TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE FOOTBALL PREVIEW: No. 23 Lions close out regular season with key regional battle at Angelo State

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The No. 23 Texas A&M University-Commerce football team plays its final regular season game of 2019 this weekend, traveling to Angelo State University for a game with NCAA Division II playoff implications.

WHO: Texas A&M University-Commerce at Angelo State University
WHERE: San Angelo | LeGrand Stadium
WHEN: 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 16
RECORDS: A&M-Commerce is 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the Lone Star Conference after defeating UT Permian Basin, 44-13. Angelo State is 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the LSC after a 20-17 overtime loss at Eastern New Mexico.
RANKINGS: A&M-Commerce is ranked No. 23 in the AFCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 22 in the D2Football.com Media Poll. Angelo State is receiving votes in the AFCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 23 in the D2Football.com Media Poll.

ALL-TIME vs. THE RAMS
•  The Lions and Angelo State are meeting for the 51st time overall and 22nd time in San Angelo.
• ASU holds a 27-21-2 edge in the all-time series. This is the third meeting at LeGrand Stadium, which opened in the 2014 season. The Lions won 41-40 in 2014, and 62-14 in 2016.
• The Rams are 14-6-1 over the Lions in San Angelo.
• A&M-Commerce has won the last five games in the series and six of the last seven.
• In the last meeting in San Angelo, scored the game’s final 55 points in a 62-14 win, including four non-offensive touchdowns.
• Jalon Edwards-Cooper had a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown in the contest.

SENIORS SUCCEED OVER CAREER SPAN
• The 2019 senior class claimed the school record for wins by a class with win No. 44 in game No. 52.
• The UTPB game gave this year’s class the school record for most games played by a senior class.
• This year’s senior class is also in second behind with the 1951-54 class for highest winning percentage by a class.

Years Record Pct
2016-19 46-8 85.2
2015-18 43-10 81.1
2014-17 42-10 80.8
1951-54 36-5-2 86.0
2013-16 35-14 71.4
1957-60 34-7 82.9
1972-75 32-13-1 70.6
1936-39 31-8 79.5
1990-93 31-16-1 65.6

NO SMALLS FEAT
• Quarterback Miklo Smalls has established himself as one of the most accurate efficient passers in the LSC and Division II.
• Smalls has won the LSC Offensive Player of the Week award three times, including last week’s performance at West Texas A&M.
• He completed 18-of-28 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown, and also ran for a touchdown. He was responsible for both touchdowns in the fourth quarter, which broke a 20-all tie.
• At Tarleton, he had season highs with 29 completions, 39 attempts, and 288 yards.
• Against Midwestern State, Smalls completed 70.3 percent of his passes in the game with five touchdown passes and 186 yards through the air. He also had 24 rushing yards.
• He completed passes to nine different receivers, and all five touchdowns were caught by different receivers.
• He also won Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors for his game against Eastern New Mexico, completing 13-of-15 passes for 243 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.
• His passing efficiency rating of 297.413 in that game is the second-best single-game performance by a quarterback in Division II this season.
•His 86.7 completion percentage in the game is seventh-best in the nation this year of passers with 15 or more attempts in a game.
•His 69.8 percent (180-of-258) completion percentage for the season ranks sixth in Division II.
• Smalls ranks 13th in the nation in passing efficiency at 164.1.
• He also ranks in the top 25 nationally in completions per game, passing touchdowns, passing yards per game, and yards per pass attempt.

RAMSEY IS ELECTRIC
• Junior defensive back and return specialist Dominique Ramsey has been one of the most electric players in all of Division II whenever he touches the ball.
• He is a double major student-athlete in mathematics and electrical engineering.
• He won his second LSC Special Teams Player of the Week honor for the Western New Mexico game, thanks to a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
• He now ranks second in the nation in kickoff return average at 37.5 yards per return. He was not given an opportunity to return a kickoff at West Texas A&M.
• He also ranks second in the LSC and ninth in the nation in punt return average at 14.7 yards per return.
• In the Midwestern State game, he recorded 150 all-purpose yards, including a highlight reel 65-yard kickoff return to open the game and set the Lions’ first score up on a short field. He also dazzled on two scintillating punt returns. The Lions scored within five plays after each of his kick and punt returns.
• All told, Ramsey had 65 kick return yards, 48 punt return yards, 14 interception yards, 15 rushing yards, and 8 receiving yards.
• He had two interceptions in the game, including a key snag in the end zone near the end of the first half to snuff out an MSU scoring threat which would have narrowed the deficit in a key spot. He also had an interception to help seal the game in the fourth quarter. He also made five key tackles in open space on the perimeter to limit MSU yards after the line of scrimmage.
• At Tarleton, he had a 55-yard kickoff return on the way to 112 return yards with 95 kickoff return yards and 17 punt return yards. He also had eight tackles.
• Earlier this season, his 55-yard punt return for a touchdown in the ENMU game earned him Lone Star Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honors.

JAKE IS THIS YEAR’S MR. AUTOMATIC
• Junior kicker Jake Viquez extended his career-long in field goals twice in last week’s game with makes of 47 and 48 yards vs. UT Permian Basin.
• His 48-yarder is the longest made kick in the LSC this season.
• For the season, he is 10-of-13 on field goal attempts and 42-of-44 on PAT attempts.
• His 8.0 kicking points per game ranks second the LSC.
• He has also been fantastic on kickoffs, as the Lions rank 11th in the nation in kickoff return defense.

JEMAL STEPS UP
• Junior running back Jemal Williams started the season as a linebacker and has moved over to offense after a string of injuries plagued the Lions.
• The Minot State transfer had his first career century game against UT Permian Basin, carrying the ball for career highs of 18 carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
• He had 109 total yards, eclipsing his previous best of 103 total yards, which was set against WT.
• He recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown at WT.

TO BE THE BEST, BEAT THE BEST
• According to NCAA calculations of strength of schedule, the Lions are facing the second-strongest schedule in Division II this season.
• The Lions’ cumulative opposition’s record is 61-38 for a percentage of .615, only one-tenth of a percentage point behind Millersville (Pa.).
• The next-closest cumulative strength of schedule in Super Region Four and the LSC is Eastern New Mexico at .576.

On this day in Texas A&M-Commerce/East Texas State Football (7-3) :
• 1957 – The Lions trek to San Marcos and beat Southwest Texas State, 32-13.
• 1963 – ET picks up a 10-0 shutout of Lamar Tech in Beaumont.
• 1968 – The Lions thrill the home crowd with a 51-14 romp over Southwest Texas State at Memorial Stadium.
• 1974 – East Texas routs Angelo State in the home finale, 49-7.
• 1975 – Angelo State exacts revenge from the previous year’s beating by taking out East Texas, 51-0.
• 1985 – The Lions earn a 21-0 road win over Howard Payne in Brownwood.
• 1991 – East Texas clinches the LSC title and an NCAA Division II playoff berth with a 39-7 pounding of Cameron at home.
• 1996 – A&M-Commerce wins the season finale, 56-17, over Tarleton State in Stephenville.
• 2002 – The Lions are beaten in Wichita Falls by Midwestern State to close the season, 56-20.
• 2013 – Quarterback Harrison Stewart had a solid day for A&M-Commerce, completing 26 of his 51 attempts for a career-best 392 yards and five touchdowns as for the second-straight week he connected with wide receiver Seth Smith for three touchdown strikes. Smith finished the day with 10 catches for 175 yards, including the scoring plays of 21, 78 and 33 yards. The Lions lost the regular season finale to Eastern New Mexico, 42-35, at home.

 

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