Midwestern State 63, A&M-Commerce 17
Location: Cowboys Stadium * Arlington, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (0-2, 0-1 LSC); Midwestern State (2-0, 1-0 LSC)
Up Next: vs. Ouachita Baptist * Thursday, Sept. 22nd * Memorial Stadium * 7:00 p.m.
ARLINGTON, Texas –- Texas A&M University-Commerce drew first blood in the 2011 Harvey Martin Classic at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, but Midwestern State dominated for the remainder of the game as the Mustangs hand the Lions a 63-17 defeat at the Lone Star Football Festival.
"We just got outplayed in every facet of the game," said head coach Guy Morriss following the defeat. "We had some opportunities on some miscues that we couldn't take advantage of, and Midwestern State made us pay for it. We were never able to establish any type of momentum. Probably fortunately for us, we have to forget this game quickly.
After holding the Mustangs to a three-and-out on their opening drive, A&M-Commerce showed its aggressiveness early as on the opening play from scrimmage, quarterback Yogi Gallegos threw a screen pass to receiver Adam Jones, who then hauled a 38-yard pass to receiver Tyler Rawlings to get the Lions into Mustang territory. Gallegos then completed a 20-yard pass to running back Marcus Graham to get inside the redzone, where eight plays later Gallegos connected with Adorian Arthur in the corner of the endzone to give the Lions the early 7-0 lead.
The Mustangs would respond with a touchdown of their own, completing a crucial fourth-down conversion in the process, to tie the game at seven. A&M-Commerce then found itself with a prime scoring opportunity as after being stopped in their ensuing drive, the Mustangs fumbled the punt with Corvellas Cage recovering for A&M-Commerce at the 16-yard line. But the Lions couldn't take advantage as Jacob O'Neil missed a 36-yard field goal, keeping the game knotted at seven at the end of the first quarter.
Another Mustang miscue gave the Lions prime field position once again at the Midwestern State 26-yard line. A&M-Commerce moved the ball down to the three yard line, but had to settle for a 19-yard field goal from O'Neil to take a 10-7 lead with 13 minutes remaining in the half.
But from that point on, the game belonged to Midwestern State as the Mustangs would tally 42 unanswered points, taking a 49-10 advantage early into the fourth quarter. A&M-Commerce continued to play hard as quarterback J.J. Harp connected with a wide open Taylor Fore for a 39-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 49-17 with 9:33 remaining. But the Mustangs would add two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including an 87-yard rush with four seconds remaining to hand the Lions the 63-17 defeat.
Gallegos and Harp combined for 334 passing yards on the afternoon, with Gallegos completing 18-of-33 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown. Harp went 12-of-20 for 127 yards with a touchdown and an interception in relief. Fore, playing just minutes down the road from his home in Fort Worth, led the Lions with seven catches for 85 yards and the touchdown with Tyler Rawlings hauling in five catches for 69 yards. Kenzee Jackson also pulled in five receptions for 58 yards before leaving in the third quarter with a leg injury.
A&M-Commerce had a better day running the ball as Marcus Graham led the way with 44 yards on 11 carries, moving him over 1,600 yards in his career. Harp scrambled for 22 yards on five carries with Travis Zacharie adding 14 yards on three carries as well. Darryll Crummie had a solid game in his A&M-Commerce debut, rushing three times for 17 yards while catching four passes for 54 yards as well.
Defensively, linebacker Cory Whitfield paced the Lions with 10 tackles with fellow linebacker Matt Claggett and Danny Mason adding seven for A&M-Commerce. Israel Hughes and Dre Dunbar each had six tackles in the defensive backfield as well.
Midwestern State's Keidrick Jackson was impressive in his return to his hometown of Arlington, rushing for 62 yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback Brandon Kelsey completed 14-of-20 passes for 163 yards while rushing six times, picking up 70 yards on the ground for the Mustangs.
As coach Morriss mentioned, the Lions will have to forget this loss quickly as they have a short week to prepare for their home opener on Thursday, September 22. A&M-Commerce hosts Ouachita Baptist on a rare Thursday night game, with the opening kickoff set for 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.