Familiar faces reunite on Saturday night at Homer Bryce Stadium as the Texas A&M University-Commerce football team meets Stephen F. Austin for the first time since 2014 and first with both teams being Division I FCS members. It is also A&M-Commerce’s 500th
road game in program history
WHO: A&M-Commerce at Stephen F. Austin
WHERE: Nacogdoches | Homer Bryce Stadium
WHEN: Saturday, September 30 | 6 p.m.
RECORDS: The Lumberjacks are 2-2 on the season, while the Lions are 0-3.
RANKINGS: Neither team is nationally ranked.
LIVE AUDIO: Lion Sports Network – KETR 88.9 FM, Commerce (http://www.ketr.org)
LIVE VIDEO: ESPN+ | https://www.espn.com/watch/player/_/eventCalendarId/401540438?gameId=401540438
LIVE STATS: https://sfajacks.com/sidearmstats/football/summary
GAME NOTES: TAMUC | SFA
A&M-COMMERCE ENTERS SECOND YEAR IN NCAA DIVISION I FCS
The Lions begin the second season in NCAA Division I FCS this week against UC Davis.
It is also the second season for the Lions in the Southland Conference and first under coach Clint Dolezel.
A&M-Commerce will be eligible for FCS Playoffs during the 2026 season.
SLC MEMBERS IN 2023-24
|Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
DOLEZEL TAKES THE REINS
Coach Clint Dolezel makes his debut this season as the Lions coach, returning to his alma mater.
A Lion Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, Dolezel is considered one of the best arena football quarterbacks of all-time and coached multiple championship teams in arena football.
He brings along another Lion Athletics Hall of Famer, Bobby Bounds as the offensive coordinator and Dave Ewart as the offensive line coach.
Chase Paramore (Running Backs), Jarrett Boykin (Wide Receivers), and Nathan Jester (Tight Ends) are new additions on the offensive staff, while Jay Williams (Safeties) is the lone new coach defensively.
Both Jester and Williams spent last season on the coaching staff as graduate assistants.
NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
After a two-interception performance against Old Dominion, Max Epps was named the Southland Conference and FCS Stats National Defensive Player of the Week.
He enters week five as the FCS leader in interception return yards and tied for the lead with four interceptions.
Epps is the first National Player of the Week in any sport for A&M-Commerce in the Division I era.
NEARLY UPSET THE MONARCHS
The Lions fell just a two-point conversion attempt short of beating Old Dominion last week, the Lions’ first FBS opponent in the Division I era.
The Lion defense held ODU to 10 points, which all came in the second half.
The 10 points allowed by the Lions are the second lowest allowed by an FCS team against an FBS team this season.
REUNITING WITH FAMILIAR FACES
The Lions and the Lumberjacks meet for the first time since 2014 on Saturday, the two teams have played just twice since 1983.
The two former conference rivals are meeting for the 58th time with the Lions holding a 43-13-1 advantage, the Lions’ last win in Nacogdoches came in 1980, they have lost three in a row.
SFA is coached by Colby Carthel, who was the Lions coach when they won the 2017 NCAA Division II National Championship.
STAYING IN TEXAS
After playing the previous two games on the opposite sides of the country, the Lions are home in Texas for all but one game this season, playing seven straight games in the Lone Star state.
The lone out-of-state game comes at Northwestern State to close out the season on November 11.
SUCCESS IN SEASON OPENERS
A&M-Commerce fell to UC Davis in week one in the season opener, ending a streak of nine straight wins in the first game of the season.
Prior to this season, the Lions last lost a season opener in 2012.
STREAK OF SEASON OPENING WINS
||W, 51-6, Sul Ross State
||W, 98-20, East Texas Baptist
||W, 48-17, Adams State
||W, 40-28, at Delta State
||W, 8-7, at North Alabama
||W, 37-36 (OT), Texas A&M-Kingsville
||W, 93-0, Seleccion Nuevo Leon
||W, 12-6, at Colorado State-Pueblo
||W, 52-7, vs. Lincoln (Calif.)
FIVE HUNDRED TIMES ON THE ROAD
This Saturday’s game is the Lions’ 500th game on the road and third of the season.
The Lions are 229-259-11 all-time on the road in the previous 499 games.
A SERIES OF FIRSTS
Last week, the Lions and the Monarchs met for the first time.
It is also the first time that A&M-Commerce faced a FBS opponent since moving up to NCAA Division I.
Last week’s game at Sac State was A&M-Commerce’s first game in the state of California since playing UC Davis in 1999.
A&M-Commerce extended its non-shutout streak to 125 games last week.
The Lions were last shutout on Nov. 12, 2011.
ALWAYS FARED WELL AGAINST RANKED TEAMS
The Lions have played two nationally ranked teams so far this season.
Dating back to the 2015 season, A&M-Commerce has picked up at least one win over a ranked team each season.
Last season, the Lions beat No. 20/19 Southeastern on the road, for the first ranked win as a Division I FCS member.
The Lions still have one more team on the schedule that is currently ranked.
TAYLOR-MADE START TO THE SEASON
A cornerstone for the Lion defense,
Daryion Taylor recorded nine tackles in week one against UC Davis, as well as picking up an interception. He leads the team with 26 tackles.
The senior defensive back was picked as a preseason all-Southland Conference
WINNING FEELING ON HOMECOMING
By downing HCU 31-3 on homecoming weekend last year, the Lions won their eighth straight homecoming game and are 60-35-1 all-time on homecoming weekend.
Since 2008, A&M-Commerce is 8-6 in homecoming games.
The Lions play Nicholls in the homecoming game this year.
RARE FEAT FOR THE LIONS
Last season, the Lions started 3-0 in conference play with the win over HCU. The Lions became just the fourth program to start conference play 3-0 during its first season in NCAA Division I AA/FCS, joining UAlbany (DII), Dayton (DIII), and Gardner-Webb (DII).
RARELY MISSED HISTORY
The Lions went 5-6 in 2022, rarely missing a winning record, stopping a streak of having a winning season for every year since 2013.
LIONS EARN NATIONAL RECOGNITION IN 2022
After the win at Southeastern a year ago, quarterback Eric Rodriguez was among the honorable mention candidates for FCS National Offensive Player of the Week award.
As a team, the Lions were also named as a honorable mention National Team of the Week
On October 17, Kendall Paul was also named an honorable mention Defensive Player of the Week after earning the SLC Defensive Player of the Week.
FINDING SECOND HOMES
As is the case around the country, the Lions welcome 24 transfers to the squad in 2023. The transfers have found their way to Commerce from all levels of college football.
|College Football Division
||Number of Transfers
|Division I FBS
|Division I FCS
|NAIA & Junior College
LIONS IN THE PROS
Four Lion alums are currently, or recently signed professional football contracts, highlighted Miami Dolphins starting cornerback Kader Kohou.
Luis Perez ended the most recent XFL season as a league champion with the Arlington Renegades, earning championship game MVP honors.
Recent graduate, Celestin Haba signed a contract with the Winnepeg Jets of the Canadian Football League and has become a mainstay on the defensive line.
Haba joins Jalen Edwards-Cooper in the CFL. Edwards-Cooper plays for the British Columbia Lions.
LION FOOTBALL RANKED NO. 4 IN “TOP 20 PROGRAMS THAT INSPIRE”
The Lion Football program was ranked No. 4 in College Athletic Advisor’s Top 20 Programs That Inspire in 2021.
The program rankings are open to all four-year, collegiate-level programs outside of NCAA Division I and are based on a subjective assessment of student experience in four areas:
-Holistic development of student-athletes in the institution;
-Academic achievement and support for the academic success of student-athletes;
-Overall college experience for participants within the program;
-Affordability/graduation rates/student satisfaction.
Although College Athletic Advisor’s list is subjective, the organization believes these rankings “present an informed starting point for a discussion about where student-athletes can excel as ‘triple-threat’ competitors (academics, athletics, and socially) in college and in their future lives.”