Stingy defense leads No. 5 Lion Football over No. 12 Colorado-State Pueblo.
PUEBLO, Colo. – In its first game in nearly two years, the No. 5 ranked Texas A&M University-Commerce football team downed No. 12 ranked Colorado State-Pueblo, 12-6, at the ThunderBowl on a windy Thursday night in front of 6,590 fans.
The Lions start the season 1-0 for the eighth straight time. Thursday night’s win was the first for the Lions over the Thunderwolves in three meetings. The 12 points for A&M-Commerce are the fewest in a win since September 1, 2017, at North Alabama.
The Thunderwolves won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, putting the Lions’ offense on the field first.
Starting on its 32-yard line, A&M-Commerce went three-and-out to start the game. On the Lion defense’s first drive, Elijah Earls (San Antonio – Stevens) came up with a sack on third down to force the punt. The Lions returned the punt from Mitchell McGarry (Tannum Sands, Queensland, Australia) to midfield.
The first points of the game came off the leg of CSU-Pueblo kicker Dean Faithfull at the 4:02 mark of the first quarter. The Lions’ defense stopped the Thunderwolves at the goal line. On the drive, officials nullified by penalty an interception by the Lions.
At the end of the first quarter, CSU-Pueblo led 3-0. Faithfull’s 36-yard kick to start the second quarter sailed wide right.
The Lions drove into Thunderwolves territory for the first time in the evening on three straight first downs before the punt.
The 2021 season’s first points came via a 30-yard field goal by Jake Viquez (Rockwall) at the 6:01 mark in the second quarter for A&M-Commerce. CSU-Pueblo muffed the ensuing kickoff, with Carandal Hale (Greenville) returning the fumble.
The Lions’ offense – boosted by a Thunderwolves’ penalty – capitalized on the miscue as Viquez converted a 29-yard kick to make it 6-3 at the 4:27 mark in the second quarter.
The wind picked up rapidly during the second quarter at the Thunderbowl. Faithfull went 2 for 3 in his field-goal attempts in the first half. CSU-Pueblo used the wind to its advantage to convert a 33-yard kick as time expired on the first half. The teams went into the halftime locker room tied at 6-all.
Viquez and the Lions had the wind at their backs in the third quarter, and the Rockwall native converted a 40-yard attempt to give A&M-Commerce a 9-6 lead at the 10:02 mark.
He extended the Lion lead to six on a 52-yard field goal at the 6:07 mark in the third quarter. The distance of 52 yards on that kick is the second-longest in program history.
He also came in on punt duty in the second half and had two punts. His four field goal makes fall one shy of the program single-game record.
In the third quarter, the Lions’ defense stalled every Thunderwolves drive and forced them to punt into the wind. The offense took advantage of the excellent field position to score six points in the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Thunderwolves’ first field goal attempt with the wind at their back went wide-left, as did the Lions’ attempt on the other end.
Xavier Morris (Converse – Judson) came up with an interception to stall another CSU-Pueblo drive in the fourth quarter. Darius Williams (Fort Worth – Arlington Heights) had the hurry on CSU-Pueblo quarterback Devin Williams, forcing the early throw.
The Thunderwolves got the ball with 4:38 on the clock down six and drove into Lions’ territory, but the defense made held up and forced a completion on fourth down. They did get the ball back with five seconds left, but A&M-Commerce around midfield stopped the flea-flicker attempts.
NOTE: Complete statistics are currently unavailable due to technical difficulties at CSU-Pueblo.
The Lions take on the Midwestern State Mustangs at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington on Saturday, September 11. The kickoff is 6:00 pm for the neutral site Lone Star Conference game.
MSU-Denver downs Lion Soccer in the season opener
DENVER, Colo – In the first match of the 2021 season, the Texas A&M University-Commerce soccer team fell 3-0 to Metro State University-Denver at the Assembly Complex on Thursday night.
The Lions are now 0-1 in the season, while the Roadrunners start at 1-0.
The Roadrunners jumped out to the early lead thanks to a goal by Katy Leads, 10 minutes into the match. Elisa Dean added another goal for the Roadrunners in the first half to take a 2-0 lead at halftime.
A&M-Commerce had three shots in the first half. Two came from Melissa Storrey (Tyne and Wear, England), who came off the bench, and one from Kara Blasingame (Oswego, Ill.).
MSU-Denver quickly put another ball in the back of the net in the second half on another goal by Dean. She scored two goals on five shots in the match, which was a match-high for either team.
The Roadrunners goalkeeper Kayla Caballero made three saves, playing the whole match. Karalie Morrison (Colleyville Heritage) had two shots on goal, while Savanna Puccio (Plano – Plano Academy) had the other.
Banning faced eight shots in the second half. She had two saves, and Peters had two saves as well in the first half.
For the Lions, Karalie Morrison (North Richland Hills – Colleyville Heritage) led the team with four shots, all coming in the second half. Five players off the bench recorded shots.
A&M-Commerce stays in Colorado and takes on UC-Colorado Springs on Sunday. The kickoff for the match is 1:00 pm Central Time.