NORFOLK, Va. –
A failed two-point conversation attempt was all that separated the Texas A&M University-Commerce football team and the Old Dominion Monarchs at S.B. Ballard Stadium on Saturday evening in A&M-Commerce’s first game against a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent in the Division I era. The Monarchs hung on to a 10-9 win.
The Lions got the ball at their own 25-yard line with 6:17 left and trailing 10-3. The Lion offense put together a five-play 43-yard drive to score a touchdown with 28 seconds left. Josh Magana (Dinuba, Calif.) connected on a two-yard touchdown pass to Keith Miller (The Colony).
There was no hesitation on the Lion sideline, the offense stayed on the field for the two-point attempt. The pass by the Lions was broken up by ODU in the end zone and the Monarchs recovered the onside kick and kneeled it out.
A&M-Commerce held ODU to 10 points, none in the first half. The 10 points allowed by the Lion defense are the second fewest by an Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team over an FBS team this season. Idaho beat Nevada, 33-6.
The Lion defense forced five turnovers in the game, including three in the first quarter. Max Epps (Spring – Dekaney) had two interceptions to increase his season total to four. In the first quarter, Jaden Rios (Frisco – Lone Star) forced a fumble on special teams, while Jordan Polk (Arlington – Lamar) forced a fumble and caught an interception as well.
Cameron Nellor (Mount Vernon) recovered Rios’ fumble and Darryle Ware (Charleston, S.C.) recovered Polk’s.
A&M-Commerce scored the first points of the game with Emmanuel Adagbon (Mesquite Horn) drilling a 43-yard kick with 3:48 left in the third quarter. ODU drove down and scored its lone touchdown on the ensuing drive. Jack Shields threw a 40-yard touchdown to Dominic Dutton.
Battling gusty winds throughout the game, the Lions had a chance to take the lead at the end of the half, but Adabgon’s 45-yard sailed left. He initially attempted a 60-yard kick, but a Monarch penalty moved the ball up.
ODU’s lone field goal attempt was from 22 yards away and Ethan Sanchez’ kick sailed right through the uprights.
The Lion defense allowed 343 yards compared to 250 gained by the offense, but A&M-Commerce recorded eight sacks, which are three shy of the program record. The Lion offense had 16 first downs compared to 15 for the Monarchs. The Lions also dominated time of possession, 35:08 to 24:52.
Reggie Branch (Crosby) gained 78 yards on the ground, including a 19-yard game-long rush on the final drive. Peter Parrish (Phenix City, Ala.) started the game at quarterback, going 8 for 13 with 90 yards, while Magana came in and threw for 34 yards, including the touchdown to Miller.
Jabari Khepera (Bishop Dunne) caught three passes for 57 yards. Mitchell McGarry (Gregory-Portland) had eight punts on an average of 35.4 yards per punt.
Defensively, Daryion Taylor (Humble – Atascocita) led the team with 11 tackles, including 0.5 for loss. Both Christian Shaw (Mansfield – Lake Ridge) and Jaheim Lowe (Cedar Hill) had five tackles each. Patrick Brown, Jr. (Fort Bend Travis) had team-high two sacks, while Levi Drake Rodriguez (Georgetown – East View) and Clifford Funderburk (North Forney) had 1.5 each.
POST GAME INTERVIEW
After playing the last two games on the opposite coasts, the Lions play their next seven games in the state of the Texas. A&M-Commerce faces former rival, Stephen F. Austin next Saturday at 6 p.m.
Fans interested in attending the game at SFA can purchase tickets through the A&M-Commerce Alumni Association HERE.