The No. 1 Texas A&M-Commerce football team used three rushing touchdowns to earn a 21-11 victory over Eastern New Mexico University at Greyhound Stadium on Saturday night.
The Lions move to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Lone Star Conference, while the Greyhounds fall to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the LSC. The win also extends the Lions’ winning streak to 13 games, which is the longest in the nation.
A&M-Commerce returns home for the CommUniverCity Day game against nationally-ranked Colorado State-Pueblo at 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 22. Tickets are available by visiting WeAreLionsTix.com, calling (903) 468-8756, or visiting the Lion Sales & Service Box Office in the Field House
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– The Lions outgained ENMU 294-212, and the A&M-Commerce defense limited the Greyhound rushing attack to 206 yards on 65 rushing attempts.
– Carandal Hale (Greenville) had 14 carries for 101 yards and a 32-yard touchdown, while E.J. Thompson (Cypress – Cy Ranch) had 17 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown. Kane Wilson (New Orleans, La.) scored a rushing touchdown for the third consecutive game.
– Brucks Saathoff (San Antonio – Reagan) flew around the field from his linebacker position, notching 17 tackles with four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Despite the Greyhounds’ proclivity to run, the Lions earned five sacks. Jalon Edwards-Cooper (Spring – Westfield) had two sacks with three tackles.
– Pierre Leonard (Tyler – John Tyler) had 10 tackles. The Lions had 13 total tackles for loss.
– Preston Wheeler (Austin – Bowie) completed 11-of-30 passes for 103 yards. Matt Childers (Henderson) and Chance Cooper (Leander – Rouse) each had three receptions.
– Tristan Perry (Mineral Wells) was exceptional in the punting game, averaging 43.6 yards on seven punts with a long of 68 yards. He had two punts inside the 20-yardline and two punts over 50 yards.
– The win is the Lions’ fifth consecutive victory over the Greyhounds, which is the longest winning streak for either side in the series.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After the teams exchanged punts on their opening drives, the Lions got on the scoreboard first with a 12-play, 57-yard drive over the span of 3:44. Wheeler had three first down pass completions and Hale had an 18-yard rush. Those plays set up Wilson’s 1-yard touchdown carry.
Garrett Blubaugh (Keller) forced and recovered a fumble at the Greyhound 39 to give the ball back to the offense. Marquis Wimberly (Duarte, Calif.) came down with a tightrope 30-yard reception down to the Greyhound 5-yardline. Thompson immediately punched the ball into the endzone, giving the Lions a 14-0 lead with 2:11 left in the first quarter.
From there, Eastern New Mexico held on to the ball for nearly the entire second quarter, as the Lions had the pigskin for 2:06 and eight plays. Michael Onuoha (Edmond, Okla.) blocked a 31-yard field goal attempt and the Greyhounds scored their opening points on a 29-yarder with 21 seconds left in the half.
ENMU outgained the Lions by 34 yards (165 yards to 131 yards), though the Greyhounds had the ball for nearly 22 minutes and ran 43 plays to the Lions’ 29.
Both sides traded short drives early in the third quarter before the Lion defense forced a turnover. ENMU quarterback Wyatt Strand was obliterated as he flung a ball downfield that was picked off and returned by Alex Shillow (Pflugerville). The 32-yard return set the Lions up in scoring territory, but Martinez’ 40-yard field goal attempt went wide right, and the score went unchanged halfway through the third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Eastern New Mexico got back within one score, as a long interception return put the Greyhounds at the Lion 5-yardline. Paul Terry punched it in from 5 yards out and also converted a two-point conversion, cutting the Lion lead to 14-11 with 14:01 left to play.
Following an exchange of punts, the Lions put the capper on the night, as Hale’s 32-yard touchdown carry with 10:53 to play made it a 21-11 game. Eastern had the ball three more times after their touchdown, but the Greyhounds were held to three-and-outs with punts on all three chances.