When: Saturday, December 7, Noon
Where: Blakeslee Stadium, Mankato, MN
Weather: Sunny and 33 Degrees at Kickoff, Wind North at 13 MPH
Radio: Lion Sports Network via 88.9 KETR (Commerce) or stream http://www.ketr.org Charlie Chitwood (Play By Play), Brock Calloway (Color/Analysis) BJ Laudermilk (Studio/Updates)
Live Stream: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/mnsu/
Live Stats: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/mnsu/
QB- Miklo Smalls, RS-Soph, 6’2, 185 LBS, Plano, TX (Plano East)
RB-Antonio Lealilee, RS-Junior, 5’11, 210 LBS, Copperas Cove, TX (Copperas Cove)
WR- Ryan Stokes, Senior, 6’3, 185 LBS, St Louis, MO (McCluer North)
WR- Chance Cooper, Junior, 6’3, 200 LBS, Rouse, TX, (Leander)
WR- Eric Hebert, Freshman, 5’4, 145 LBS, Manvel, TX (Manvel)
TE- Tyler Guice, Senior, 6’3, 250 LBS, Atlanta, GA (Eagles Landing)
LG- Deion Malone, Senior, 6’3, 295 LBS, Batesville, MS (South Panola)
LT- Amon Simon, RS-Junior, 6’5, 275 LBS, Humble TX, (Atascocita)
C- Christian Hernandez, Sophomore 6’1, 265 LBS, Frisco, TX (Lone Star)
RT- Richard West, Sophomore, 6’6, 240 LBS, San Antonio, TX (East Central)
RG- Dixon Siuele, Junior, 6’2, 305 LBS, Pago Pago, American Samoa, (Samoana)
NT- Pierre Leonard, Senior, 5’10, 300 LBS, Tyler, TX (John Tyler)
DT- Chris Williams, Senior, 6’1, 285 LBS, Atlanta, GA (Sandy Creek)
DE- Elijah Earls, RS-Junior, 6’0, 240 LBS, San Antonio, TX (Stevens)
DE- Jaylon Hodge, Junior, 6’0, 275, Houston, TX (Fort Bend Travis)
LB- Dominique Ramsey, RS-Junior 5’9 180 LBS, Converse, TX (Judson) (Possible)
LB- Terrell Collins, Senior, 6’0, 245 LBS, St. Louis, MO (Hazelwood Central)
LB- Jalon Edwards-Cooper, Senior, 5’11, 175 LBS, Spring, TX (DeKaney)
LB- Neema Behbahani, Senior, 6’1, 230 LBS, Plano, TX (Plano)
DB- Sammy Gray, Senior, 5’11, 180 LBS, Elk Grove, CA (Cosumnes Oaks)
DB- LA Dawson, Senior, 6’0, 180 LBS, Austin, TX (Lyndon B. Johnson)
DB- Felipe Chambers, 6’1, 190 LBS, Fair Oaks, CA, (Del Campo)
Placekicker-Jake Viquez, RS-Junior, 5’10, 190 LBS, Rockwall, TX (Rockwall)
Place Holder-Preston Wheeler, Senior, 6’3, 200 LBS, Austin, TX (Bowie)
Punter-Andrew Gomez, Junior, 6’2, 210 LBS, Richardson, TX (Richardson)
Long Snapper-Wyatt Leath, Junior, 6’4, 245 LBS, Rockwall, TX (Heath)
Return Specialist-Kader Kohou RS-Junior, 5’11, 190 LBS, Euless, TX (Trinity)
Storylines: Would you get a load of THIS team? Not in our, and maybe even their wildest dreams did most of us think we would be just two games away from a second national title appearance and 3 games away from another national title championship, after a lot of graduations, the departing of a great coach and a lot of once in a generation players.
This group? 11-2, a new coaching staff that fits just right, new players that have transferred in addition to players who have been a part of the Championship culture of A&M-Commerce Football. This is not uncharted territory, however. 4 straight seasons of 10 plus wins, 7 straight postseason appearances, and 5 straight NCAA Division II playoff tournaments. Also, a head coach that has come from within a field goal of going to the Division I-FCS National title game 14 years ago, and is still hungry.
In the way stands Minnesota State Mankato, another top 5 team that has not lost a game all year. Look up “corn fed boys” and you will pull up this group. Big and strong that likes to play old school power football. Nothing fancy about them, just tough and good at what they do.
A game that is very winnable, but this team cannot look ahead to possibly hosting another national semifinal game and not stare down and take down the opponent in front of them. Another far trip to a cold destination? Been there, done that.
4 things to remember-
- Be a team.
- Be the more excited team to play.
- Be better at doing your job than the guy lined up from you.
- Make routine plays.
Do those things, and the trip to McKinney gets that much closer to reality. From here, it is possible.