Martinez sets school scoring record as No. 8 Lions hold off Tarleton for President's Cup, 33-21 - LINK
STEPHENVILLE - The eighth-ranked Texas A&M University-Commerce football team won the President's Cup for the fifth consecutive season Saturday with a 33-21 victory over Tarleton State University in the regular season finale. Kristov Martinez became the school's all-time leading scorer in the second quarter.
The Lions wrap up the regular season with a 9-1 overall record and 7-1 Lone Star Conference mark, while the Texans finish at 6-5 overall and 4-4 in the LSC.
A&M-Commerce is in prime position to qualify for the NCAA Division II Playoffs, and will learn their opponent and destination at 4 p.m. Sunday. There will be a watching party starting at 3:45 p.m. Sunday in The Club in the Rayburn Student Center.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Martinez was a perfect 4-of-4 on field goal attempts, as well as making all three PATs. Those 15 points push his career total to 289, breaking the previous record of 281 set by Billy Watkins (1990-93). He made field goals of 24, 39, 42, and 35 yards.
- Quarterback Luis Perez completed 34-of-50 passes for 482 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He completed passes to seven different receivers.
- Buck Wilson had seven receptions for 193 yards and a 61-yard touchdown. His game total is the most by a receiver in the tenure of head coach Colby Carthel.
- Marquis Wimberly had five receptions for 113 yards and a 32-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory. Darrion Landry also caught a touchdown pass.
- Carandal Hale was the leading rusher with 78 yards.
- Garrett Blubaugh was the Lions' leading tackler with seven stops. Neema Behbahani, Norman Moimoi, Devonta Leary, and Josh Reynolds each had sacks. The Lions had 11 tackles for loss.
- Travon Blanchard and Dominique Ramsey each had interceptions in the first quarter. Kieston Carter and Ramsey each forced a fumble.
- The Lions had 546 yards of total offense compared to 272 yards by Tarleton.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Lions came out on fire, scoring on four of their first five drives. After the defense forced a three-and-out on the opening drive, Perez found Wilson for a 61-yard touchdown pass on the offense's third play of the game.
Another Texan punt on the second drive gave the Lions the ball near midfield. The drive needed six plays and 2:03 to find the endzone, as Perez connected with Landry for a 6-yard scoring strike.
Ramsey's interception set up the Lions' next scoring drive, as Martinez scored a 24-yard field goal with 1:33 on the clock to give the Lions a 17-0 lead. On the next drive, which spanned into the second quarter, the Lions drove deep into Texan territory before a sack bogged down the drive. Martinez' 39-yard field goal with 11:15 on the second quarter clock put the Lions up 20-0 and gave him the all-time scoring lead.
Another Martinez field goal, this time from 42 yards out, put the Lion lead at 23-0 with 5:58 left in the half. That would be the halftime score. The Lions outgained Tarleton 300-53 in the first 30 minutes of action.
Tarleton's offense responded out of the break with its first scoring play of the game, when Adam Berryman broke a 69-yard touchdown run up the middle, cutting the lead to 23-7 with 11:49 on the clock in the third quarter.
That score would roll into a wild fourth quarter. The Lions put points on the board in the opening drive with a 35-yard Martinez field goal to make it 26-7 with 12:07 to play.
The Texans scored on a touchdown pass on a jumpball where both teams made their opinions on possession of the ball known. The officials ruled in favor of the hosts, cutting the Lion lead to 26-14 with 10:08 to go.
After a Lion three-and-out, the A&M-Commerce defense looked to hold Tarleton near midfield, with sacks on consecutive plays by Behbahani and Moimoi. But TSU quarterback Zed Woerner found Berryman on fourth down, and the running back slipped a pair of tackles and ran for a 54-yard touchdown. That play made it a one-score game at 26-21 with 4:41 to play.
The Lions had two first downs and were trying to bleed the clock, but a botched snap had the visitors facing a key fourth down. A comeback route by Wimberly on the pass ensured a first down, and a massive downfield block by Wilson opened a route to the corner of the endzone, allowing Wimberly to score from 32 yards out and seal the victory.
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