Post Classifieds

Lions gut out 19-14 win

By Caleb Slinkard
On October 4, 2010

A strong start and tough defensive effort in the fourth quarter helped A&M-Commerce (2-3, 1-1) overcome a shaky second half and defeat Southeastern Oklahoma State (1-4, 0-2) 19-14.

The Lions moved the ball well on their opening drive, including a 22-yard rush by junior running back Marcus Graham, but two major penalties shut down the drive. After both teams failed to score on successive drives, the Lions defense drew first blood.

A&M-Commerce senior cornerback A.J. Billings recovered a SOSU fumble and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown, although A&M-Commerce missed the extra point. The Lions failed to convert on two of their three extra point attempts in what was a frustrating special teams effort.

A&M-Commerce incurred two penalties on the fumble return. The Lions were undisciplined throughout much of the game, losing 119 yards on nine penalties.

"There isn't a whole lot we can do about that in practice," Graham said. "That has to do with mental toughness. We have to concentrate and focus in our next game."

In the second quarter, Graham led the Lions on a 10-play, 95-yard drive and punched in the touchdown with a 14-yard run. Later in the quarter, quarterback Adam Farkes connected with freshman receiver Jillian Hayes for a 10-yard touchdown to cap off a 12-play drive. After a fumbled snap on the extra point, the Lions went up 19-0.

SOSU had a chance to put points on the board at the end of the second quarter, but missed a 30-yard field goal wide left.

A&M-Commerce failed to come out with the same intensity offensively in the second half while penalties, terrible field position and poor play-calling kept them from scoring again for the rest of the game.

Following an SOSU punt, which was downed at the Lions' one-yard line, quarterback Adam Farkes threw his first interception of the game. The A&M-Commerce defense held firm and, once again, SOSU downed the punt within the Lions' 10-yard line. Following an A&M-Commerce three and out, the Lions' defense forced SOSU to punt, despite their short field. A&M-Commerce's offense had to start from within their own 10 for the third straight time and recorded another three and out.

SOSU finally took advantage of their superior field position when sophomore quarterback Logan Turner connected with sophomore wide receiver Ryan Shelley for a 15-yard touchdown. A&M-Commerce began moving the ball well again until Farkes's pass was picked off by Eric Walker and returned 65 yards to the Lions 10. Turner and Shelly struck again a few plays later to bring the visitors within five points.

On their opening drive of the fourth quarter, head coach Guy Morriss went for it on fourth and two, and the Lions failed to convert for the first down. A&M-Commerce's defense held SOSU on their own fourth down attempt, but the offense could only eat up a minute of time before punting the ball. Both teams punted on their next possessions, and SE found themselves in Lion territory with three minutes left.

Turner almost completed a third touchdown pass to Shelley, but the wideout dropped the pass in the end zone. SOSU could not recover, and A&M-Commerce linebacker Marlin Terrell stopped receiver Brandon DeFrance short of a first down on fourth and six to effectively win the game.

Graham finished with 110 yards on 24 carries and one touchdown, his second straight 100-yard effort. He now has 437 yards and four touchdowns through five games. Wide receiver Kenzee Jackson led the Lions with eight catches for 70 yards, increasing his team-leading reception total to 17. Linebacker Danny Mason, who had several impressive stops during the game, led the team with 15 total tackles and now has 55 on the year.

"The win feels good," Mason said. "We held our composure and our instincts kicked in because we knew we had to dominate."

Farkes finished with 224 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions and was not sacked.

"It was pretty easy to play quarterback tonight," he said. "I wasn't really touched all night. It all starts with the offensive line."

A&M-Commerce travels to Northeastern Oklahoma State next week for a 2 p.m. kickoff before returning home to play Tarleton State in the first televised home football game in Lions history.


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