Texas A&M-Commerce at West Texas A&M
When: 6 p.m. Saturday at Buffalo Stadium in Canyon, Texas
Broadcast: Lone Star Conference Digital Network ($)
The Matchup: This game was destined to be a Game of the Week from the time schedules were released for this season.
However, no one could’ve anticipated both teams entering with identical 4-3 records.
The atmosphere inside Buffalo Stadium will be electric and have the feel of a playoff game, and playoff hopes are on the line this week. The winner of this game keeps hopes for a Lone Star Conference title and playoff berth alive, while the loser is likely eliminated from the postseason.
Texas A&M-Commerce welcomes back quarterback Miklo Smalls two weeks ago. However, the offense sputtered in his return, and the Lions suffered a disappointing 20-17 overtime loss at home to Saginaw Valley State.
The Lions got the offense rolling at home last week with a convincing 58-0 win over LSC foe Western New Mexico.
West Texas A&M has rebounded from a two-game losing streak against No. 5 Colorado School of Mines and a disappointing 41-38 road loss to regional rival Western Oregon.
WT is on a two-game winning streak after defeating Angelo State at home and keeping possession of the Wagon Wheel with a dominating win over Eastern New Mexico.
The Buffs are 10-4 since Buffalo Stadium opened in 2019, and the gorgeous new digs are quickly earning a reputation as one of the most challenging venues for a visiting team in the LSC.
However, the only time Texas A&M-Commerce played inside Buffalo Stadium, the Lions departed with a 34-20 win in 2019.
Players to Watch:
Miklo Smalls, QB, Jr, Plano, Texas (Independence CC)
Antonio Leal’ie’e, RB, Sr, Copperas Cove, Texas (Copperas Cove HS)
Dominique Ramsey, DB, Converse, Texas (Judson HS)
Nick Gerber, Sr, Levelland, Texas (Texas Tech)
Khalil Harris, Soph, Frisco, Texas (Heritage HS)
JT Cavender, Fr, Midlothian, Texas (Midlothian HS)
Key to Victory: This game features two of the most dynamic return specialists in the country. Dominique Ramsey of Texas A&M-Commerce and Tobias Harris of West Texas A&M have terrorized opposing teams.
However, both teams are expected to keep the ball away from the two game-changing returners, which makes limiting interceptions the key to this game.
Nick Gerber has been a great player for the Buffs but has struggled with turnovers this season. The Texas Tech transfer has ten touchdown passes and six interceptions on the season.
Miklo Smalls has also struggled with limiting interceptions, having thrown for three touchdowns and three interceptions in his two starts since returning from a knee injury last spring.
Prediction: Normally, I would side with the mobile quarterback, Smalls, against a solid defense.
Not this week.
Gerber has only thrown one interception in his last two games after tossing five interceptions in his first five games.
Smalls is still trying to knock off the rust of playing only two competitive football games since the 2019 season.
The raucous crowd will depart Buffalo Stadium in a happy mood.
West Texas A&M by 4
Best of the Rest:
Saturday, Oct. 23
No. 21 Jacksonville at No. 1 Sam Houston, 2 p.m., ESPN+
Belhaven at Howard Payne, 1 p.m., HPUSports.com
No. 15 Blinn at Tyler, 3 p.m., TylerApaches.com
Other Small College Games:
Saturday, Oct. 23
Incarnate Word at McNeese, noon, ESPN+
Nicholls at Houston Baptist, 6 p.m., ESPN+
Prairie View A&M at Southern, 6 p.m., ESPN Networks
Central Arkansas at Lamar, 6 p.m., ESPN+
No. 19 Midwestern State at Tarleton, 6 p.m., ESPN+
Alcorn State at Texas Southern, 7 p.m., AT&T Sportsnet
Stephen F. Austin at Dixie State, 8 p.m., ESPN+
NCAA Division II
Texas A&M-Kingsville at Western New Mexico, 1 p.m., LSC Network
Eastern New Mexico at UTPB, 6 p.m., LSC Network
Simon Fraser at Angelo State, 6 p.m., LSC Network
NCAA Division III
No. 21 Trinity at Sewanee, noon, SewaneeTigers.com
No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor at Sul Ross State, 1 p.m., SRLobos.com
East Texas Baptist at Austin College, 1 p.m.
Southwestern at No. 8 Hardin-Simmons, 1 p.m., HSUAthletics.com
McMurry at Texas Lutheran, 1 p.m., TLUBulldogs.com
Texas College at Arizona Christian, 1 p.m., GSACSportsNetwork.com
Louisiana College at Texas Wesleyan, 2 p.m., RamSports.net
Lyon at SAGU, 2 p.m., SAGU Sports Net
Navarro at No. 8 Trinity Valley, 1 p.m., SHN Sports Network
Cisco at No. 5 New Mexico Military Institute, 3 p.m.
No. 7 Snow at Kilgore, 3 p.m.
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