For the fourth straight season, the Texas A&M University-Commerce football team is in the regional semifinal round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs. The second round of the 2019 playoffs will see the Lions travel to the Colorado School of Mines.
WHO: Texas A&M University-Commerce at Colorado School of Mines
WHERE: Golden, Colo. | Marv Kay Stadium at Campbell Field
WHEN: Noon MST (1 p.m. CST) on Saturday, November 30
RECORDS: A&M-Commerce is 10-2 overall and was the runner-up of the Lone Star Conference. Mines is 12-0 overall and the champions of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
RANKINGS: A&M-Commerce is ranked No. 21 in the AFCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 20 in the D2Football.com Media Poll. Mines is ranked No. 7 in both the AFCA Coaches’ Poll and the D2Football.com Media Poll.
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.
• Four-year playoff participants for the Lions are Neema Behbahani, Jalon Edwards-Cooper, Pierre Leonard, Brian Taylor, Mark Westbrook, and Preston Wheeler.
• Peyton Searcy and Darent White were also on the dress list for those four years, but missed a postseason due to injury.
• These seniors are playing in their 11th playoff game and have eight playoff wins (8-2).
• The Lone Star Conference record for Division II playoff games won and played in a four-year span was set by Texas A&M-Kingsville from 1992-95. That Javelina team played in 12 games and went 8-4.
• Mathematically, this year’s Lions are guaranteed the highest playoff winning percentage in a four-year span by any LSC team.
BAILIFF BEGINS ON RIGHT FOOT
• Lion Football head coach David Bailiff was hired in December 2018 as the 20th head football coach at A&M-Commerce.
• Since East Texas joined the Lone Star Conference as charter members in 1931, Bailiff is the 13th head coach of the Lions.
• He has won all seven of his “firsts” games at A&M-Commerce
|First Game||NUEVO LEON||Sept. 7||W 83-0|
|First Road Game||at Western Oregon||Sept. 14||W 34-27|
|First LSC Game||EASTERN N.M.||Sept. 21||W 45-27|
|First LSC Road Game||at Tex. A&M-Kingsville||Oct. 5||W 33-6|
|First National TV Game||MIDWESTERN ST.||Oct. 12||W 54-28|
|First Regional TV Game||WESTERN N.M.||Oct. 26||W 62-21|
|First Playoff Game||at Tarleton||Nov. 23||W 23-16|
• Bailiff was the head coach at Texas State University from 2004-06 and at Rice University from 2007-17. The Lions’ 2019 season is Bailiff’s 15th season as a collegiate head coach.
• As a collegiate head coach, Bailiff has led a team to the NCAA Division I National Semifinals and is making his sixth total postseason appearance with a 6-2 postseason record.
• The 2005 Texas State Bobcats were Division I National Semifinalists, and Bailiff led the Rice Owls to four bowls with a 3-1 record in those games.
• Bailiff has led teams to 10-win seasons in four seasons (one at Texas State, two at Rice, one at A&M-Commerce).
• Under his watch, Rice had the most wins in school history over a two (18), three (25), and four (30) year periods. Rice’s 18-9 mark from 2013-14 was the second-best of any FBS program in Texas.
• Bailiff’s 10 wins in his first season with the Lions are the most by a first-season head coach, breaking the record of Milburn A. “Catfish” Smith in 1951 – a man whose name we couldn’t avoid putting in the game notes again.
• Based on our research, Bailiff has become the fourth-ever coach to qualify for the Division II playoffs, Division I-AA or FCS playoffs, and win a Division I-A or FBS bowl game.
LION COACHES IN THEIR FIRST SEASON
|1951||M.A. “Catfish” Smith||9-2||5-0|
|1946||Bob Berry 2nd Stint||5-2-2||3-1-1|
|1942||Dennis Vinzant Only Season||4-3-1||2-0-1|
|1935||Bob Berry 1st Stint||6-2-1||3-1|
WE’RE STILL GOING STREAKING!
• By qualifying for their fifth straight NCAA Division II Playoff berth in 2019, the Lions have the third-longest active playoff streak in the nation.
• Only Northwest Missouri State (16 straight) and Ferris State (six straight) have longer active playoff streaks than A&M-Commerce.
• In Lone Star Conference history, only A&M-Kingsville (1992-98, 7 straight) has a streak of more than four appearances. The Javelinas’ 1996-98 appearances were vacated by action of the NCAA Committee on Infractions.
• The Lions have also advanced to the regional semifinal round for four consecutive seasons. 2018 national runner-up Ferris State has reached the regional semifinal five times in a row.
LIONS CONTINUE RANKINGS RUN
• The Lions held their grip in the top 25, rising to No. 21 nationally in the 2019 American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Poll released Monday.
• A&M-Commerce has been ranked in 64 consecutive AFCA polls, dating back to the 2015 preseason poll.
• This is A&M-Commerce’s 70th all-time appearance in the AFCA poll since its inception in 2000.
• In the polls recognized by Division II as the top rating system, the Lions have been recognized as a nationally ranked team 119 times since joining Division II in 1981.
• The Lions have excelled on the road in the playoffs in the five consecutive trips, with a record of 5-3 in true road games.
• In the 2010s, only four schools have won five road playoff games – Shepherd, West Florida, and West Texas A&M
• The Lions are the only team to win a road game in three consecutive seasons.
• West Florida won four road games in 2017 before meeting up with the Lions in the National Championship Game. The Argonauts won their first round game at Wingate this season and are on the road at Valdosta State this week. They have never played a home playoff game.
• West Texas A&M won three road games in 2012 and two road games in 2013.
• Shepherd’s road success has been spread throughout the decade, with the Rams winning two road games in 2010, two in 2016, and their first round game at Indiana (Pa.) this year.
• The Lions are the first team to win an NCAA Division II playoff game on the road in three straight years since Northwest Missouri State did so in five straight years from 2007-11.
• Left tackle Amon Simon was named the LSC Offensive Lineman of the Year last week.
• This is the second consecutive year the redshirt junior has earned First Team All-LSC honors.
• He blocked for an offense that averaged 407.9 yards and 36.1 points per game.
• He is the seventh Lion to earn LSC Offensive Lineman of the Year honors since the award was inaugurated in 1984.
• He joins Jared Machorro (2017), R.J. Brisbon (2008 and 2009), Darron Sheppard (2007), Ryan Graves (2005), and Trent Dagen (1997) as Lions who have won the award.
SHILLOW EARNS ACADEMIC HONORS
• Redshirt junior safety Alex Shillow was named a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection.
• He followed that up by earning Lone Star Conference Academic Player of the Year and All-Academic honors.
• He is the second consecutive Lion to win Academic Player of the Year and the third overall, joining Kristov Martinez (2018) and Taylor Fore (2011).
• First-team Academic All-District® honorees advance to the Academic All-America® ballot. First-, second- and third-team (if necessary) Academic All-America® honorees will be announced in early December.
• Shillow is the only Academic All-District selection from the Lone Star Conference in 2019.
• Shillow has excelled in every aspect of his collegiate career. He is the national chair of the NCAA Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and president of the A&M-Commerce SAAC, which has won last the last three Lone Star Conference SAAC Cups. He was a 2019 nominee for the American Football Coaches’ Association’s Good Works Team and recipient of the NACDA John McLendon Minority Postgraduate Scholarship.
• He has been named to the President’s List four times, Dean’s List two times, and LSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll six times, and was D2ADA Academic Achievement Award winner twice. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management in August.
• On the field, the 2017 National Champion has 151 career tackles with four interceptions, 13 pass breakups, three fumble recoveries, a forced fumble, a blocked kick returned for a two-point conversion, and 4.5 tackles for loss. He has 35 tackles, two fumble recoveries, and three pass breakups in the 2019 season. The Lions have gone 34-6 in Shillow’s three seasons in the blue and gold.
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 and picked up an outstanding trio of awards from the Lone Star Conference.
• He earned First Team All-LSC honors as both a safety and as a return specialist, and earned LSC All-Academic honors.
• 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 has not had a kickoff return opportunity since the WNMU game, and has officially fallen out of the NCAA statistical rankings, which require 1.2 returns per game.
• 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.
• He now has six career returns for touchdowns:
|11/17/18||Punt||at Minnesota Duluth||79|
|10/27/18||INT||WEST TEXAS A&M||84|
RUN ANTONIO RUN!
• Redshirt junior running back Antonio Leali’ie’e has made the most of his opportunity to contribute after rising through the lineup due to injuries to other backs.
• He was named First Team All-LSC at running back for the first time in his caeer.
• He is the 28th Lion to earn First Team All-LSC at running back, joining Richard Cooper (2015 & 2016), Marcus Graham (2009), Nabil El-Amin (2007), Cliff Edwards (2005 & 2006), Demetrius Rector (2001), Jason Smith (1995), Ricky Dirks (1982 & 1983), Cary Noiel (1980 & 1981), Kenneth Parks (1972), “King” Arthur James (1967, 1968, & 1969), Curtis Guyton (1966), Gary Berry (1958), George Riley (1953), Charles Stewart (1950), Clinton White (1938. 1939, & 1940), Johnny Garrison (1936), Guy Stevens (1934 & 1935), and Herman Morgan (1933).
• He ranks seventh in the LSC in rushing at 68.9 yards per game, and he ranks third in the league in yards per carry at 6.6 yards per tote.
• He has gone over 100 yards rushing in three games.
• Against Western New Mexico, he had two rushing touchdowns on 17 carries for 133 yards.
• Lealiiee has scored at least one touchdown in six of his last seven games.
• Running backs coach Jack Welch was Leali’ie’e’s high school coach at Copperas Cove.
NO QUESTION, IT’S KOHOU’S YEAR
• Redshirt junior cornerback Kader Kohou earned First Team All-LSC honors at cornerback and has stood out late in the season in special teams.
• The Euless Trinity product earned his second All-LSC honor after being named to the second team in 2018.
• In eight regular season games, Kohou had three interceptions, 22 tackles, and two fumble recoveries as one of the top turnover creators in the league.
• He followed this up with three tackles and two pass breakups in the playoff win at Tarleton, and also had 84 yards of return yardage (73 punt return yards on four returns, and an 11-yard kickoff return), including a 27-yard punt return.
NO SMALLS FEAT
• Quarterback Miklo Smalls has established himself as one of the most accurate and efficient passers in the LSC and Division II.
• He was named a Second Team All-LSC selection at quarterback in his first season in the blue and goled.
• His performance at Tarleton in the playoffs carried the Lions to this round. He completed 12-of-23 passes for 197 yards with an interception, and had 16 carries for 126 yards.
• This marked the first time a quarterback has led the Lions in rushing since Terry Mayo had 46 yards and a touchdown in a 28-24 home loss to Southeastern Oklahoma State on November 1, 2008.
• This was the first time a Lion quarterback has rushed for over 100 yards since September 9, 2006, when Daniel Coleman had 110 yards on 13 carries in a 20-17 overtime loss at Texas A&M-Kingsville.
• In years with computerized game-by-game statistics (roughly the mid-2000s), no Lion quarterback has rushed for 100 yards and passed for 100 yards. (Coleman passed for 66 yards in his 100-yard rushing game.)
• Smalls has won the LSC Offensive Player of the Week award four times, including the regular season finale at Angelo State.
• Against the Rams, Smalls was the key factor for the Lion offense in the 17-3 win, Smalls accounted for both Lion touchdowns. His 17-yard touchdown carry in the first quarter gave the Lions a 7-3 lead they would not relinquish, and his 2-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Guice in the fourth quarter sealed the win. He completed 63.6 percent of his passes for 142 yards.
• He won LSC POTW honors against West Texas A&M, when 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 68.0 percent (194-of-280) completion percentage for the season ranks sixth in Division II.
• Smalls ranks 16th in the nation in passing efficiency at 158.2.
• He also ranks in the top 35 nationally in completions per game and passing touchdowns, passing yards per game, and yards per pass attempt.
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 ST. (Okla.)||W 54-0||NAIA Semifinal||Commerce|
|Dec 9, 1972||CARSON-NEWMAN||W 21-18||NAIA Champion Bowl||Commerce|
|Nov 30, 1974||vs. Bethune-Cookman||T 7-7||Central Florida Classic||Orlando|
|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 Regional Final||Mankato, Minn.|
|Dec 9, 2017||HARDING||W 31-17||DII Semifinal||Commerce|
|Dec 16, 2017||vs. West Florida||W 37-27||DII National Champs||Kansas City, Kan.|
|Nov 7, 2018||at Minnesota-Duluth||W 33-17||DII Regional Qtr||Duluth, Minn.|
|Nov. 14, 2018||at Tarleton||L 28-34||DII Regional Semi||Stephenville|
|Nov. 23, 2019||at Tarleton||W 23-16||DII Regional Qtr||Stephenville|
|Nov. 30, 2019||at Colo. Sch. of Mines||—-||DII Regional Semi||Golden, Colo.|
|Postseason Record||17-8-2 (.648)|
|Live United Bowl||0-1 (.000)|
|Heart of Texas Bowl||1-0 (1.000)|
|Tangerine Bowl Appearances||3-0-1 (.875)|
|Central Florida Classic||0-0-1 (.500)|
|NAIA Playoffs||3-1 (.750)|
|NCAA Division II Playoffs||10-6 (.625)|
• With the win at Tarleton last week, the Lions became the 21st program ever – and 16th active Division II member – to win 10 games in the Division II playoffs.
• The Lions’ .625 winning percentage is tied for 8th-best in Division II playoff history and 5th-best winning percentage of active Division II teams (with at least 10 wins).
|1||Northwest Missouri State||49-17||.742|
|2||North Dakota State FM||30-12||.714|
|3||Grand Valley State||35-15||.700|
|5||North Alabama FM||35-18||.660|
|7||Northern Colorado FM||12-7||.632|
|Jacksonville State FM||15-9||.625|
|13||Portland State FM||12-8||.600|
FRONT LINE PUSH
• Senior guard Deion Malone made his presence known in his only season for A&M-Commerce, earning First Team All-LSC honors.
• The Arkansas graduate transfer blocked for an offense that averaged 407.9 yards and 36.1 points per game.
• He was joined along the front line in all-conference honors by center Christian Hernandez (Frisco – Lone Star) and tight end Tyler Guice (Atlanta, Ga.) who earned All-LSC Honorable Mention.
THE “T” IN T.C. STANDS FOR TACKLES
• Senior linebacker Terrell Collins leads the Lions with 77 total tackles this year.
• The Arkansas graduate transfer was named Second Team All-LSC.
• His 7.0 tackles per game has moved him into the ranking of top tacklers in the Lone Star Conference.
• He ranks 10th in the LSC in tackles per game.
JAKE IS THIS YEAR’S MR. AUTOMATIC
• Junior kicker Jake Viquez was an unknown quantity entering the season, but excelled and earned Second Team All-LSC honors.
• He has been especially good in the latter stages of the season.
• He extended his career-long in field goals twice with makes of 47 and 48 yards vs. UT Permian Basin.
• His 48-yarder is the longest made kick in the LSC this season.
• He then earned LSC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance vs. Angelo State.
• His 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter gave the Lions a touchdown lead, and he made both PAT attempts
• He went 3-for-4 on field goal attempts in the playoff win at Tarleton with makes of 46, 32, and 41 yards, as well as making both PAT attempts.
• For the season, he is 14-of-19 on field goal attempts and 46-of-48 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 ninth in the nation in kickoff return defense.
TO BE THE BEST, BEAT THE BEST
• According to NCAA calculations of strength of schedule, the Lions are facing the strongest schedule in Division II this season.
• The Lions’ cumulative opposition’s record is 84-39 for a percentage of .683.
• The next-closest playoff team is West Florida from Super Region II at .642.
• The next-closest cumulative strength of schedule in Super Region Four is CSU-Pueblo at .611.
ALL-TIME AGAINST THE OREDIGGERS
• This is the first meeting between these two schools in football.
• The Lions have played four other games against the RMAC with an 0-2 record against CSU-Pueblo in 2018 & 2019, and 1-0 records over Adams State and Colorado Mesa.
• The Lions defeated Adams State 48-17 in the 2015 season opener.
• A&M-Commerce defeated Colorado Mesa 34-23 in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Division II playoffs.
• This is the Lions’ second non-conference game in the Mountain Time Zone, following the CSU-Pueblo game earlier this season.
• In all sports, Mines has a 3-2-1 lead in the all-time series:
|WSOC||11/21/14||Tie||1-1 Mines SO||Golden|
• All of the women’s soccer games were in the NCAA playoffs, making this the fourth all-time postseason game between the two schools.
LION FOOTBALL HONORS IN 2019
LSC OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE YEAR
LSC ACADEMIC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
CoSIDA ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT
ALL- LSC FIRST TEAM
|Antonio Leali’ie’e||Running Back|
|Dominique Ramsey||Return Specialist|
ALL-LSC SECOND TEAM
|Ryan Stokes||Wide Receiver|
|Chris Williams||Defensive Tackle|
|Jaylon Hodge||Defensive End|
|Terrell Collins||Inside Linebacker|
ALL-LSC HONORABLE MENTION
|Tyler Guice||Tight End|
|Chance Cooper||Wide Receiver|
|Wyatt Leath||Deep Snapper|
On this day in Texas A&M-Commerce/East Texas St. Football (0-1-1) :
• 1974 – East Texas traveled to Orlando for the Central Florida Classic postseason game, and tied Bethune-Cookman 7-7 in front of 10,000 fans at the Tangerine Bowl stadium. Craig Powell rushed for 137 yards in the game on 26 carries at a two-yard touchdown carry. Ray Hawkins and Chuck Johnson each had interceptions in the contest. The Lions finished the season at 6-4-1.
• 1991 – The Lions head to Pittsburg, Kan., and are knocked out of the NCAA Division II Playoffs in the quarterfinal round with a 38-28 loss at Pitt State. The Lions turned the ball over nine times (five interceptions and four fumbles), fell behind 31-0 on the first play of the second quarter, and still nearly came back to upset the eventual national champions. Eddie Tenison had eight receptions for 188 yards, Finis Turner and Eric Turner each had interceptions, and Mike Meador completed 17-of-40 passes for 310 yards with two touchdowns and four