Playing its first game as a Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) program, the Texas A&M University-Commerce football team thumped the Lincoln (Calif.) Oaklanders, 52-7, on a damp night at Ernest Hawkins Field at Memorial Stadium.
Andrew Armstrong (Dallas – Bishop Dunne) scored the first touchdown in the Division I era and totaled 134 received yards as well as three touchdowns, which ties the program record. Sophomore quarterback Eric Rodriguez (Fort Bend Travis) tossed five touchdowns and 269 yards in just 16 attempts. Rodriguez’s five touchdown passes are tied for second in program history.
At the 5:51 mark of the first quarter, Armstrong caught a 17-yard pass from Rodriguez. Just over a minute later, Max Epps (Spring – Dekaney) caught an interception and returned it back for a 39-yard touchdown. The second quarter began with a 96-yard touchdown catch by Armstrong.
Armstrong scored his third touchdown of the night at the 10:12 minute of the second quarter, a 21-yard pass from Rodriguez, who threw his fourth touchdown in the final minute of the first half to Jaden Proctor (Mexia), a 27-yard pass.
The Oaklanders scored their lone points of the game on a two-yard rush by Otis Weah at 11:41 mark of the third quarter. The Lions answered with a 13-yard touchdown reception by BJ Busbee (Long Beach, Calif.).
Going 7 for 7 in point-after attempts, Emmanuel Adagbon (Mequite Horn) drilled a 21-yard field goal with 9:48 left in the game. Thursday marked the first time that Adagbon was the Lions’ primary kicker.
Christian Shaw (Mansfield – Lake Ridge) scooped up a 30-yard fumble return touchdown with 55 seconds left in the game.
The Lions outgained the Oaklanders, 432-165 in the game. Defensively for A&M-Commerce, Warren Robinson (Fort Bend Marshall) made eight tackles. Clifford Funderburk (North Forney) and Daryion Taylor (Humble – Atascocita) posted one sack each. Ricky Richardson had team-leading 10 tackles for Lincoln.
With Thursday night’s win, the Lions have won nine straight season openers, which is the longest such streak in program history.
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
A&M-Commerce hits the road to Tennessee to take on Tennessee Tech on September 10 at 6 p.m. That matchup marks a rematch of the 1952 Tangerine Bowl, which the Lions won 33-0 to finish 11-0 on the season.