Incarnate Word 31, A&M-Commerce 9
Location: Benson Stadium · San Antonio, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (1-4, 1-2 LSC); Incarnate Word (2-4, 1-3 LSC)
Up Next: vs. Tarleton State · Saturday, Oct. 13 · 6 p.m. · Memorial Stadium
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – A&M-Commerce dug itself a 24-0 hole in the first half against Incarnate Word and was unable to recover, dropping a 31-9 decision to the Cardinals at Benson Stadium Saturday evening. The Lions fall to 1-4 on the season and 1-2 in Lone Star Conference play while Incarnate Word improves to 2-4 and 1-3 in LSC action.
Deric Davis had a solid night for the Lions, completing 20-of-34 passes for 204 yards and no interceptions, but the Cardinals kept him off-balance all evening, sacking Davis a school-record eight times, including seven in the opening half. Davis also rushed 18 times for 13 yards and the Lions' lone touchdown on the evening.
Garrett Smith continued to emerge as one of Davis' favorite targets, hauling in seven passes for 66 yards. Tyler Rawlings, Tevin Godfrey and Darryl Thompson each had three receptions for 48, 43 and 26 yards respectively. On the ground, Jamar Mosley led the way with 44 yards on nine carries in his San Antonio homecoming while Wayne Chapman had 20 yards on 10 carries.
Defensively, Danny Mason and Robert Wheeler each tallied nine tackles as Wheeler had seven solo stops while Mason notched five solo and three tackles for loss including a pair of sacks. J.T. Bates finished with eight tackles as well while Marcus Fore had two stops and an 85-yard interception return, giving a spark to the Lions in the second quarter.
Coming off the emotional overtime victory against Texas A&M-Kingsville last Saturday, A&M-Commerce was hoping to bring that momentum with it to San Antonio. But Incarnate Word came out striking in the first quarter, using a 22-yard field goal and a 61-yard touchdown pass from former Lion quarterback Zach Rhodes to Andrew Mocio to race out to a 10-0 lead midway through the opening quarter.
The Cardinals were driving again late in the first quarter, but Fore picked off a Rhodes pass at the goal line and raced 85 yards downfield, finally being pulled down deep in Incarnate Word territory at the 15-yard line. However the Lions were unable to take advantage of the great opportunity as on fourth down, Davis was sacked and fumbled the ball, thwarting A&M-Commerce's attempt to get on the board in the first quarter.
Incarnate Word would take advantage of the Lion miscue, covering 63 yards in six plays before punching it in from three yards out to build a commanding 17-0 lead with just under 12 minutes remaining in the half. It then went from bad to worse for A&M-Commerce as after a missed 32-yard field goal by Jacob O'Neil, an Incarnate Word punt was muffed by returner Israel Hughes and recovered in the endzone by the Cardinals, giving Incarnate Word the 24-0 lead at the half.
The third quarter has been the Lions' strongest of the season and proved to be the case this night as well as A&M-Commerce began to mount a bit of a comeback. The Lions used a nine-play, 77-yard drive, capped by a seven-yard touchdown scramble from Davis, to cut the lead to 24-6,then O'Neil redeemed himself with a 32-yard field goal near the end of the third quarter, pulling the Lions to within two touchdowns at 24-9 heading into the fourth quarter.
But the comeback was not to be as the Cardinal defense continued to step up, notching their program-record eighth sack on Davis early in the fourth quarter, then adding a 26-yard touchdown pass fro Rhodes to Brandon Yates with just under four minutes remaining, sealing the 31-9 win for Incarnate Word.
The Cardinals improved to 3-0 all-time against the Lions and recorded a comfortable victory after the first two games of the series were both decided by just a single point. It could be the last game for a while between Incarnate Word and A&M-Commerce as the Cardinals will make the transition to Division I starting in 2013.
Rhodes was 17-of-28 for 189 yards and two touchdowns for Incarnate Word with Yates leading the way with four catches for 41 yards. On the ground, Marcus Wright tallied 49 yards on six carries as the Cardinals held a 335 to 295 advantage in total offense, outrushing the Lions 124 to 91 and holding a 211 to 204 edge in passing yards.
A&M-Commerce looks to return to its winning ways when it returns to the turf this weekend, hosting Tarleton State at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 13. The Texans are 2-2 in LSC play and are coming off a hard-fought 38-35 loss to Delta Stat Saturday evening. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Saturday night.