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Home News-Telegram Sports Angelo State spoils Morriss’ debut with Lions

Angelo State spoils Morriss’ debut with Lions

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SAN ANGELO — Two third quarter touchdowns and a late touchdown in the fourth quarter by host Angelo State led the host Rams a 21-7 win to the spoil the debut of A&M-Commerce head football coach Guy Morriss.

Angelo State (1-0) quarterback Josh Neiswander completed 18 of 34 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns in the win. To go along with 332 yards of total offense, the Rams defense held the A&M-Commerce ground game to 34 yards on 26 carries.

Texas A&M-Commerce (0-1) recorded only 190 yards of total offense, 156 of which came through the air and senior quarterback Reid Herchenbach. The

Merced, California native completed 16 of 28 passes for 156 yards.

A&M-Commerce struggled on third down as they went 1-for-14 in the loss.

Senior punter Juan Velasco had a busy evening as he had to punt the ball 11 times, five of which landed inside the 20. The 11 punts are the most by A&M-Commerce since a 14-punt effort against the Rams on Nov. 8, 2003.

Senior linebackers Stephen DeGrate and Cory Whitfield led the Lions defense with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.

The win by Angelo State extend its home opener winning streak to five games and extended the Lions losing streak in season openers to three.

A&M-Commerce got on the board first on a three-yard plunge by Marcus Graham early into the second quarter. During the drive, Herchenbach completed a 22-yard pass to Taylor Fore on first down and two plays later; he completed a 17-yard pass to Adam Jones that set up first and goal for the Lions. Two plays, Graham ran around the right side for the touchdown.

Angelo State started the second half with a five play, 66-yard drive that ended on a one-yard plunge by Dwight Pete to even the score at 7. The Rams took their first lead of the contest when Neiswander connected on a 55-yard touchdown strike to Excelle Osborne for a 14-7 advantage. A 16-play, 72-yard drive that took up 9:42 late in the fourth quarterback as Neiswander completed a two-yard touchdown strike to Antwon Williams sealed the Lions’ fate.

Next up for A&M-Commerce is a trip to take on Southeastern Louisiana for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

NOTES —    Senior punter Juan Velasco punted the ball 11 times for an average of 37.8 yards a kick with five landing inside-the-20. The 11 punts by Velasco were the most since a 14-punt effort by the Lions against the Rams on Nov.8, 2003.

Redshirt junior wide receiver Adam Jones entered Saturday’s game with two career receptions. He quickly became the favorite target against the Rams for quarterback Reid Herchenbach catching a career-best four passes for another career-best 50 yards. His 17 season-yard reception set up the Lions only touchdown.

Redshirt sophomore running back Marcus Graham scored his first collegiate touchdown on a three-yard rush around the right side that gave A&M-Commerce a 7-0 lead.

Eight-different Lions caught a pass from quarterback Reid Herchenbach in the contest, the last time that eight-different receivers caught a pass was in game five of the 2008 season against Central Oklahoma. Redshirt sophomore Jetavious Best, redshirt freshman T.J. Nielsen and freshman Jordan Wright hauled in their first receptions as Lions.

Best accounted for 111 yards of total offense in the defeat, rushing for 43, 22 by receiving and 46 on kickoff returns.

The A&M-Commerce defense recorded nine tackles for negative yardage. Ramon Jackson and Andreé Smith led the team with 1.5 tackles for loss. Senior Patrick Moore had a team-best three quarterback hurries, Smith and Anthony DeGrate each had a sack; plus Stephen DeGrate forced two fumbles.

The Lions offense had five first-time starters and the defense had three; 19 players made their  debut in the contest.

 

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