Southeastern Homecoming spoiled at the hands of Texas A&M Commerce

SLU+tight+end+Ivan+Drobocky+catches+touchdown+in+the+back+of+the+end+zone+that+would+later+be+ruled+as+an+incompletion+after+video+review+vs.+TAMUC+on+Saturday+at+Strawberry+Stadium.

Symiah Dorsey

SLU tight end Ivan Drobocky catches touchdown in the back of the end zone that would later be ruled as an incompletion after video review vs. TAMUC on Saturday at Strawberry Stadium.

Texas A&M-Commerce snapped Southeastern’s three-game winning streak with a 31-28 victory during Homecoming weekend. 

Playing in their first-ever Southland Conference game in school history, the Lions from Commerce, Texas had something to prove. The former DII school is playing its inaugural season of football at the DI-FCS level and is now off to a flying start.

SLU’s defense was unable to contain TAMUC as they garnered 485 yards of total offense. A&M Commerce was also able to edge the Lions in time of possession 32:24 to 27:36. This disparity became even clearer in the fourth quarter. 

During this period, the visitors held the ball for 11:22 while Southeastern only had possession for 3:38. 

Despite losing the time of possession and nearly giving up 500 yards, the Green and Gold still had a chance to win the game. Running back Carlos Washington Jr. was able to run in for six with 4:44 remaining in the fourth, bringing the Lions to within three points. 

On a crucial third and six, the Lions failed to stop the quarterback draw run by Eric Rodriguez. Texas A&M-Commerce was able to run out the clock from then on out. 

Not only was Rodriguez able to use his legs against SLU, but he was deadly in the air as well. He threw for 374 yards and four touchdowns. On the receiving end, duo Andrew Armstrong and Kennedy Snell were able to combine for 14 catches with 266 yards and three touchdowns. 

One of the game’s defining moments came on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Andrew Armstrong caught a slant pass and took it 77 yards to the house, outracing the entire Southeastern secondary. This made the score 17-14 and A&M-Commerce never looked back. 

“Sometimes we would double him, sometimes we would have somebody inside, but he had a good game and he’s a real special player,” defensive end Arlen Williams said in regards to wideout Armstrong. 

The sophomore accounted for 154 receiving yards on the day, a career-high. Armstrong now leads the FBS in receiving touchdowns with nine on the season despite only playing in five games due to Commerce’s early bye.

“We did not play the way we should’ve played tonight and I have to do a better job than that… We’ve got to do a better job coaching and preparing our players for a game of this magnitude,” Head Coach Frank Scelfo said after the game. 

One key difference between these two sets of Lions was third down conversion rate, specifically in the second half. Commerce converted four out of seven third downs over the final 30 minutes of the ball game, while Southeastern went just one for five. 

This gave TAMUC the edge and allowed them to control the clock in the fourth quarter. 

“I don’t think we did too many things well tonight. I thought our execution on third downs was poor. We gave up too many big plays and missed tackles–things like that,” Scelfo said. 

Washington noted this loss is coming before the bye week, so the team will have time to regroup and come back stronger. 

“Obviously going into the bye-week there’s going to be a lot of cleaning up to do. Today the negatives outweigh the positives, but we have to get a couple of guys more healthy and attack every day with the same mindset,” Washington said. 

Southeastern will look to bounce back on Oct. 22 at Jacksonville State in quarterback duo Cephus Johnson III and Eli Sawyer’s return to their home state of Alabama. The Lions will need a win to get back above .500 on the season. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on ESPN+.