Home Local News TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE FOOTBALL PREVIEW: No. 21 Lions prep for Regional Final at No. 4 Minnesota State

TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE FOOTBALL PREVIEW: No. 21 Lions prep for Regional Final at No. 4 Minnesota State




The Texas A&M University-Commerce football team will play in its second NCAA Division II Playoff regional final in the last three years, and the opponent is a familiar one from the 2017 National Championship run – the Minnesota State Mavericks.

WHO: Texas A&M University-Commerce at Minnesota State University, Mankato
WHERE: Mankato, Minn. | Blakeslee Stadium
WHEN: Noon on Saturday, December 7
RECORDS: A&M-Commerce is 11-2 overall and was the runner-up of the Lone Star Conference. Minnesota State is 12-0 overall and was the champion of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference
RANKINGS: A&M-Commerce is ranked No. 21 in the AFCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 20 in the D2Football.com Media Poll. Minnesota State is ranked No. 4 in the AFCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 3 in the D2Football.com Media Poll.

LIVE AUDIO: Lion Sports Network — KETR 88.9 FM, Commerce (http://www.ketr.org)
LIVE VIDEO: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/mnsu/
LIVE STATS: https://msumavericks.com/sidearmstats/football/summary

• 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 BehbahaniJalon Edwards-CooperPierre LeonardBrian TaylorMark 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 12th playoff game and have nine playoff wins (9-2).
• 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.
• This  year’s Lions are guaranteed the highest playoff winning percentage and win total in a four-year span by any LSC team.

Years Record Pct
2016-19 49-8 86.0
2015-18 43-10 81.1
2014-17 42-10 8.8
1951-54 36-5-2 86.0
2013-16 35-14 71.4
1957-60 34-7 82.9
1972-75 32-13-1 7.6
1936-39 31-8 79.5
1990-93 31-16-1 65.6

• 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 7-2 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 11 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.


Year Coach Overall LSC
2019 David Bailiff 11-2 7-1
2013 Colby Carthel 7-5 2-4
2009 Guy Morriss 5-5 5-4
2004 Scotty Conley 4-6 4-5
1999 Eddie Brister 4-7 4-5
1986 Eddie Vowell 2-9 1-5
1964 Ernest Hawkins 2-7 1-5
1954 J.V. Sikes 6-3-1 5-0-1
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
1931 J.W. Rollins 3-6

• 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.

• 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 20.
• 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 6-3 in true road games and 7-3 in road + neutral.
• 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.

• In the last four years, the Lions have played more road games and won more than any other program in Division II.

SINCE 2016

Rk Team Pl W L Pct
1 A&M-COMMERCE 9 7 2 .778
2 Harding 8 4 4 .500
3 West Florida 7 6 1 .857
4 Ferris St. 6 4 2 .667
5 Shepherd 4 4 0 1.000
Northwest Mo. St. 4 2 2 .500
Colo. St.-Pueblo 4 1 3 .250
8 Slippery Rock 3 2 1 .667
West Chester 3 1 2 .333

• This is the Lions’ 11th road game since 2015, when seven teams from each region began to qualify for the playoffs. No other team has more than eight.

• Since 2004 – the first year with teams receiving byes through the first round – the Lions are tied for the sixth-most road playoff games played and are fifth in games won.


Rk Team Yrs Qual Pl W L Pct
1 Northwest Mo. St. 16 25 15 10 .600
2 Grand Valley St. 11 15 9 6 .600
3 North Ala. 10 14 8 6 .571
4 West Chester 10 13 5 8 .385
5 West Tex. A&M 7 12 6 6 .500
6 Valdosta St. 11 10 8 2 .800
A&M-COMMERCE 5 10 7 3 .700
Shepherd 10 10 6 4 .600
Delta St. 7 10 5 5 .500
Minn. Duluth 10 10 5 5 .500
Harding 6 10 4 6 .400

• Since the Division II Playoffs began in 1973, the Lions have played in the 10th most road games of any program.
• Today’s game will put the Lions in a tie for ninth on that list with North Dakota.
• The eight road wins all-time is tied for the sixth-most in Division II history.
• Outside of the Lions’ run since 2016, the other road win was in their first-ever NCAA Playoff game, when East Texas State beat Grand Valley St. in the first round in Allendale, 20-14, on November 17, 1990.
• Bob Bounds completed 16-of-26 passes for 207 yards and a 35-yard touchdown to Gary Compton. Billy Watkins made field goals of 42 and 35 yards.


Rk Team Yrs Qual Pl W L Pct
1 Northwest Mo. St. 24 32 19 13 .594
2 Indiana (Pa.) 19 26 11 15 .423
2 North Dakota St. 17 25 15 10 .600
4 Grand Valley St. 19 24 14 10 .583
5 North Ala. 21 19 10 9 .526
6 Carson-Newman 16 17 3 14 .176
Pittsburg St. 18 17 7 10 .412
8 West Chester 14 16 5 11 .313
9 North Dakota 14 15 4 11 .267
10 A&M-COMMERCE 8 14 8 6 .571
Northern Colo. 9 14 8 6 .571
Valdosta St. 17 14 8 6 .571

• 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.

• 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.

• 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 fourth in the nation in kickoff return average at 35.0 yards per return. Prior to the Mines game, he had not had a kickoff return opportunity since the WNMU game.
• He also ranks second in the LSC and 12th in the nation in punt return average at 13.2 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:

Date Type Opponent Yards
10/26/19 KO WESTERN N.M. 91
9/21/19 Punt EASTERN N.M. 55
11/17/18 Punt at Minnesota Duluth 79
11/10/18 INT ANGELO ST. 99
10/27/18 INT WEST TEXAS A&M 84
9/22/18 Punt COLORADO ST.-PUEBLO 72

• 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.

• 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.

• 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 gold.
• His performance at Tarleton in the playoffs carried the Lions to the second 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.
• Smalls then followed that up with 15 carries for 101 yards and a rushing touchdown at Mines, while also completing 18-of-33 passes for 203 yards.
• This is only the fourth time a Lion quarterback has rushed for 100 yards, and the third time a signal caller has rushed for 100 yards and passed for a 100 yards in a game.

QB Date Res Opponent Car-Yds-TD Comp-Att-Yds-TD-Int
Cole Cayce 10/29/94 W 42-35 at Abilene Chr. 16-118-0 9-18-148-2-3
Daniel Coleman 9/9/06 L 17-20 at A&M-Kingsville 13-110-0 2-7-66-1-1
Miklo Smalls 11/23/19 W 23-13 at Tarleton 16-126-0 12-23-197-0-1
Miklo Smalls 11/30/19 W 23-3 at Colo. Mines 15-101-1 18-33-203-0-1

• 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 7.3 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.


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 W 23-3 DII Regional Semi Golden, Colo.
Dec 7, 2019 at Minnesota State DII Regional Final Mankato, Minn.


Postseason Record 18-8-2 (.679)
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 11-6 (.647)

• With the win at Tarleton in the first round, the Lions became the 21st program ever – and 16th active Division II member – to win 10 games in the Division II playoffs.
• The Lions’ .647 winning percentage is the 7th-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 50-17 .746
2 North Dakota State FM 30-12 .714
3 Grand Valley State 35-15 .700
4 Valdosta State 26-13 .667
5 North Alabama FM 35-18 .660
6 Delta State 15-8 .652
7 A&M-COMMERCE 11-6 .647
8 Northern Colorado FM 12-7 .632
9 Ferris State 17-10 .630
10 Jacksonville State FM 15-9 .625
11 Pittsburg State 25-16 .610
12 Minnesota Duluth 14-9 .609
13 Portland State FM 12-8 .600

• 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.

• Senior linebacker Terrell Collins leads the Lions with 83 total tackles this year.
• The Arkansas graduate transfer was named Second Team All-LSC.
• His 6.9 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.

• 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 15-of-21 on field goal attempts and 48-of-51 on PAT attempts.
• His 7.8 kicking points per game ranks second the LSC.
• His 15 made field goals are the 12th-most in Division II this year. A 16th made field goal would move him up to 6th in the country. Glenville State’s Justin Watts leads the nation with 21 made field goals.
• He has also been fantastic on kickoffs, as the Lions rank ninth in the nation in kickoff return defense.
• His 93 points scored in 2019 is the 10th-most in a single season by a Lion.

1. Kristov Martinez 137 65 PAT, 24 FG 2017
2. Saul Martinez 134 74 PAT, 20 FG 2014
3. Marvin Brown 132 22 TD 1951
4. Aundra Thompson 126 21 TD 1975
5. Marvin Brown 114 19 TD 1952
6. Kristov Martinez 111 48 PAT, 21 FG 2018
7. Kristov Martinez 109 55 PAT, 18 FG 2016
8. Lloyd Corder 103 8 TD, 55 PAT 1952
9. Kenneth Parks 96 16 TD 1972
10. Jake Viquez 93 48 PAT, 15 FG 2019

• 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 96-40 for a percentage of .706.
• The next-closest playoff team is West Florida from Super Region II at .675.
• Minnesota State’s cumulative strength of schedule is .566 (77-59).

• The Lion defense was fantastic in the 23-3 second round win at Colorado School of Mines.
• A&M-Commerce tied the NCAA Division II Playoff single game record for sacks, taking Oredigger quarterbacks down behind the line of scrimmage 10 times.
• This tied a record set by Northwest Missouri State in a 34-7 win over Shepherd in the 2015 National Championship Game.
• Redshirt junior defensive end Elijah Earls (San Antonio – Stevens) was a wrecking ball in the game, recording 3.5 sacks as part of seven total tackles and a fumble recovery.
• His 3.5 sacks in the game is only half a sack behind the NCAA playoff record of 4.0 set by Collin Bevins in the NWMSU game, and West Georgia’s Dylan Donahue in a win over Valdosta State in 2015.
•He has 6.0 sacks in the playoffs, which is only 2.0 sacks back of the playoff record set by Blevins (8.0 in four games in 2015).

• Minnesota State’s Blakeslee Stadium served as the home of training camp for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings from 1966 through the 2017 camp, recently wrapping up its 51-year run.
• This means that 1972 national champion Lion and 1975 12th round draft pick of the Vikings – Autry Beamon – went through two training camps in this stadium.
• Beamon had two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and eight punt returns in two seasons as a Viking.
• Beamon was inducted into the A&M-Commerce Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Lone Star Conference Hall of Honor in 2012.
• One of the all-time greats in Commerce was East Texas State All-American quarterback  Wade Wilson, who led the Lions to the 1980 NAIA National Semifinal.
• He was inducted into the A&M-Commerce Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Lone Star Conference Hall of Honor in 2003.
• He was an eighth round draft pick by the Vikings in 1981 and spent 10 seasons with the purple and gold, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl in 1988.
• This means he went through 10 training camps right here at Blakeslee Stadium.

• This is the third season the Lone Star and Northern Sun conferences have been paired up in a super region, and with the size of the NSIC (16 schools), that league no longer plays non-conference games in the regular season.
• The Lions are 3-1 all-time against the NSIC.
• A&M-Commerce was a 31-21 victor over Minnesota State in the regional final on December 2, 2017, on the way to a national title.
• The Lions also picked up a 20-6 win at Winona State in the opening round of the playoffs that season.
• A&M-Commerce split a home-and-home series with Upper Iowa in 2010 & 2011.
• A&M-Commerce won at Memorial Stadium in 2010, 30-10, and was edged by UIU in Fayette in 2011, 15-14.
• The Lions’ only other contest against a current NSIC member was in 1991, when ET beat Wayne State (Neb.) 54-16 at Memorial Stadium. The Wildcats were a Division II independent at the time and the Lions advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

• The Lions have allowed only one touchdown in their last three games, and only three points in two of those games.
• This marks A&M-Commerce’s best three-game stretch in terms of scoring defense since October of 1996, when the Lions pitched two shutouts in the span of three games.

10/19/1996 at West Texas A&M W 31-0
10/26/1996 EASTERN N.M. W 42-10
11/02/1996 at Abilene Christian W 17-0

• Prior to that, the last stretches of three games with the opponents scoring 22 or few points occurred during the 1970s.

10/23/1976 at Stephen F. Austin W 38-7
10/30/1976 SOUTHWEST TEXAS W 23-8
11/13/1976 ANGELO STATE W 27-0


11/16/1974 ANGELO STATE W 49-7
11/23/1974 at Tarleton State W 45-7
11/30/1974 vs Bethune-Cookman T 7-7


10/27/1973 SOUTHWEST TEXAS W 28-14
11/03/1973 at Sul Ross State W 45-0
11/10/1973 ANGELO STATE W 38-0
11/17/1973 at Tarleton State W 42-13


11/04/1972 ANGELO STATE W 24-14
11/11/1972 at Tarleton State W 27-6
11/25/1972 CENTRAL OKLA. W 54-0


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