Angelo State 17, A&M-Commerce 16
Location: San Angelo Stadium · San Angelo, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (1-6, 1-4 LSC); Angelo State (4-4, 3-2 LSC)
Up Next: vs. Abilene Christian · Saturday, October 27 · 2 p.m. · Commerce
SAN ANGELO, Texas – A&M-Commerce looked like a new team for the opening half Saturday evening, building a 13-0 halftime against Angelo State. But the Rams would outscore the Lions 17-3 in the second half, handing A&M-Commerce a heartbreaking 17-16 loss at San Angelo Stadium as A&M-Commerce drops to 1-6 overall and 1-4 in Lone Star Conference play.
It truly was a tale of two different halves for A&M-Commerce which looked like it had finally found its groove in the opening 30 minutes. The Lions outscored the Rams 13-0 while racking up 229 yards of offense through the first two quarters. But in the second half, A&M-Commerce took a turn for the worse, managing just three points and 11 yards of total offense while allowing Angelo State to complete the comeback.
A&M-Commerce made a change at quarterback during the week with Kevin Vye earning his first career start and was solid calling the shots. Vye was 12-of-27 for 143 yards and a touchdown while also scrambling for 39 yards on 10 carries and a score on the ground.
Once again it was Garrett Smith who led A&M-Commerce in receiving, hauling in four catches for 33 yards with Wayne Chapman adding three catches for 40 yards out of the backfield. Tevin Godfrey had two catches for 37 yards and a touchdown for the Lions as well.
The rushing game seemed to be clicking in the first half for the Lions as A&M-Commerce racked up 104 yards on 22 carries in the opening two quarters. But as was the story of the day, the rushing game dried up in a big way as the Lions carried the ball eight times, losing seven yards and finishing with 97 for the game. Vye led the way with his 39 yards while Marcus French racked up 36 yards on nine carries.
Defensively, Joel Wren, Marcus Fore and Tristian Davis all led A&M-Commerce with seven tackles each with Matt Claggett, Danny Mason and Kristoddie Woods each posting six tackles. Tevin Moore had a strong performance as well, notching five tackles including 2.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks. Brandon Turner also had a sack on the afternoon.
The quarterback switch seemed to energize the Lion offense in the early going as A&M-Commerce put together a 13-play, 91-yard drive that took 6:52 seconds, capped by a five-yard touchdown strike from Vye to Godfrey. It was the longest scoring drive of the season for the Lions and also marked the first time in eight games A&M-Commerce registered points in the first quarter. But the Lions would miss the extra point, a play which would come back to haunt A&M-Commerce in the latter stages of the game.
Early in the second, the Lions continued to click on offense, putting together an eight-play, 72-yard drive that took 4:12 off the clock as Vye punched it in from five yards out and extended the Lion advantage to 13-0, the first time all season A&M-Commerce had registered a double-digit lead. A defensive stand late in the half kept Angelo State off the board as the Rams missed a 37-yard field goal, giving the Lions the 13-0 lead at halftime.
But it was as if the two teams switched uniforms during the intermission as Angelo State came out aggressive on offense, registering a pair of third-quarter touchdowns to take the lead at 14-13 at the end of the third. Early in the fourth, the Lions would reclaim the lead off a 31-yard field goal by Chase Thrasher, as the redshirt freshman's first collegiate field goal put the Lions on top 16-14 with 12:45 to play.
On the Rams' ensuing drive, they were threatening to punch in another touchdown, but some key defensive plays kept Angelo State out of the endzone and forcing the Rams to settle for a 27-yard field goal as ASU reclaimed the lead at 17-16 with 6:55 to play.
A&M-Commerce was unable to generate any type of offense on its next possession, punting the ball back to Angelo State and looking for a key defensive stop. But the Rams were able to run the remainder of the time off the clock, recording a pair of crucial third down conversions on the ensuing drive, and making the Lions pay for that missed extra point in the first quarter, sealing the 17-16 victory.
The victory marks the fourth-straight for Angelo State over A&M-Commerce as the Rams improve to 26-14-2 in the all-time series. The Lions continue to struggle on the road, extending their road losing streak to 10 games while A&M-Commerce has now lost 14-straight road games to teams from the Lone Star state.
A&M-Commerce is hoping to return to its winning ways when it returns home next weekend to face Abilene Christian on Saturday, October 27th. The game against the Wildcats marks the 2012 Homecoming game for the Lions as well as the possible end of an era. The Lions and Wildcats have the longest series in A&M-Commerce program history, dating back to the 1922 season, but could possibly be the final meeting between the two as Abilene Christian makes the jump to Division I FCS next year. Opening kick between the Lions and Wildcats is set for 2 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.