Staying within reach of the 2020 NCAA Division I FCS National Champions, Sam Houston Bearkats, throughout Saturday night, the Texas A&M University-Commerce football team fell 27-17 at Bowers Stadium.
The Lions drop to 1-2 on the season, while the Bearkats collect their first win of the season and are 1-2. This was just the second meeting between the two teams in the last 37 years, who met every year from 1919 to 1987.
On the first drive of the game, the Bearkats drove down into the red zone, but were held to a field goal attempt from 37 yards out. Sam Houston’ field goal attempt sailed wide right.
The Lions drove into Bearkat territory on the first drive, but Sam Houston intercepted the Lions’ attempt on fourth down and returned it for 10 yards. The Lions’ biggest play on the drive was a 31-yard reception by Andrew Armstrong (Dallas – Bishop Dunne) from Zadock Dinkelmann (Somerset), who started Saturday’s game as a quarterback.
Seth Morgan drilled a field goal with 2:53 left in the first quarter for the first points of the game. Following a punt, the Bearkats had a 44-yard drive to score a six-yard touchdown on a rush from quarterback Jordan Yates, who front-flipped into the end zone.
On the ensuing drive, the Lions marched down inside the Sam Houston red zone, but a fumble on the 13-yard line stalled another offensive drive.
The Bearkats returned the favor with a 48-yard drive into the red zone, but the Lion defense made a goal-line stand once again and forced a field goal attempt. The snap was botched by the Bearkats and the ball rolled all the way back to the 37-yard line, where it was recovered by Sam Houston to force a turnover on downs.
Sam Houston, following a punt by the Lions, marched into Lion territory and had third and three at the Lion 18. Following an incompletion on third down, Dee Walker (Moultrie, Ga.) sacked the Bearkat quarterback on fourth down to stall the drive.
After being forced to punt to begin the second half, the Lions scored their first points of the night on a 41-yard interception returned for touchdown by Celestin Haba (Columbia, S.C.), the Lions’ second pick-six of the season.
The Bearkats drove down the field on the next drive to go up back by seven on a 13-play 75-yard drive and scored the touchdown on a 3-yard catch by Cody Chrest. A&M-Commerce scored three points on the first drive of the fourth quarter with a 22-yard field goal from Emmanuel Adagbon (Mesquite Horn).
Sam Houston scored the next 10 points of the game, a seven-yard touchdown rush by Zach Hrbacek and a 46-yard field goal by Morgan. With 31 seconds left in the game, Spencer Long (Mont Belvieu – Barbers Hill) punched in a touchdown from the one-yard line for the Lions’ first offensive touchdown of the night.
Dinkelmann went 13 for 25 with an interception and tossed 169 yards in his debut as a quarterback for the Lions, he appeared in the first two games of the season as a tight end. On the ground, he netted 20 yards to lead all Lion rushers. Armstrong continued his dominance with 104 receiving yards on seven catches. He has 333 yards through the first three games. Darius Williams (Fort Worth – Arlington Heights) recorded 10 tackles to lead the team, followed by Walker and Michael Noble (Orange, Calif.) with six each.
The Lions outgained the Bearkats in the air, 169 to 101, but Sam Houston outrushed A&M-Commerce, 246 to 54.
The Lions return home to face North American next Saturday at 6 p.m. as part of Family Weekend and Rockwall CommUniverCity Day.