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9/30/2023 | Football | Box Score
NACOGDOCHES – In the first meeting between the Texas A&M University-Commerce football team and the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks since 2014 and with both teams being Division I members, the Lumberjacks won 56-27 at Homer Bryce Stadium on Saturday night.

A&M-Commerce ends non-conference play with an 0-4 record, while SFA is now 3-2 on the season and 0-1 in United Athletic Conference (UAC) games. This was the 58th meeting between the two former conference rivals.

The Lions won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, to give SFA’s offense the first crack. The Lumberjacks marched down the field and opened the scoring on a 12-yard touchdown catch by Kylon Harris from Brian Mauer. It was a 15-play, 75-yard drive for SFA to start the game.

The Lions responded right away with Reggie Branch (Houston – Crosby) rushing in for a 63-yard touchdown with 6:39 left in the first. The Lions put together a quick four-play, 78-yard drive to the game. It was the first points scored by the Lions in the first quarter of any game this season.


Reggie Branch goes to the house to tie this one at 7! #GoLions

– A&M-Commerce Football (@tamucfball) September 30, 2023


On the ensuing drive, SFA had an eight-play 80-yard touchdown drive with Mauer throwing a 11-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Williams. The Lumberjacks went with a surprise onside kick, but it did not travel 10 yards and the Lion offense got the ball at SFA’s 44-yard line.

The Lions were held to a field goal try on the drive and the 39-yard kick from Emmanuel Adagbon (Mesquite Horn) was blocked by the Lumberjacks. The Lion defense held its ground and forced a three-and-out, leading to the first punt by either team in the game.

After the change of sides at the end of the first quarter, the Lions were also forced to punt. The Lumberjacks drove down and decided to go for it on fourth down but were stopped by the Lions on the TAMUC 44-yard line. The Lions on the next drive also went for it and were stopped.

SFA answered with a seven-play 37-yard drive to go up 21-7 with 1:49 left in the first half. The Lions were forced to punt on a three-and-out and SFA got the ball on its 30-yard line.

Jordan Polk (Arlington – Lamar) came up with an interception and returned it to the Lumberjack 15-yard line. It only took one play for Josh Magana (Dinuba, Calif.) to connect with Keith Miller (The Colony) for a 15-yard touchdown.

Jordan Polk with the I-N-T to set up the Lions! #GoLions

– A&M-Commerce Football (@tamucfball) October 1, 2023


MILLER TIME! It just takes one play for the Lions to make it a seven-point game! #GoLions

– A&M-Commerce Football (@tamucfball) October 1, 2023


SFA returned the ensuing kickoff to its 48-yard line and marched down for a 52-yard line scoring drive in 49 seconds to take a 28-14 lead into halftime. Williams rushed up the middle for a 16-yard touchdown.

The Lions got the ball to start the second half and were forced to punt. The Lumberjacks scored on a touchdown from Mauer to Harris for a four-yard touchdown. SFA once again tried the surprise onside kick and recovered it this time on its 46-yard line and scored on the drive as well with Khi’yon Wafer catching a 54-yard touchdown pass from Mauer.

Mauer connected with Harris once again in the fourth quarter on an 18-yard touchdown catch. Mauer went 30 for 40 with one interception, and threw for 342 yards as well as five touchdowns. Preston Weeks came in the fourth quarter and went 6 for 7 for one touchdown and 83 yards.

Magana threw his second touchdown of the game, connecting with Micaleous Elder (Cleveland, Tenn.) for a 44-yard score in the fourth quarter. Zayden Davis (Colorado Springs, Colo.) also caught a nine-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

In the game, Magana went 20 for 28, tossing three touchdowns and 188 yards in his first start as a Lion. Lake Bennett (Rockwall) made his collegiate debut in the fourth quarter, going 4 for 9 with 34 yards.

Branch rushed for 71 yards on seven carries, while Bennett rushed for 32 yards on five carries. Elder caught seven catches for 86 yards.

Defensively, Sean Krystoff-King (Humble – Summer Creek) had eight tackles as well as one forced fumble, that he recovered for seven yards. Damion LaFrance (Wallis – Brazos) recorded seven tackles, including a half tackle for loss. Daryion Taylor (Humble – Atascocita) forced a fumble as well, while him, Luke Williams (Bullard), and Darryle Ware (Charleston, S.C.) had six tackles each.

Mitchell McGarry (Gregory-Portland) had three punts on an average of 39.3 yards per punt and a long of 49.

Saturday was the 500th road game in program history for the Lions. It is the first 0-4 start for A&M-Commerce since 2011. The 56 points allowed by the Lions are the most since 2016, when A&M-Commerce gave up 55 in a playoff loss at Grand Valley State.


After being on the road for their last three games, the Lions are home next Saturday, hosting McNeese at 7 p.m. Next weekend is Family Weekend as well as Hall of Fame weekend for the Lions.


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