The top-ranked Texas A&M University-Commerce football team got out to an early lead and held on for a 27-17 win over William Jewell College in non-conference action at Greene Stadium on Saturday.
The Lions move to 2-0 overall on the season and pick up their 12th consecutive victory, extending the longest winning streak in NCAA Division II. The Cardinals fall to 0-1 on the season.
A&M-Commerce will remain on the road for its next contest, returning to Lone Star Conference action at Eastern New Mexico at 7 p.m. MDT on Saturday, September 15.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– The Lions outgained the Cardinals by a 347-259 margin and scored the game’s first 21 points.
– Quarterback Preston Wheeler (Austin – Bowie) completed 24-of-30 passes for 172 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Kane Wilson (New Orleans, La.) completed passes on both of his attempts on the day, and also scored a rushing touchdown.
– Carandal Hale (Greenville) carried the ball 21 times for 84 yards and a score.
– Chance Cooper (Leander – Rouse) had eight receptions for 99 yards, while Marquis Wimberly (Duarte, Calif.) had six catches for 42 yards and a touchdown.
– Kicker Kristov Martinez (Edinburg) added nine points to his already lofty career total, connecting on field goals of 30 and 29 yards and adding three extra points.
– Jalon Edwards-Cooper (Spring – Dekaney) had a team-high eight tackles and a pass breakup. Brucks Saathoff (San Antonio – Reagan) made six stops with a sack, a forced fumble, and two tackles for loss.
– Michael Onuoha (Edmond, Okla.) added two sacks, while Jay Bias (Prosper) recorded one sack.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Lion defense forced Jewell to punt on each of its first three possessions, allowing the A&M-Commerce offense to get on the board early.
The Lions’ first points of the game came on a Wilson 1-yard touchdown carry with 8:54 left in the first quarter, capping off a 10-play, 41-yard drive.
The lead was extended to 14-0 with 3:21 left in the opening period on a Hale 3-yard touchdown plunge after the Lions went 49 yards in nine plays.
Wimberly’s 10-yard touchdown reception in the corner of the end zone from Wheeler with 8:06 left in the first half put the Lions up by a 21-0 count.
The Cardinals got their first points on the board with 2:41 left in the first half when Bulla Graft caught a tipped pass in the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown, but Martinez’ 30-yard field goal with 13 seconds remaining in the half gave the Lions a 24-7 halftime advantage.
Penalties were the Lions’ enemy in the second half, as the visiting team was only able to record three points in the final half hour. Jewell cut the lead to 24-10 with 7:38 left in the third quarter on Dalton Dye’s 28-yard field goal. Dye would only go 1-for-4 on field goal attempts in the game.
Martinez’s 29-yard field goal at the 2:44 mark of the third quarter made it a three-score margin in the Lions’ favor again at 27-10. Jewell quarterback Will Schneider cut the lead to 27-17 on an 8-yard touchdown scramble with 8:58 to play.
The Cardinals intercepted a deep pass with 7:28 to play in the game and plodded down the field all the way the Lion 11 before the drive stalled. Dye’s third missed field goal of the game with just over two minutes remaining sealed the victory for A&M-Commerce.