By CALEB SLINKARD
Texas A&M University-Commerce (6-3) couldn’t get going on offense against Angelo State (3-6) and turned the ball over on a crucial fourth down as the Lions dropped their homecoming football game, 25-20, on Saturday.
A&M-Commerce got off to a strong start as Dionte Taylor blocked Angelo State’s first punt and the Lions took over the ball on their 47. Two plays later, quarterback Harrison Stewart completed a 54-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Vernon Johnson to give the Lions the 7-0 lead.
A&M-Commerce defensive back Marcus Fore intercepted Rams’ quarterback Kyle Washington’s pass on the Rams’ ensuing possession to give the Lions the ball back in Angelo State territory, but the Lions were unable to capitalize on the miscue.
Washington proved to be much more effective using his legs, powering the Rams on a five-play, 51-yard touchdown drive. Running back Jermie Calhoun powered in the touchdown from one yard to tie the game at 7.
A penalty-ridden defensive drive for the Lions culminated in defensive back Pablo Vasquez being ejected. Washington completed the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Xavier Traylor to give the Rams their first lead, 13-7.
Angelo State failed to convert a fourth and three from the 28-yard line, but Stewart fumbled the ball on the next play to give the Rams the ball back. Washington connected with tight end Alex Young for an 18-yard touchdown right before the end of the half as the Rams extended their lead to 12.
The Lions continued to struggle offensively as Stewart was sacked six times in the first half. A&M-Commerce also managed to rack up 70 yards in penalties.
Both teams were ineffective in the third quarter, but punter Cameron Frosch ran for 25 yards on a fake punt early in the fourth. Stewart connected with Johnson again on the next play for a 65-yard touchdown and the Lions cut the lead to five.
A&M-Commerce backup quarterback Deric Davis converted a fourth and one and three plays later completed a 4-yard fade to Johnson on the Lions’ next possession. The failed conversion left the Lions up 20-19.
The Rams converted a fourth and six with three minutes left in the game to move deep within Lion territory. Calhoun scored his second touchdown of the day on an 11-yard scamper, but the Rams failed to convert the two-point conversion.
The Lions got the ball back with a 1:30 left in the fourth quarter down 25-20.
Rams’ junior defensive back Blair Smith picked off Stewart with a minute left and Angelo State ran out the clock.
Stewart was sacked 10 times, passing for 256 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Johnson finished with eight receptions for 165 yards and three touchdowns and defensive lineman Charlie Tuaau led the team with 12 total tackles. Washington led the Rams with 116 yards on the ground and 143 through the air, totaling two touchdowns against one pick.
The Lions will travel to Houston next week to take on Houston Baptist University. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. Tune in to 88.9 FM KETR for live commentary and visit www.lionathletics.com for live stats.