Texas A&M-Commerce Lions vs. Harding University Bison: NCAA Division 2 National Semifinal-A Closer Look, Part 1

Greetings, Lions fans, Brian Pate has graciously allowed me to continue to write this week, and I’ll gladly do so. I admit to being a little superstious.  As the character Crash Davis in Bull Durham said, “Never mess with a winning streak.” So, here goes…..


Tale of the Tape

Bison Offense

Offensive Line Avg. 6’1″ 269 lbs.

Total- 403.6 ypg. (55th)

Rushing-351.2 ypg(2nd)

Passing-52.5 ypg(168th)

Scoring-34.6 ppg(34th)


Sacks Allowed-8(4th)


Lion Defense

Defensive Line Avg. 6’1″ 270 lbs.

Total-304.2 (27th)



Sacks-37 (22nd)

Fumbles Recovered-6 (Tied 125th)

The Skinny-Unlike last week against Minnesota State, the Lions matchup evenly in size to the Bison. The Bison run the Flexbone offense, very similar to Eastern New Mexico. One thing noticed in the film that I’ve seen is that their linemen have very wide splits between them. They use this to run the dive back in the gaps. The Bison are led in rushing by Cole Chancey(200-1,153 yards, 13 TD’s), Zach Shelley(104-803 yards, 5 TD’s), Grant Kimberlin(77-773 yards, 3 TD’s) and Terrence Dingle(166-674 yards, 18 TD’s). Dingle is the quarterback, and keeps a lot on the option. The Bison are a true option football team. Their goal is to hit the gaps with the dive back, or get quickly to the perimeter.

The passing game for the Bison is almost non existent. Dingle has attempted just 70 passes all year(30-70, 671 yards, 4 TD’s). The receivers are led by Andrew Dather(12-275, 1 TD), Grant Kimberlin(8-161, 2 TD’s), and Bobby Green(6-97, 1 TD).

The Lions, while having seen this type offense earlier in the year, will nevertheless have to be very disciplined this week. They need to find a strategy to combat the wide line splits, and concentrate on every player performing their assignments. They are led in tackles by Brucks Saathoff(78), Garrett Blubaugh(55), and Alex Shillow(53)

The Lions win this matchup if……They balance discipline with their aggressive, attacking style. The option counts on defenses free lancing and over pursuing. That being said, they’re familiar with it, and have been improving greatly from week to week. In the second half last week, they allowed Minnesota State 35 yards total offense. 35 yards. If they continue that effort, they will be very successful.

Overview-The Lions have a very favorable matchup here, given that they carry out their assignments, don’t over pursue, and do their best to disrupt the Bison’s timing and precision. The option relies on clean reads and pitches. The more they can create havoc. the better it will be for them.

Hope everyone enjoys reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed bringing it to you. Coming up tomorrow….the Lion Offense vs. Bison Defense, and Special Teams.

Roar Back Here.....

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