Game of the Week: Texas A&M-Commerce at No. 12 Colorado State-Pueblo

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No. 8 Texas A&M-Commerce at No. 12 Colorado State-Pueblo

When: 7 p.m. Thursday at Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl in Pueblo, Colo.

Broadcast: https://rmacnetwork.com/gothunderwolves/

The Matchup: Two perennial NCAA Division II powers with national title hopes this year collide in the opening week of the season. Both teams boast national championship trophies with CSU-Pueblo winning in 2014 and TAMUC winning in 2017. The teams also share the distinction of having not played a football game in more than 600 days.

The Lions received some bad news in the offseason with a knee injury to quarterback Miklo Smalls. Smalls was the catalyst to the Lions’ 2019 run to the quarterfinals and could return later this season. TAMUC will likely turn to Louisiana transfer Jaiave Magalei to manage the offense.

No matter who lines up at quarterback, they will have a solid offensive line led by returning Lone Star Conference Lineman of the Year, Amon Simon. The Lions have three running backs who have each saw significant time over the last three seasons while the receiver corps has been bolstered by multiple transfers.

The Thunderwolves have touted a strong rushing attack and this year is no exception. Gunnar Lamphere is expected to be the starting quarterback but running back D.J. Penick leads a bevy of talented rushers. CSU-Pueblo will feature a pro-style offense with a passing game dependent on weather conditions.

Players to Watch: 

TAMUC - Jaiave Magalei, QB, Jr, Tacoma, Wash. (Louisiana)

Dominique Ramsey, DB, Sr, Converse, Texas (Judson HS)

Amon Simon, OL, Sr, Humble, Texas (Atascocita HS)

CSU-Pueblo - D.J. Penick, RB, Sr, Evanston, Ill (Highland Park HS)

Gunnar Lamphere, QB, Jr, Aurora, Colo. (Grandview HS)

Trevor Philio, LB, Sr, Denver, Colo. (Cherry Creek HS)

Key to Victory: When two programs that have developed a winning tradition collide, the game is often determined by the turnovers, penalties, and special teams play. With both teams having over 600 days between games, turnovers and penalties will be a focus for both coaching staffs. Lions coach David Bailiff has focused on reducing penalties during fall camp. The difference in this game lies in the special teams with the Lions having a distinct advantage with dynamic return specialist Dominique Ramsey and “Mr. Reliable” Jake Viquez at kicker.

Prediction: Commerce by 3

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Best of the rest

Prairie View A&M at Texas Southern, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4, ESPN+

Tarleton at Stephen F. Austin, 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4, ESPN+

Texas Lutheran at Howard Payne, Saturday, Sept. 4

Other small college games:

Thursday, Sept. 2nd

FCS

UIW at Youngstown State, 6 p.m., ESPN+

North American at Lamar, 6 P.M., ESPN+

No. 1 Sam Houston at Northern Arizona, 7 p.m., ESPN+

Houston Baptist at New Mexico, 7 p.m., GoLobos.com

Division II

Texas College at West Texas A&M, 7 p.m., LoneStarConferenceNetwork.com

Angelo State at No. 21 Lindenwood, 7 p.m., GLVCSN.com

Division III

East Texas Baptist at Wisconsin-Platteville, 6 p.m., LetsGoPioneers.com

Saturday, Sept. 4

FCS

Abilene Christian at SMU, 5 p.m., ESPN+

Division II

UT Permian Basin at Southwest Baptist, noon, GLVCSN.com

Midwestern State at Quincy, 1 p.m., GLVCSN.com

Texas A&M-Kingsville at Saginaw Valley State, 6 p.m., SVSUCardinals.com

Division III

Austin College at Hendrix, 1 p.m., ACRoos.com

Simpson at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor, 6 p.m., CruAthletics.com

Wayland Baptist at No. 7 Hardin-Simmons, 6 p.m., HSUAthletics.com

McMurry at Trinity University, 6 p.m., TrinityTigers.com

Southwestern at Cal Lutheran, 9 p.m., CLUSports.com

NAIA

No. 15 Arizona Christian at Texas Wesleyan, noon, RamSports.net

Southwestern Assemblies of God at Louisiana College, 6 p.m., LCWildcats.net

NJCAA

ASA-Miami at No. 8 Trinity Valley, 1 p.m., SHN Sports Network

Navarro at Cisco, 7 p.m.

No. 6 Kilgore at Tyler, 7 p.m., ApacheAthletics.com

Southern-Shreveport at Blinn, 7 p.m.

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