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A&M-Commerce takes on East Central in final home game

By Caleb Slinkard
On November 5, 2010

A&M-Commerce (3-6, 2-6) is coming off of a nail-biting 31-30 victory over the University of Central Oklahoma, a win that snapped a three game losing streak, all in Lone Star Conference play. The Lions, who were selected at the beginning of the season to win the LSC North are out of the division title hunt.

The Lions are led on offense by running back Marcus Graham (688 yards, 6 Tds), but recent injuries have led to the emergence of sophomore London Hamilton, who carried the ball 23 times for 90 yards in last week's win. When the Lions do pass they struggle to keep the ball - quarterback Adam Farkes has thrown for only four touchdowns against 16 interceptions. His favorite target is freshman wide receiver Kenzee Jackson, who leads the team in receptions and yards with 39 and 357 respectively.

On defense sophomore linebacker Danny Mason has been the MVP, racking up 83 total tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss through nine games. In the past few weeks, however, Mason has been outplayed by freshman defensive lineman Tevin Moore, who recorded 7 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss in last week's victory.

Their opponent, East Central (4-5, 4-4), is on a three game winning streak and is coming off of a 48-21 victory over Northeastern State. ECU scores 21.2 ppg as opposed to the 25.4 they let up. They are led on offense by quarterback Tyler Vanderzee (1,819 yards, 11 Tds, 13 Ints), running back Charles Opeseyitan (406 yards, 3 Tds, 4.0 avg.) and wide receiver Zack Patteson (39 receptions, 577 yards and 3 Tds). Defensively, the Tigers have several players near the top of the list in total tackles, including leader Norris Wrenn (56), Markell Walker (49) and Dontae Smith (47), who also leads ECU with 6 interceptions. Armonty Bryant has wreaked havoc in the backfield all year, registering 9.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss.


Keys to the Game: A&M-Commerce must establish the run early and often if they hope to come away with a victory. ECU lets up over 130 yards a game rushing the ball, so getting Hamilton and possibly Graham going will open up the passing game for Farkes.

Score early: A&M-Commerce often gets behind in football games, forcing them to pass to score quickly. If the Lions can get an early lead, their grinding, rushing attack and competent defense should do the trick and bring them a win.

QB Adam Farkes has to limit his turnovers. ECU doesn't have a dominant defense, but they do lead the LSC with 17 Ints with 5 Tds off of picks.

ECU is dead last in the LSC in rushing offense, so limiting their passing attack will be a number one priority for Coach Guy Morriss' defense. Cornerback A.J. Billings and the Lions' secondary will need to shut down the pass and force ECU to run the football.


Prediction:Both of these teams are mediocre offensive units that have struggled this season. Neither team has looked particularly impressive in any facet of the game. This is the Lions' last home game, so they'll undoubtedly want to give the fans a show, but considering ECU's winning streak and the Lions' inability to win back-to-back games this season, I predict an ECU victory, 24-13.

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