial Stadium.
• The Lions have made 13 overall trips to the postseason with a 9-7-1 record.
ELEVEN WINS TIES SCHOOL’S BEST
• The 11th win of the season on November 19 put the 2016 Lions’ squad in a tie for the most wins in a season in school history.
• The 1952 ET team went 11-0 with a win in the Tangerine Bowl.
• Perhaps the most dominant team in Lion history that 1952 squad won every game by at least 20 points.
CARTHEL 5TH IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN WINS
• Head coach Colby Carthel now ranks fifth in A&M-Commerce history in coaching wins with 34 wins.
• However, he will be in fifth for a while, as his 34 wins are just over half of J.V. Sikes’ 63 wins in fourth place.
|3||Bob Berry||1935-41, 46-50||72-34-8|
LION FANS TURN OUT IN RECORD NUMBERS
• Bolstered by a stadium-record 9,629 attendance in the Homecoming win over West Texas A&M and over 9,000 fans for the Midwestern State game, the Lions’ participation achieved new heights in 2016.
• In only four regular season home dates counted by the NCAA, A&M-Commerce drew 34,379 total fans. That total attendance ranked 14th in Division II.
Regarding the average attendance, the Lion faithful turned out at a rate of 8,595 per game. That ranked seventh nationally.
• Over the last four years (available in the NCAA rankings database), the Lions have nearly doubled their average turnout since the 2013 season. The next closest season since 2009 was over 2,400 fans per game fewer.
• Just six years ago, A&M-Commerce drew less than 1,500 fans per game.
LIONS PREDICTED TO WIN FOURTH STRAIGHT LSC TITLE
• At Lone Star Conference Media Day in Odessa in July, the Lions picked up 21 of 26 available first place votes, earning the top spot in the LSC Preseason Poll.
• Each school has their head coach, SID, and one media member vote on the poll.
|2017 LSC Football Preseason Poll|
|4||Eastern New Mexico||136|
|7||West Texas A&M||97|
|8||Western New Mexico||45|
|UT Permian Basin||1||45|
PEREZ IS LSC PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
• At Lone Star Conference Media Day, A&M-Commerce quarterback Luis Perez was named the LSC co-Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
• Perez shared the honor with Eastern New Mexico running back Kamall Cass.
• Perez received the first team all-Lone Star Conference quarterback following the completion of the regular season.
• He was announced as a nominee for the Harlon Hill Trophy and an honorable mention All-American by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette.
• Perez is the first A&M-Commerce quarterback to earn first team all-LSC honors in 20 years. A Lion quarterback has earned first team all-LSC honors a total of 16 times since the league’s formation in 1931.
• He has a chance to become the Lions’ fourth quarterback to repeat as a first team all-LSC selection, joining Bobby Bounds (1990-91), LSC Hall of Honor member Wade Wilson (1979-80), and R.A. Hitt (1933-34), who was the second-ever all-LSC quarterback.
|LION FIRST TEAM ALL-LSC QUARTERBACKS|
|1990, 1991||Bobby Bounds|
|1979, 1980||Wade Wilson|
|1933, 1934||R.A. Hitt|
• Perez threw 32 touchdown passes in 2016, which is a single season record at A&M-Commerce.
• Tyrik Rollison had 31 passing TDs in 2014, followed by Harrison Stewart with 30 in 2015.
• Perez also became the third Lion trigger man with 3,000 passing yards in a season.
• His 3,326 passing yards in a season ranks second in A&M-Commerce history, behind Rollison’s 3,764 yards in 2014.
• This effort also ranks 11th in A&M-Commerce history for passing yards in a career.
• The school career record for yardage is 5,955 yards, set by Bob Bounds from 1987-91.
• He was exceptional regarding interceptions, throwing only five picks during the 2016 season.
• He had eight games of over 250 yards passing and five games of over 300 yards passing, with a season-best 396 yards at Panhandle State. He had five touchdown passes in wins while attending Eastern New Mexico and UT-Permian Basin.
• Perez also featured prominently in the NCAA Division II and Lone Star Conference statistical rankings
• Perez has also earned multiple awards in 2017 before the season.
• He has been named a preseason All-American by Lindy’s college football preview magazine.
• In July, Perez was named as a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®.
• Perez is one of 70 scholar-athletes from the Combined Divisions (FCS, Division II, Division III, & NAIA) vying for 11 spots on the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®.
• In 2016-17, Perez contributed 32 hours of community service and engagement in the City of Commerce and on the A&M-Commerce campus.
• He is also a representative on the A&M-Commerce Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which ranked near the top of Division II in community service and engagement during the 2016-17 academic year.
• These events have included “Education Days” on campus, where student-athletes have hosted elementary school students at events, the Clothe-A-Child clothing drive, the Feed My Starving Children food drive, the A&M-Commerce Holiday Market, the City of Commerce “Big Event” spring cleanup, which is the largest community service event in the City of Commerce, childrens’ football camps, assisting with various athletics events on campus, and reading to children at Commerce Elementary School.
|at Delta State||17||23||0||322||2|
|at Eastern New Mexico||24||31||0||342||5|
|at Panhandle State||34||48||1||396||3|
|at Western New Mexico||22||35||2||319||4|
|at Angelo State||20||33||0||270||3|
|WEST TEXAS A&M||17||23||0||230||1|
|at UT Permian Basin||18||25||0||273||5|
|COLORADO MESA P||17||33||0||205||2|
|at Grand Valley State P||25||50||2||319||3|
|CAREER PASSING YARDAGE LEADERS|
|CAREER PASSING TOUCHDOWN LEADERS|
Lion Soccer offers free admission to weekend contests with donation to Hurricane Harvey relief
COMMERCE– With the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Gulf Coast region of the state, Texas A&M University-Commerce is asking for donations to help those in need.
Fans will be admitted free of charge to all matches of the Lion Soccer Classic presented by Domino’s, Holiday Inn Express and Best Western Plus of Greenville on Friday and Sunday, and are requested to bring items to donate for relief efforts. Cash donations will also be accepted.
Current pressing needs in shelters are:
New underwear and socks (all sizes)
Feminine hygiene products
Baby diapers, wipes and formula
“The devastation caused by this storm is unprecedented and has affected family and friends of our A&M-Commerce students,” said TAMUC athletics director Tim McMurray. “We want to make sure we use our platform and resources to help the relief efforts, and we hope to use our events to help Southeast Texas and the Coastal Bend recover.”
The A&M-Commerce soccer team will face Florida Institute of Technology at 7:30 p.m. Friday in their opening match of the season. Preceding the Lions’ game will be a game between Angelo State University and the University of Central Oklahoma at 5:00 pm.
On Sunday, ASU will face FIT at 11 a.m. followed by A&M-Commerce against UCO at 1:30 pm. All games are at the Lion Soccer Field.