KETR

Lions-Mustangs Rivalry Rising 'To The Top'

Oct 7, 2016

When Texas A&M University-Commerce and Midwestern State University kick off against each other this Saturday, they'll be renewing a rivalry that's become one of the most heated in NCAA Division II football.

The all-time series between the Lions (4-0, 3-0 in the Lone Star Conference) and Mustangs (4-0, 3-0 LSC) dates to 1947. A&M-Commerce leads the series 12-9, but since 2001, Midwestern State has won nine of the last 11 games between the two schools.

Both teams are currently ranked in the top 10 of the American Football Coachers Association poll. The Lions are ranked no. 4 in NCAA Division II, while the Mustangs are ranked no. 7. This is the third consecutive meeting between A&M-Commerce and Midwestern State that both teams carry a national ranking. The Lions were ranked no. 11 and the Mustangs ranked no. 10 for both of the teams' meetings in 2015.

Separated by 175 miles, this in-state rivalry has intensified over the years, reaching a boiling point this season. The Lions rank as the top scoring offense and defense in the LSC scoring 40.5 points per game while allowing 21.8.

Since Colby Carthel became A&M-Commerce head coach in 2013, the teams have met four times. The Lions won one of those games by two touchdowns and lost the other three by a single score:

Sept. 28, 2013    Commerce          L              24-30

Oct. 25, 2014      Wichita Falls       L              37-40 (OT)

Oct. 24, 2015      Commerce          W            27-14

Nov. 14, 2015     Commerce          L              33-37

The Mustangs and Lions are two of 16 remaining unbeaten teams in NCAA Division II. The winner of Saturday's contest will take over the outright lead in the LSC standings. This is the third straight meeting in Commerce due to the realignment of the LSC and the Lions holding the upper seed in the 2015 LSC Football Playoffs. Midwestern State is 3-8 all-time against the Lions in Commerce. 

Key Players

Texas A&M-Commerce

Luis Perez, QB

Pass effic: 181.41

All purpose avg/game: 70.25

Total offense avg/gm: 298.25

Richard Cooper, RB

Avg/rush: 6.8

All purpose avg/game: 107.5

Total offense avg/gm: 77.5

Midwestern State

Vincent Johnson, RB

Avg/rush: 5.6

Avg/catch: 7.4

All purpose avg/game: 90.5

Total offense avg/gm: 77.5

Quade Coward, QB

Avg/rush: 5.9

Pass effic: 140.04

All purpose avg/game: 50.2

Total offense avg/gm: 273.0

Statron Jones, WR

Avg/rush: 4.2

Avg/catch: 18.5

All purpose avg/game: 74.5

Total offense avg/gm: 5.2

Texas A&M-Commerce

The Lions outgained the Aggies last week by 300 yards, picking up 562 yards compared to the hosts' 262. A&M-Commerce averaged 7.4 yards per play.
- Quarterback Luis Perez completed 34-of-48 passes for 397 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
Lance Evans had seven catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Ovie Urevbu picked up 64 yards on four carries and had a 28-yard touchdown reception.
D'Arthur Cowan had seven catches for 65 yards and a score.
Cameron Rogers led the Lions with seven tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
- The Lions notched 16 tackles for loss in the game.
- A&M-Commerce has now won five straight games to open the season for the first time since 1980. That team won the first six games of the season.

Midwestern State

Midwestern State jumped ahead three spots to No. 7 in the latest American Football Coaches' Association Division II Poll released Monday morning. Midwestern, which improved to 4-0 for the second consecutive season and for the ninth time in program history with a 43-22 win over Western New Mexico, carries a national ranking for the 15th consecutive reporting period dating back to last season.

Midwestern State has now won four consecutive games for the 15th time in the Maskill era and for the 12th time in 13 years. The Mustangs never trailed in a game for the first time since beating West Texas A&M 24-17 on Oct. 10, 2015 -- a span of 10 games.

Statron Jones, Wide Receiver

The Senior wide receiver caught two passes for 69 yards including a 63-yard TD after going 72 yards for a score last week. He became the sixth MSU receiver to go over 1,500 receiving yards; now has 102 catches for 1,529 yards.

Vincent Johnson, Running Back

Midwestern State's Vincent Johnson garnered Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors after leading the 10th-ranked Mustangs to a 43-22 win over Western New Mexico Saturday at Ben Altamirano Field. The sophomore out of Lubbock Monterey High rushed for three touchdowns for the third time this season as Johnson ranks second in NCAA Division II in scoring at 16.5 points per game and third in total rushing TDs with 11 this season. The 5-10, 203-pounder also turned his second 100-yard rushing performance of the season going for 103 yards on 18 carries. He culminated an 11-play, 65-yard drive with a 3-yard run in the third quarter before scoring twice in the final stanza on runs of 4 and 25 yards. His 25-yard touchdown run came on fourth-and-1 and gave MSU a commanding 21-point lead with 7:24 to play.

* Senior quarterback Quade Coward connected on 11-of-21 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns while running for 48 yards on eight carries last week.

* Senior linebacker Adam Hill returned from injury to lead the Mustangs with eight tackles including six solo stops last week.

* Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Quailon Haynes had six tackles with two sacks in his collegiate debut last week.

Coach Carthel previews MSU

2015 Win over MSU hihglights