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TAMUC – Sports

FOOTBALL

Perez leads Associated Press All-America First Team, Machorro named Second Team All-American by AP.

NEW YORK CITY – Texas A&M University-Commerce football players Luis Perez and Jared Machorro have been named Division II All-Americans by the Associated Press (AP). Perez was named the First Team All-American quarterback while Machorro was named Second Team All-America at left tackle. They released the AP All-America teams Wednesday.

Perez is the nation’s leading passer and a Harlon Hill Trophy finalist. Perez has led the Lions to a 13-1 record and the National Championship game with Division II’s longest active winning streak at nine games. He has completed 398-of-566 passes for 4,678 yards and 44 touchdowns this season while completing better than 70 percent of his pass attempts.

It is the second All-American selection of the day and the third of Perez’ senior year. He was named First Team All-American and the Ron Lenz Offensive Player of the Year by the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA) earlier on Wednesday. Perez was also named Second Team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Perez is the first quarterback at A&M-Commerce since 1980 (Wade Wilson) to be called a First Team All-American and the first to receive multiple First Team All-America awards in the same season since Sam McCord in 1958.

Perez has thrown at least four touchdown passes seven times this season and went 269 pass attempts without an interception. He is NCAA Division II’s active passing leader at 8,002 yards over the past two seasons with 76 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The Chula Vista, Calif., native is the reigning J.W. Rollins Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Year and posted ten consecutive 300-yard passing games this season including a campaign-best 482-yard effort against Tarleton State.

Machorro has been named a Second Team All-American by the AP for the second consecutive season. It is the seventh All-America honor of his career and third of this season, having also been named First Team All-American by the D2CCA earlier in the day and First Team All-American by the AFCA last week.

The Lone Star Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year has paved the way for the nation’s No. 2 passing offense on the road to the National Championship Game. The outstanding blocker has been one of the nation’s top blockers, as the Lions have allowed fewer than two sacks per game, while the offense has dropped back to pass more than 45 times per game.

2017 ASSOCIATED PRESS DIVISION II ALL-AMERICA TEAMS

FIRST TEAM
OFFENSE

 Position  Name  Class  School
 Quarterback  Luis Perez  Senior  Texas A&M-Commerce
 Running backs  Marc Jones  Senior  Gannon
 Cameron Mayberry  Sophomore  Colorado School of Mines
 Linemen  Alex Cappa  Senior  Humboldt State
 Lavonte Hights  Senior  Shepherd
 Dominic Giunta  Senior  Ashland
 Harley Vaughn  Senior  West Georgia
 Gavin De Los Santos  Senior  Harding
 Tight end  D.J. Cornish  Sophomore  Shepherd
 Receivers  J.T. Luper  Senior  Central Oklahoma
 Weston Carr  Sophomore  Azusa Pacific
 All-purpose player  Devontae Jackson  Junior  West Georgia
 Kicker  Casey Bednarski  Junior  Minnesota State

DEFENSE

 Position  Name  Class   School
 Linemen  Marcus Martin  Senior  Slippery Rock
 Bo Banner  Senior  Central Washington
 Adonis Davis  Junior  Florida Tech
 Myles Humphrey  Senior  Shepherd
 Linebacker  Kevin Haynes  Senior  Central Washington
 Terry Samuel  Junior  West Alabama
 Dennis Gardeck  Senior  Sioux Falls
 Backs  Tyler Hasty  Junior  Central Washington
 Tavierre Thomas  Senior  Ferris State
 J.R. Stevens  Sophomore  Indiana (PA)
 Chris Johnson  Junior  North Alabama
 Punter  Justin Marcha  Senior  Emporia State

SECOND TEAM
OFFENSE

 Position  Name  Class  School
 Quarterback  Travis Tarnowski  Senior  Ashland
 Running backs  Walter Fletcher  Sophomore  Edinboro
 Deshawn Jones  Sophomore  Missouri S&T
 Linemen  Andrew Alten  Senior  Findlay
 Jerron Seales  Senior  Indiana (PA)
 Jake Daugherty  Senior  Ferris State
 Daniel Owens  Senior  Wingate
 Jared Machorro  Senior  Texas A&M-Commerce
 Tight end  Qua Boyd  Junior  West Alabama
 Receivers  Marcus Johnson  Senior  Slippery Rock
 Jalen Tolliver  Senior  Arkansas-Monticello
 All-purpose player  Ja’Quan Gardner  Senior  Humboldt State
 Kicker  Cole Tracy  Senior  Assumption

DEFENSE

 Position  Name  Class  School
 Linemen  Evan Perrizo  Senior  Minnesota State
 Zach Seiler  Junior  Ferris State
 Nathan Shepherd  Senior  Fort Hays State
 John Williamson  Junior  West Florida
 Linebacker  Kyle Kitchens  Senior  Catawba
 Sam Blankenship  Junior  Harding
 Tyler Morrisey  Junior  West Chester
 Backs  Tevin Madison  Senior  West Alabama
 Cua’ Rose  Junior  Arkansas Tech
 Aaron Ivory  Senior  Findlay
 Marvin Conley  Junior  West Florida
 Punter  Zach Gaines  Sophomore  West Alabama

Selection panel: Todd Anderson, UNC Pembroke; Josh Deer, Concordia-St. Paul, Minnesota; Jon Holtz, Slippery Rock (Pennsylvania); John Kean, Missouri S&T; Josh Manck, Texas A&M-Commerce; Jeff Weiss, Wayne State (Michigan).

Luis Perez wins Harlon Hill Trophy as 2017 Division II Football Player of the Year.

FLORENCE, Ala. – Texas A&M University-Commerce senior quarterback Luis Perez of Chula Vista, Calif., has claimed the 2017 Harlon Hill Trophy as the Division II College Football Player of the Year.

Perez received 198 total points and held a commanding 63-point margin over Gannon junior running back Marc Jones at 135. Slippery Rock senior defensive lineman Marcus Martin finished third at 96, marking the highest finish by a defensive lineman in the award’s 32-year history.

Voting by the Division II sports information directors determines the award winner.

Perez, who has led A&M-Commerce to a 13-1 record and into Saturday’s NCAA Division II National Championship Game, was on 85 of the 106 total ballots cast. He will be just the seventh Hill winner to also play in the Division II National Championship Game in the same season that he won the award.

There are five of the previous Hill winners. They are Jeff Bentrim of North Dakota State (1986), Chris Simdorn of North Dakota State (1990), Ronnie West of Pittsburg State (1991), Ronald McKinnon of North Alabama (1995) and Curt Anes of Grand Valley State (2002) also led their teams to the national championship the day after winning the Hill Trophy. Pittsburg State’s Ronald Moore (1992) is the only Hill winner to play on the losing team in the championship game.

The Hill Trophy will be presented to Perez on Friday, January 5, 2018, at a ceremony on the campus of the University of North Alabama, Hill’s alma mater.

Herff Jones, the Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa and the University of North Alabama, are the sponsors of the Harlon Hill Trophy.

Perez has thrown for 4,678 yards and 44 touchdowns this season, while completing better than 70 percent of his pass attempts. He has completed 398 of 566 passes leads Division II in total passing yards (4,678), passing yards per game (334.0) and passing touchdowns (44). He is ranked third in points responsible for (272), sixth in points responsible for per game (19.4), sixth in total offense (329.2) and tenth in passing efficiency (161.8).

He has been named a first-team All-American by the Associated Press and the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association, second-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, and D2CCA Ron Lenz Offensive Player of the Year. He won the J.W. Rollins Award as the Lone Star Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year and is a two-time first-team all-LSC quarterback. He was also named first team all-region and regional offensive player of the year.

Perez is the first quarterback at A&M-Commerce since 1980 (Wade Wilson) to be named a First Team All-American and the first to receive multiple First Team All-America awards in the same season since Sam McCord in 1958.

Perez has thrown at least four touchdown passes seven times this season and went 269 pass attempts without an interception. He is NCAA Division II’s active passing leader at 8,002 yards over the past two seasons with 76 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The Chula Vista, Calif., native is the reigning J.W. Rollins Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Year and posted ten consecutive 300-yard passing games this season including a campaign-best 482-yard effort against Tarleton State.

Perez is the Lone Star Conference’s fifth all-time winner of the Harlon Hill Trophy. A&M-Kingsville running back Johnny Bailey won three consecutive Hill Trophies from 1987-89, and Abilene Christian’s running back Bernard Scott won the Trophy in 2008.

Following Perez, Jones and Martin in the voting were senior quarterback Connor Jessop of Shepherd (61), junior quarterback Amir Hall of Bowie State (50), senior receiver J.T. Luper of Central Oklahoma (39), senior running back Ja’Quan Gardner of Humboldt State (24), junior quarterback Brook Bolles of Central Missouri (14), junior running back Devontae Jackson of West Georgia (12), and junior quarterback Harry Satterwhite of West Alabama (7).

A former University of North Alabama player, the late Harlon Hill, is who the Hill trophy is named. He was a standout with the Lions from 1950-53 before going on to fame in the National Football League with the Chicago Bears

2017 HARLON HILL TROPHY VOTE TOTALS

Points Player 1st 2nd 3rd
198 Luis Perez SR QB A&M-Commerce 44 25 16
135 Marc Jones JR RB Gannon 22 27 15
  96 Marcus Martin SR DE Slippery Rock 13 16 25
  61 Connor Jessop SR QB Shepherd 8 12 13
  50 Amir Hall JR QB Bowie State 12 3 8
  39 J.T. Luper SR WR Central Oklahoma 2 11 11
  24 Ja’Quan Gardner SR RB Humboldt State 3 4 7
  14 Brook Bolles JR QB Central Missouri 1 3 5
  12 Devontae Jackson JR RB West Georgia 0 5 2
    7 Harry Satterwhite JR QB West Alabama 1 0 4

ALL-TIME HARLON HILL TROPHY WINNERS

Year     Player Pos.     School Point Total
1986 Jeff Bentrim QB North Dakota State 133
1987 Johnny Bailey RB Texas A&M-Kingsville 106
1988 Johnny Bailey RB Texas A&M-Kingsville 158
1989 Johnny Bailey RB Texas A&M-Kingsville 182
1990 Chris Simdorn QB North Dakota State 123
1991 Ronnie West WR Pittsburg State 109
1992 Ronald Moore RB Pittsburg State 148
1993 Roger Graham RB New Haven 160
1994 Chris Hatcher QB Valdosta State 209
1995 Ronald McKinnon LB North Alabama 188
1996 Jarrett Anderson TB Truman State 207
1997 Irvin Sigler TB Bloomsburg 208
1998 Brian Shay RB Emporia State 303
1999 Corte McGuffey QB Northern Colorado 205
2000 Dusty Bonner QB Valdosta State 156
2001 Dusty Bonner QB Valdosta State 209
2002 Curt Anes QB Grand Valley State 271
2003 Will Hall QB North Alabama 150
2004 Chad Friehauf QB Colorado School of Mines 194
2005 Jimmy Terwilliger QB East Stroudsburg 121
2006 Danny Woodhead RB Chadron State 187
2007 Danny Woodhead RB Chadron State 175
2008 Bernard Scott RB Abilene Christian 253
2009 Joique Bell RB Wayne State (Mich.) 138
2010 Eric Czerniewski QB Central Missouri 164
2011 Jonas Randolph RB Mars Hill 120
2012 Zach Zulli QB Shippensburg 202
2013 Franklyn Quiteh RB Bloomsburg 182
2014 Jason Vander Laan QB Ferris State 152
2015 Jason Vander Laan QB Ferris State 200
2016 Justin Dvorak QB Colorado School of Mines 185
2017     Luis Perez         QB A&M-Commerce  198

 

Yusef Sterling-Lowe nominated for Cliff Harris Award.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Texas A&M University-Commerce cornerback Yusef Sterling-Lowe has been named as a nominee for the Cliff Harris Award, as announced by the Little Rock Touchdown Club. The nation’s top small college defensive player from Division II, Division III, and the NAIA receive the Cliff Harris Award. Sterling-Lowe joins linebacker Brucks Saathoff as A&M-Commerce Lions nominated for the award.

Sterling-Lowe – a senior from Oakland, Calif. – was previously named a Second Team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association. The First Team All-Lone Star Conference selection has been one of the top cornerbacks in the nation in both pass and running defense. He has made 39 tackles with 7.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, and nine total passes defended. In the National Semifinal win over Harding, he had five solo tackles, two for loss, and an interception.

Sterling-Lowe and the Lions are preparing for Saturday’s NCAA Division II National Championship Game. The 13-1 Lions will take on West Florida at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan., at 5:00 p.m. that day. ESPN2 and the WatchESPN app will televise the game.

Finalists for the Cliff Harris Award will be named next week, with the overall winner and each division’s top vote-getter announced on December 23. The Little Rock Touchdown Club’s annual awards banquet in January also honors them.

For more information on the Cliff Harris Award and the full nominee listing, please visit www.CliffHarrisAward.com.

Garrett Blubaugh wins NCAA Division II Football Elite 90 Award.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Garrett Blubaugh, a redshirt sophomore at Texas A&M University-Commerce, is the recipient of the Elite 90 award for the 2017 NCAA Division II Football Championship.

Blubaugh, majoring in biological sciences, currently carries a 3.96 GPA. They present the award to Blubaugh during the banquet on Thursday evening at Children’s Mercy Park. They previously named Blubaugh All-Academic by the Lone Star Conference. He is also the second-leading tackler with 80 tackles entering Saturday’s National Championship Game.

Blubaugh is the first student-athlete from A&M-Commerce to win this prestigious award.

The Elite 90, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships receives the Elite 90.

Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and a designated member of the squad size at the championship. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed.

For more information on the Elite 90 award winners, log on to NCAA.com/elite-90.

 

Brucks Saathoff named as the nominee for Cliff Harris Award.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Texas A&M University-Commerce linebacker Brucks Saathoff has been named as a nominee for the Cliff Harris Award, as announced by the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Wednesday. The nation’s top small college defensive player from Division II, Division II, and the NAIA receives the Cliff Harris Award.

Saathoff – a junior from San Antonio – was previously named a first-team all-Lone Star Conference selection at linebacker. He is the Lions’ leading tackler with 95 tackles, five tackles for loss, and three sacks. Saathoff forced two fumbles, broke up four passes, recorded five quarterback hurries, and intercepted one pass. He has had double-digit tackles in four games this season, including 11 at Central Washington and 14 in the National Semifinal victory over Harding. He was named Lone Star Conference Defensive Player of the Week against West Texas A&M when he made 12 tackles and forced a fumble.

Saathoff and the Lions are preparing for Saturday’s NCAA Division II National Championship Game. The 13-1 Lions will take on West Florida at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan., at 5 p.m. that day. ESPN2 televises the game as will WatchESPN app.

Finalists for the Cliff Harris Award will be announced next week, with the overall winner and each division’s top vote-getter announced December 23. The Little Rock Touchdown Club’s annual awards banquet in January also honors them.

For more information on the Cliff Harris Award and the full nominee listing, please visit www.CliffHarrisAward.com.

 

No. 8 Lions shoot for first NCAA National Championship against upstart West Florida.

COMMERCE – The No. 8 Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions’ football team will take on the second-year program from the University of West Florida on Saturday for a shot at the Lions’ first-ever NCAA Division II Football Championship in front of a nationally televised audience.

WHO: Texas A&M University-Commerce vs. University of West Florida
WHERE: Kansas City, Kan. | Children’s Mercy Park
WHEN: 5 p.m. CST on Saturday, December 16
RECORDS: A&M-Commerce is 13-1 overall. West Florida is 11-3.
RANKINGS: A&M-Commerce is ranked No. 8 in the AFCA Coaches’ Poll and the D2Football.com Media Poll. West Florida is unranked in either poll, but is receiving votes in the AFCA poll.
SEEDINGS: A&M-Commerce is the second seed of the remaining four teams after winning Super Region Four with road wins over No. 12 Winona State, No. 7 Central Washington, and No. 1 Minnesota State. Harding is the third seed of the remaining four teams after winning Super Region Three with road wins over No. 6 Indianapolis, No. 9 Ashland, and No. 10 Ferris State.

LIONS ADVANCE TO FIRST-EVER NCAA TITLE GAME
• The Lions hosted Harding for the NCAA Division II Football Championship National Semifinal in front of a national television audience and won 31-17.
• The game was played 45 years to the day that the Lions defeated Carson-Newman for the 1972 NAIA National Championship.
• That game also played in Commerce at Memorial Stadium. The coach of that team was Ernest Hawkins, whose name is now on the field at Memorial Stadium.
• It is the first time the Lions have played four games in a single postseason.

LIONS MAKING ATHLETICS PROGRAM HISTORY
• The Lion football team’s National Championship Game appearance is unprecedented in A&M-Commerce’s tenure in NCAA Division II, which began in 1981.
• Lion Athletics has made 25 total NCAA Tournament appearances in team sports.
• The women’s soccer program’s eight NCAA appearances lead it.
• Football and men’s basketball tied with six appearances each.
• Volleyball moved its count to three appearances with their first NCAA trip in 29 years in November. Women’s basketball and softball have each been to the NCAAs once.
• Before this season, no Lion team had advanced past the round of eight, though six teams had previously advanced to that national quarterfinal round:
• 1987 Volleyball
• 1990 Football
• 1991 Football
• 1997 Men’s Basketball
• 2007 Women’s Basketball
• 2008 Soccer

STILL PUSHING #ToTheTop
• The Lions ended the regular season at No. 8 in the nation in both the AFCA and D2Football.com polls.
• A&M-Commerce has been ranked in 38 straight AFCA polls, dating back to the 2015 preseason poll.
• It is A&M-Commerce’s 44th all-time appearance in the AFCA poll since its inception in 2000.
• The Lions have played five nationally-ranked teams this season, all inside the top 12.
• A&M-Commerce is the sixth nationally-ranked team the Argonauts have faced and the second consecutive top 10 team.

CARTHEL 5TH IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN WINS
• Head coach Colby Carthel now ranks fifth in A&M-Commerce history in coaching wins with 47 wins.
• However, he will be in fifth for a while, as his 47 wins are still 18 behind J.V. Sikes’ 63 wins in fourth place.

1 Ernest Hawkins 1964-85 132-92-6
2 Eddie Vowell 1986-98 74-71-1
3 Bob Berry 1935-41, 46-50 72-34-8
4 J.V. Sikes 1954-63 63-34-4
5 Colby Carthel 2013-pres. 47-15
6 M.A. Smith 1951-53 30-2-1

WE’RE GOING STREAKING!
• A&M-Commerce now has the longest active winning streak in Division II football, having won nine consecutive contests since the early October loss to Midwestern State.
• The Lions and Argos snapped the two longest previous active streaks in Division II last week. Indiana (Pa.) had won 13 consecutive games, and Harding had won 11 straight entering the semifinals.
• The Lions last had a 10-game winning streak in 1958-59 (split 7 in 1958, 3 in 1959).
• East Texas had a 31-game unbeaten streak from 1951-53, going 29-0-2 over two-plus seasons.

AGAINST THE ARGONAUTS
• Not surprisingly, as this is UWF’s second year of football, this is the first meeting between the two programs.
• The only meeting in any sport between the two schools came on September 14, 2014, when the unranked A&M-Commerce women’s soccer team upset No. 2 West Florida with a 2-0 shutout in Pensacola. That Lion team would advance to the regional final in the NCAA Tournament.

TOUGH ROAD TO CHILDREN’S MERCY PARK
• These two teams each won four games in the playoffs to reach Kansas City, breaking a long trend of top seeds advancing to the national finals.
• The winner will be the first team to ever win five games in the playoffs for a national title since the bracket expanded to five rounds in 2004. (From 2004-14, the Nos. 1 & 2 seed in each of the four regions received a first-round bye. Only the No. 1 seed has received a first-round bye since 2015.)
• West Florida became the third team in this 13-year span to qualify for the National Championship Game with four wins on Saturday afternoon. A&M-Commerce was the fourth such team later that evening.
• The previous two were Northwest Missouri State in 2005 and Wayne State (Mich.) in 2011.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN!
• Before their home game for the National Semifinals, the Lions won three straight road games, going through the most terrible road to a regional title since the NCAA Division II playoff field expanded to five rounds in 2004.
• The Lions defeated three opponents with a combined record of 34-1.
– Winona State (10-1)
– Central Washington (11-0)
– Minnesota State (13-0)
• Only two other teams won a regional championship by defeating three teams with 33 combined wins in a single playoff – Grand Valley State in 2015 (33-1) and Harding this season (33-2).

• 18 teams have won three games to advance to the National Semifinals in the 13 years since the field expanded to five rounds.
• Before this season, six teams advanced to the semifinals with no home games in the first three rounds.
• This year, A&M-Commerce, West Florida, and Harding all advanced to the semifinals without the benefit of a home playoff game, pushing that count to nine.

• Of the 18 teams to advance to the semifinals with three wins, only the 2017 A&M-Commerce Lions and the 2016 Shepherd Rams hosted their semifinal matchup. That Shepherd team was also undefeated until the semifinal loss to North Alabama.

SENIORS BREAK SCHOOL RECORD
• With the win at Tarleton, the senior class broke the school record for wins in a four-year period. The previous record stood since the Tangerine Bowl runs of the early 1950s.
• That record extended with the National Semifinal victory to 41 games won in a four-year span.

Years Record
2014-17 41-10
1951-54 36-5-2
2013-16 35-14
1957-60 34-7
1972-75 32-13-1
1936-39 31-8
1990-93 31-16-1

STRONG SUPPORT FROM THE LION FAITHFUL
• The Lions set a Memorial Stadium attendance record on December 9 with 10,120 fans at the National Semifinal win over Harding.
• With that turnout, the Lions moved up to fifth in Division II in attendance average in 2017.

1 Tuskegee 14,998
2 Grand Valley State 13,432
3 Morehouse 10,100
4 Fort Valley State 9,572
5 A&M-Commerce 8,580
  • The crowd of 10,120 was the largest in a Division II playoff game this season by a significant margin. Only three other games in the previous 26 playoff games drew more than 5,000 fans.
1 Harding at A&M-Commerce Semifinals 10,120
2 Sioux Falls at Midwestern State First Round 7,502
3 Ferris State at Fort Hays State Second Round 7,348
4 West Florida at West Alabama Regional Final 6,105
  • The home crowd of 10,120 was also larger than the Lions’ previous three playoff games combined.
Rd 1 at Winona State 1,624
Rd 2 at Central Washington 4,226 5,850
Rd 3 at Minnesota State 2,803 8,653
Semi HARDING 10,120 +1,467 margin

PEREZ’ OUTSTANDING SEASON AND CAREER LEAD TO HARLON HILL TROPHY

• Lion quarterback Luis Perez became the Lions’ first-ever Harlon Hill Trophy winner Thursday and has constantly been adding to a long list of accolades as the postseason has progressed.
• Perez received 198 total points and held a commanding 63-point margin over Gannon junior running back Marc Jones at 135. Slippery Rock senior defensive lineman Marcus Martin finished third at 96.
• Perez is the first quarterback at A&M-Commerce since 1980 (Wade Wilson) to be named a First Team All-American and the first to receive multiple First Team All-America awards in the same season since Sam McCord in 1958.
• Perez is the Lone Star Conference’s fifth all-time winner of the Harlon Hill Trophy. A&M-Kingsville running back Johnny Bailey won three consecutive Hill Trophies from 1987-89, and Abilene Christian’s running back Bernard Scott won the Trophy in 2008.
• On Wednesday, he was named the Ron Lenz National Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-American quarterback by the Division II Conference Commissioners’ Association. The D2CCA had previously named him the Super Region Four Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Region quarterback.
• He is the first Lion to earn National Player of the Year honors from the SID voting group in any sport.
• He also earned first-team All-American by the Associated Press.
• He was also named a second-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association before the semifinals.
• He has won the Lone Star Conference J.W. Rollins Award as Offensive Player of the Year. He also earned First Team All-Lone Star Conference honors for the second consecutive season.
• A Lion quarterback has earned first-team all-LSC honors a total of 17 times since the league’s formation in 1931.
• He became 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.
• Perez’s passing average has vaulted him to the top of the Division II ranks. He is one of nine passers in Division II averaging over 300 yards passing per game.
• At 4,676 yards entering the National Championship Game, Perez has the ninth-most passing yards in a season in Division II history. Four of the eight quarterbacks ahead of him played at West Texas A&M.
• With 325 yards or more today, Perez would become the fourth passer in Division II history with 5,000 yards or more in a season.
• This season alone would rank in the top six in school history for a career.
• A 200-yard-plus game in the National Championship Game would tie him with West Texas A&M’s Dustin Vaughan (2012 & 2013) for the most 200-yard passing games in a season in Lone Star Conference history at 14.
• He did not play high school football, and was a competitive bowler, with 12 perfect 300 games to his name.
• He now has 15 games of 300-plus passing yards in his career, including ten straight games during the season.
• He went 267 passing attempts without an interception over the course of 6-plus games.
• 449:46 of game time elapsed between Perez interceptions.
• Perez also became the school’s single-season passing yardage leader.
• He ranks second in all NCAA Divisions in passing yards this season behind Sam Houston State’s Jeremiah Briscoe (4,714 yards) and ahead of Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph (4,553 yards) and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma (4,340 yards).
• Perez is also the Lion career leader in three major passing categories.
• He ranks first in Division II and ninth in all of the NCAA in career passing yards per game.

BLUBAUGH WINS ELITE 90
• Garrett Blubaugh, a redshirt sophomore at Texas A&M University-Commerce, is the recipient of the Elite 90 award for the 2017 NCAA Division II Football Championship.
• Blubaugh, majoring in biological sciences, currently carries a 3.96 GPA. They presented Blubaugh with the award during the banquet on Thursday evening at Children’s Mercy Park. The Lone Star Conference previously named Blubaugh All-Academic. He is also the second-leading tackler with 80 tackles entering Saturday’s National Championship Game.
• Blubaugh is the first student-athlete from A&M-Commerce to win this prestigious award.
• The Elite 90, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships receives the Elite 90.

FIRSTS OF TOP WINNERS
• It is the first time since the Elite 90 Award’s inception in 2009 that the Elite 90 Award winner and Harlon Hill Trophy winner came from the same school.

KICKIN’ IT WITH KRISTOV
• Kicker Kristov Martinez was named the Lone Star Conference’s first team All-Conference kicker. He was also named second-team All-Super Region Four by the D2CCA.
• He hit his 50th career field goal at Minnesota State to become the school leader in that category. The 50th field goal was a career-long 48-yarder.
• He hit field goals of 38 yards in each of the two overtime periods of the 34-31 win at Central Washington
• He became the all-time leading scorer with an LSC Player of the Week effort in the regular season finale at Tarleton.
• He scored 15 points in that game and scored 10 points or more in seven games this season. The four field goals at Tarleton tied a school single-game record.
• He has scored 124 points this season. The late Saul Martinez scored 134 points in 2014 to set the school single-season record.
•Martinez was also an LSC All-Academic selection for the second consecutive season. He is majoring in management.

FIREWORKS AFTER A SCORE
• The Lions have excelled on kickoffs, both when kicking the ball away, and when receiving.
• The Lions rank 1st nationally in kickoff return defense, allowing 11.30 yards per return. That average dropped after each of the last three playoff games.
• In the playoffs, the Lions have allowed only 9.1 yards per kickoff return. Martinez had seven touchbacks on 23 kickoffs, and opponents average staring at their own 25.
• A&M-Commerce is 12th in the nation in kickoff return average at 25.06 yards per return.
• West Florida ranks 132nd of 168 Division II teams in kickoff return defense, allowing 22.48 yards per return.

MACHORRO NAMED ALL-AMERICAN, O-LINEMAN OF THE YEAR
• Tackle Jared Machorro was named a first-team All-American by the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association and the Associated Press on Wednesday.
• He now has seven career All-America honors, and three All-America honors this season.
• He was the top vote-getter in the D2CCA national voting process.
• Last week he was named a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches’ Association. It is his second consecutive season as an AFCA All-American after earning second-team honors in 2016.
• He was also named D2CCA First Team All-Region and the Lone Star Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year.
• The senior was named first team all-LSC after leading the offensive line to a dominant season that saw the Lions qualify for the NCAA Division II playoffs for the third consecutive season.
• It is the second consecutive season he has earned first team all-LSC honors.
• Machorro is the sixth Lion to win Offensive Lineman of the Year honors since the award’s inception in 1985, and the first A&M-Commerce player to do in a single-division LSC.
• He also ranks 11th in the LSC in average punt yardage at 35.5 yards per punt.
• That’s just awesome.
• Actual punter Tristan Perry ranks fourth in the conference with a 39.6-yard punting average. He was named all-LSC honorable mention.

HOBBS EARNS TOP HONORS
• Tight end (or A in the Lions’ system) Vincent Hobbs has had four touchdown receptions in the Lions’ playoff victories this season.
• Multiple ESPN programs on Monday featured his catch and crashing through the fencing at Memorial Stadium.
• He was named first team all-Lone Star Conference when the league honors were released.
• He is the first Lion tight end to be named first team all-conference since Corey Goodall in 2006.
• The shortlist of Lion tight ends named the first team all-conference includes Gary Compton (1988 & 1990), Javier Cardenas (1983 & 1984), Dudley Slice (1972), and Tom Black (1967).

VERSATILE STERLING-LOWE
• Cornerback Yusef Sterling-Lowe was named a second-team All-American by the AFCA after earning first team all-Lone Star Conference honors for a highly successful season in both run and pass defense.
• On Wednesday, they announced him as a nominee for the Cliff Harris Award, which is the top small college (Division II, Division III, and NAIA) defensive player in the nation. The winner of this award announced on December 23.
• He was named the LSC Defensive Player of the Week with two interceptions at A&M-Kingsville.
• He had 27 regular season tackles as a cornerback with a season-best eight stops against Eastern New Mexico.
•At Winona, he had a key pass breakup.
• At CWU, he had four tackles with a tackle for loss and a pass breakup.
• He was monstrous in the National Semifinal win over Harding, with five solo tackles, two tackles for loss, and an interception.
• Against Harding, the Lions had two sacks and seven tackles for loss. It tied season highs allowed by the Bisons in both categories.

ALL-LEAGUE HONORS FOR TOP STOPPER
• Middle linebacker Brucks Saathoff earned first team all-Lone Star Conference honors after he led the Lions in the regular season with 59 stops including three tackles for loss and two sacks. He forced a fumble, had a pass breakup, and five quarterback hurries.
• On Wednesday, he was a nominee for the Cliff Harris Award, which the top small college (Division II, Division III, and NAIA) defensive player in the nation receives. The winner of this award will be on December 23.
• He had a season-high 12 tackles in the win at West Texas A&M, winning LSC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
• After earning all-Conference honors, Saathoff was the defensive leader for the Lions at Winona State with a critical goal-line interception, as well as eight tackles and a tackle for loss.
• He had 11 tackles with a sack to lead the Lion defense at Central Washington.
• He led the Lion defense with 14 tackles and a forced fumble in the semifinal victory over Harding.

LIONS ALL-TIME IN THE POSTSEASON

Jan 1, 1953 vs. Tennessee Tech W 33-0 Tangerine Bowl Orlando
Jan 1, 1954 vs. Arkansas State T 7-7 Tangerine Bowl Orlando
Jan 1, 1958 vs. Mississippi Southern W 10-9 Tangerine Bowl Orlando
Dec 31, 1958 vs. Missouri Valley W 26-7 Tangerine Bowl Orlando
Nov 25, 1972 Central State (Okla.) W 54-0 NAIA Semifinal Commerce
Dec 9, 1972 Carson-Newman W 21-18 NAIA Champion Bowl Commerce
Dec 6, 1980 at Central Arkansas W 27-21 NAIA Quarterfinal Conway, Ark.
Dec 13, 1980 Elon L 6-14 NAIA Semifinal Commerce
Nov 17, 1990 at Grand Valley State W 20-14 DII First Rd Allendale, Mich.
Nov 24, 1990 at Pittsburg State L 28-60 DII Quarterfinal Pittsburg, Kan.
Nov 23, 1991 Grand Valley State W 36-15 DII First Rd Commerce
Nov 30, 1991 at Pittsburg State L 28-38 DII Quarterfinal Pittsburg, Kan.
Nov 18, 1995 at Portland State L 35-56 DII First Rd Portland, Ore.
Dec 13, 2013 vs. Harding L 3-44 Live United Bowl Texarkana, Ark.
Dec 6, 2014 vs. East Central W 72-21 Heart of Texas Bowl Copperas Cove
Nov 21, 2015 at Ferris State L 30-48 DII Regional Qtr Big Rapids, Mich.
Nov 19, 2016 Colorado Mesa W 34-23 DII Regional Qtr Commerce
Nov 26, 2016 at Grand Valley State L 32-55 DII Regional Semi Allendale, Mich.
Nov 18, 2017 at Winona State W 20-6 DII Regional Qtr Winona, Minn.
Nov 25, 2017 at Central Washington W 34-31 (2OT) DII Regional Semi Ellensburg, Wash.
Dec 2, 2017 at Minnesota State W 31-21 DII Quarterfinal Mankato, Minn.
Dec 9, 2017 Harding W 31-17 DII Semifinal Commerce

BIG MIKE MAKES BIG PLAYS
• Defensive end Michael Onuoha caught eyes all season as a disruptive force in the Lion front.
• He had 35 tackles with six tackles for loss and two sacks, along with five quarterback hurries. He had a season-high seven tackles at Midwestern State. That included a big tackle for loss to force a turnover on downs in a comeback effort.
• At Winona State, Onuoha was continually putting pressure on Warrior quarterback Derek Beenken and came away with a strip sack, and two tackles for loss in a four-tackle effort while WSU only ran 61 plays.
• He had three tackles and a tackle for loss at Central Washington.
• Onuoha had six tackles with a tackle for loss and a pass breakup in the National Semifinal victory over Harding.

ALSO ON THE HONORS LIST
• Other players earning all-LSC honors were wide receivers Darrion Landry and Buck Wilson, center Jon Aguilar, guard Poet Thomas, defensive tackle D.D. Fletcher, outside linebacker Kieston Carter, safeties Chris Smith and Alex Shillow, and long snapper Austin Jordan on the second team.
• Earning all-LSC honorable mention were wide receiver D’Arthur Cowan, running back Carandal Hale, return specialist Shawn Hooks, defensive tackle Peyton Searcy, inside linebacker Neema Behbahani, outside linebacker Travon Blanchard, cornerback Darent White, and punter Tristan Perry.
• Garrett Blubaugh joined Martinez on the LSC All-Academic team.

FREE FOOTBALL
• The epic comeback against Central Washington ended in a 34-31 double-overtime victory for the Lions.
• That marked the seventh overtime game in program history.
• The Lions are 4-3 in overtime.

Date Score/Matchup OTs
10/1/2005 A&M-Commerce 35, at East Central 28 1
9/29/2007 Central Oklahoma 21, at A&M-Commerce 20 1
10/6/2007 A&M-Commerce 41, at Southeastern Oklahoma State 39 3
9/12/2009 Abilene Christian 20, A&M-Commerce 14 (at Cotton Bowl) 1
9/29/2012 at A&M-Commerce 21, Texas A&M-Kingsville 14 1
10/25/2014 at Midwestern State 40, A&M-Commerce 37 1
11/25/2017 A&M-Commerce 34, at Central Washington 31 2
  • In the Division II postseason, there have been 29 overtime games dating back to 1985.
Date Rd Score/Matchup OTs
11/30/1985 First at South Dakota 13, Central St. 10 2
11/28/1987 First Northern Michigan 23, at Angelo St. 20 1
11/18/1989 First at Portland St. 56, West Chester 50 3
11/28/1992 Qtr at Pittsburg St. 38, North Dakota St. 37 1
11/19/1994 First North Dakota St. 18, at Pittsburg St. 12 3
11/26/1994 Qtr at North Alabama 27, Valdosta St. 24 2
12/2/1995 Semi Pittsburg St. 28, at Texas A&M-Kingsville 25 1
11/28/1998 Qtr at Carson-Newman 38, Delta St. 31 1
11/28/1998 Qtr Texas A&M-Kingsville 24, Central Oklahoma 21 1
11/20/1999 First at Northeastern St. 27, Western Washington 24 1
11/20/1999 First at Northwest Missouri St. 20, North Dakota 13 1
11/20/1999 First Indiana (Pa.) 27, at Slippery Rock 20 1
12/11/1999 Champ Northwest Missouri St. 58, Carson-Newman 52 4
12/1/2001 Qtr Catawba 37, at Valdosta St. 34 1
11/30/2002 Qtr at Texas A&M-Kingsville 28, UC Davis 20 1
11/26/2005 Qtr at North Alabama 41, Central Arkansas 38 1
11/24/2007 Second at Chadron St. 76, Abilene Christian 73 3
11/29/2008 Qtr Minnesota-Duluth 19, at Grand Valley St. 13 2
11/14/2009 First Hillsdale 27, at Minnesota St.-Mankato 24 1
11/14/2009 First Tarleton St. 57, at Texas A&M-Kingsville 56 2
11/27/2010 Second at Minnesota-Duluth 20, St. Cloud St. 17 1
11/19/2011 First at Minnesota-Duluth 30, Saginaw Valley St. 27 1
11/26/2011 Second Northwest Missouri St. 38, at Midwestern St. 31 1
11/17/2012 First at Missouri Western St. 57, Minnesota-Duluth 55 3
11/29/2014 Second Minnesota-Duluth 48, Ouachita Baptist 45 1
11/29/2014 Second at Minnesota St.-Mankato 24, Pittsburg St. 21 1
11/26/2016 Second Harding 27, at Sioux Falls 24 1
11/18/2017 First at Minnesota St.-Mankato 16, Colorado St.-Pueblo 13 1
11/25/2017 Second A&M-Commerce 34, at Central Washington 31 2

ROAD WARRIORS
• The Lions traveled 8,938 round trip miles for their three playoff victories leading into the National Semifinals.
– Winona State – 2,136 miles round trip
– Central Washington – 4,610 miles round trip
– Minnesota State – 2,192 miles round trip

THE LONE STAR CONFERENCE IN THE NATIONAL FINALS
• The Lions are making the Lone Star Conference’s fourth appearance in the NCAA Division II National Championship Game.
• A win would make the Lions the first team in LSC history to win five playoff games in the same season.
• Southwest Texas State in 1981 & 1982 was the only LSC school to win the NCAA Division II Championship.
• Those SWT teams, coached by the legendary Jim Wacker, whose twin granddaughters – Jaryn and Jaslyn – are on the Lion volleyball team, which advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Jaslyn was named a CoSIDA Academic All-America earlier this week.
• Texas A&M-Kingsville also advanced to the National Championship Game in 1994, losing to North Alabama.
• Including the NAIA, the LSC has 14 national championships in football. The league won every NAIA title from East Texas State’s 1972 championship through Texas A&I’s claim in 1979. From 1968 through 1979, the LSC only missed the NAIA title game in 1971.

A&M-COMMERCE vs. the GULF SOUTH
• It is the 32nd time the Lions have played against a Gulf South opponent since the GSC’s inception in 1970.
• A&M-Commerce currently sports a .516 record against those teams with 16 wins and 15 losses.
• The Lions are 2-0 against the GSC on a neutral field.

A&M-COMMERCE IN NEUTRAL SITE GAMES
• It is the 26th game in the record books noted as a neutral site game for the Lions.
• The Lions are 16-8-1 in neutral site games.
• The Cotton Bowl/Dallas Fair Park is the most common neutral site, as the Lions have played seven games there with a 4-3 record.
• A&M-Commerce has a 2-2 record at AT&T Stadium and a 3-1 record at the Citrus/Tangerine Bowl in Orlando.
• It is only the second time the Lions have gone north for a neutral site game. The other was the 2013 Live United Texarkana Bowl, which was delayed by a week for a winter storm. The Lions lost to Harding 44-3.

FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD – THE LIONS IN KANSAS
• It is the Lions’ eighth overall game in Kansas and third NCAA playoff game in the Sunflower State.
• The Lions have wins over Washburn in 1977 and Fort Hays State in 2006 but have not fared well against Pittsburg State. The Gorillas are not playing in this game, but it gave us an excuse to say Gorillas.

Sept 24, 1977 at Washburn W 36-35
Nov 24, 1990 at Pittsburg State L 28-60 D-II 2nd Rd
Nov 30, 1991 at Pittsburg State L 28-38 D-II 2nd Rd
Sept 13, 1992 at Pittsburg State L 13-27
Sept 11, 1999 at Pittsburg State L 3-51
Sept 2, 2006 at Fort Hays State W 17-15

 

SOCCER

Delaney Bunselmeyer | Sophie Haywood

Bunselmeyer, Haywood named USC Scholar All-Americans.

KANSAS CITY, Mo.– Texas A&M University-Commerce soccer players Delaney Bunselmeyer and Sophie Haywood have been named United Soccer Coaches Second Team Scholar All-Americans. The awards add to the numerous accolades both players have earned during the 2017 season.

It is the second consecutive year two Lions have been named Scholar All-Americans, after Vicky Back and Savannah Grasser received the distinctions after the 2016 season. To be named to a Scholar All-America Team, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale). That is throughout her career. They should start more than 50 percent of all games and be a significant contributor to the team. An institution that is a current NSCAA College Services member has to nominate them.

Bunselmeyer was also named a D2CCA Second Team All-American as well as a First Team All-Region selection by both the D2CCA and the USC. She added those accolades to her being named Lone Star Conference Defensive Player of the Year and being a First Team All-Conference selection. Bunselmeyer led the Lion defensive unit that allowed the fewest goals per game in the LSC, helping the Lions to a 12-4-3 record.

Haywood adds this Academic distinction to numerous other academic awards. She was named LSC Academic Player of the Year as well as Academic All-District and Academic All-Conference. She was also named First Team All-Region by the USC, Second Team All-Region by D2CCA and was a First Team All-Conference selection. Haywood led the Lions with ten goals and tied for the LSC lead in game-winning goals.

2017 USC NCAA Division II Women’s Scholar All-America Teams

FIRST TEAM

 Pos.  Player   Yr.  School   GPA  Major 
 GK  Taylor Smith  Sr.  Bellarmine  3.83  Education
 D  Emily Garnier  Sr.  Colorado School of Mines  3.56  Computer Science
 D  Shannon Quinn  Sr.  Grand Valley State  3.92  Biomedical Sciences
 D  Helen Seed  Sr.  Carson-Newman  3.38  Exercise Science
 D  Jasmine Senécal-Guzman  Sr.  UNC-Pembroke  3.54  Business Administration
 D  Callie Smith  Sr.  Angelo State  3.71  Exercise Science
 M  Emmily Infante  Jr.  Oklahoma Baptist  3.43  Pre-Allied Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Kinesiology and Leisure Studies
 M  Alana Jefferson  Sr.  Queens University of Charlotte  3.9  Biology
 M  Emily Webster  Sr.  Western Washington  3.49  Education
 F  Gabriella Mencotti  Sr.  Grand Valley State  3.73  Finance
 F  Jeanine Nunez  Sr.  Adelphi  3.53  Nursing
 F  Mackenzie Rief  Sr.  Quincy  3.54  Exercise Science
 F  Lauren Wade  Sr.  Carson-Newman  3.9  Master’s, Business Administration

SECOND TEAM

 Pos.  Player   Yr.  School   GPA  Major 
 D  Delaney Bunselmeyer  Jr.  A&M-Commerce  3.42  Human Performance
 D  Rachel Coutinho  Jr.  Belmont Abbey College  3.82  Business
 D  Miranda Famestad  Sr.  Bemidji State  3.5  Physical Education
 D  Nicole Forte  Sr.  Adelphi  3.9  Exercise Science
 D  Maggie Saras  Sr.  Regis  3.94  Health and Exercise Science
 D  Sierra Shugarts  Sr.  Western Washington  3.35  Interdisciplinary Studies
 M  Beatriz Fernandes  Sr.  North Alabama  3.55  Exercise Science
 M  Holly Rawcliffe  Jr.  Limestone  3.9  Strength and Conditioning
 M  Charlotte Ring  Jr.  Queens University of Charlotte  3.7  Business Administration
 M  Taylor Sipos  Sr.  Adelphi  3.55  Nursing
 F  Sophie Haywood  Sr.  A&M-Commerce  3.88  Human Performance
 F  Millie Shaw  Jr.  Limestone  4.0  History

THIRD TEAM

 Pos.  Player   Yr.  School   GPA  Major 
 GK  Catherine Arneson  Sr.  Bemidji State  3.7  Elementary Education
 D  Rebecca Gleason  Sr.  Northeastern State  3.7  Medical Laboratory Science
 D  Jennifer Goethe  Jr.  Oklahoma Baptist  3.38  Personal Training and Strength and Conditioning
 D  Mariah Lewis  Sr.  Queens University of Charlotte  3.4  Nursing
 D  Drew Ribadeneyra  Sr.  Pace  3.87  Biological Psychology
 M  Skye Finley  Sr.  Minnesota-Duluth  3.45  Marketing and Graphic Design
 M  Grace Miorelli  Sr.  Cedarville  3.66  Exercise Science
 M  Dani Nelson  Jr.  Bemidji State  3.84  Psychology
 M  Carlie Thornber  Sr.  Tusculum College  4.0  Biology (Pre-Medicine)
 F  Rikki Fix  Sr.  Regis  3.82  Neuroscience
 F  Holly Talbut-Smith  Jr.  Carson-Newman  3.9  Exercise Science