The Lions didn’t just win. They sent the Lobos yelping back to West Texas like scalded pups.
Junior quarterback Tyrick Rollison, a Sulphur Springs High alumnus, enjoyed a successful night under center and helped lead Texas A&M University-Commerce to a 51-6 victory over Sul Ross State University tonight at Memorial Stadium. The game was the season opener for both teams.
Rollison completed 25 of 38 attempts while throwing four touchdowns and one interception. He also led the Lions in rushing with 42 net yards on nine scrambles.
The victory was an important one for the Lions, despite it being a non-conference game against a Division III opponent. The game marked the debut of new A&M-Commerce head coach Colby Carthel, who inherited a team coming off of back-to-back 1-9 seasons.
If A&M-Commerce couldn’t win a home game against a squad from a lesser division, things would have looked bleak for September. After next Friday’s game at AT&T Stadium against perennial powerhouse Delta State, the Lions enter a brutal stretch of their Lone Star Conference schedule. Fortunately for A&M-Commerce, the team will have some momentum going into the rest of the month.
The Lions led 17-6 after dominating the first half. In the second, the A&M-Commerce offense found a higher gear, and demonstrated big-play ability. Rollison exploded for three touchdown passes in the third quarter, including a 37-yarder to Taylor Peasha that put the game out of reach at 38-6 with 1:41 remaining in the quarter.
Sul Ross State couldn’t make much headway against a dominating A&M-Commerce defensive line. The Lobos managed only 106 yards of total offense, including a paltry 44 rushing. The Lions totaled eight sacks between seven players.
The Lions defense gifted the offense with excellent field position in the first quarter, but A&M-Commerce came away with just three points after one trip into the red zone fizzled on downs and one drive that began in the red zone couldn’t get rolling. Saul Martinez booted a 30-yard field goal that gave the Lions a 3-0 lead at 8:58 in the period.
Rollison led a 10-play, 82-yard drive that concluded with a 21-yard pass to Hayden Marsh for the Lion’s first touchdown and a 10-lead with five seconds left in the first.
A&M-Commerce enjoyed a special-teams TD with a fumble recovery on a Lobos’ punt attempt in the end zone. Davarus Shores scooped up the loose ball to put the Lions ahead 17-0 at 7:38 of the second.
The Lobos took advantage of a good return on the ensuing kickoff to conduct a short drive that resulted in Sul Ross State’s lone touchdown, a 4-yard toss from Derrick Bernard to Cordrick Mobley. The Lobos’ Cam Lerma couldn’t get the point-after attempt over the Lions’ line, leaving the score at 17-6 with six and a half minutes left in the half.
Bernard’s performance was a bright spot for Sul Ross State. The true freshman eluded many would-be sacks and looked better than his numbers (13-32-1, 62 yards) indicate.
The opening minutes of the second half passed with neither team scoring. But late in the third quarter, the Lions’ offense found its rhythm and scored touchdowns on three consecutive drives. Rollison connected with Aaron Winfield in a 10-yard play and with Stacy Howard on a 26-yard touchdown before the toss to Peasha that made the eventual outcome seem inevitable.
Another defensive touchdown by the Lions turned the contest into a rout. C.J. Johnson’s returned an interception 29 yards for a pick-six that made the score 45-6 with a minute and a half to play in the third quarter. Ki-Janaven Garrett rumbled for a four-yard TD early in the fourth to make the game 51-6 after the Lions’ point-after attempt failed.
Complete stats are available at lionathletics.com.