The last time Memorial Stadium in Commerce, Texas, played host to two ranked football teams was in 1992. Texas A&M-Commerce senior starting quarterback Harrison Stewart was just an infant, barely six-months old.
Interesting fact, but Stewart's only focus will be how to help the No. 18 ranked Lions beat No. 10 Delta State when the two teams square off at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday.
“Honestly, not really sure what to expect,” Stewart said. “Delta State is a really good team. They do a lot of tricky things on defense. Hopefully, we can figure it out. I hope it is an offensive shootout because that means our offense is doing well. But I could care less as long as we get the win.”
Both teams enter the game 1-0. Texas A&M-Commerce won its season-opener 48-17 over Adams State (Colo.). In that game, Stewart completed 17 of 32 passes for 254 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
“We were depending on a lot of new faces,” Stewart said. “It took us about a quarter and a half to get started but once we started, we were really getting our passing attack going and our running game took off and that helped us, too.”
Delta State also showed an ability to put plenty of points on the board in its 48-7 win over Fort Valley State (Ga.).
It's a great day to be a Statesmen! 48-7 victory. Thanks again for all the support Cleveland! No better fans in the world. #DSUFamily— Statesmen Football (@DeltaStateFB) September 4, 2015
This game will be a nice, early-season measuring stick for both programs.
“We have to evaluate ourselves and our performance and what we can do better,” Stewart said. “If the outcome is not what we want, we need to fix it before the end of the season comes.”
The game figures to have a festive atmosphere. Texas A&M-Commerce will honor its 2015 Hall of Fame class during the game. A crowd of 7,000 is expected.
“It is great for the school and great for the community,” Stewart said. “But being on the field, I don’t really notice people in the stands. You can hear them cheering, but once the game is going on I am there to play and hopefully be good at it.”
Series history: Texas A&M-Commerce leads 3-2
Last meeting: Texas A&M-Commerce won 45-37 on Sept. 13, 2013 in Dallas
Total Offense: Texas A&M-Commerce, 536; Delta State 475
Total Defense: Texas A&M-Commerce, 256; Delta State 353
Another game to watch:
No. 21 Grand Valley State travels to No. 7 Ohio Dominican
Grand Valley State faces its biggest challenge so far in this young season when it takes on Ohio Dominican at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at Panther Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
“It is a big game because it is the next one we have this season,” said Grand Valley senior defensive end Matt Judon. “We are looking to go 1-0 this week. That is all we are thinking about.”
Judon added that what happened last year will not have any bearing on what occurs on Saturday. A year ago Ohio Dominican traveled to Grand Valley State and overcame a 24-14 deficit entering the fourth quarter. Ohio Dominican scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter for a 28-24 victory.
“We watched that film because that is the most recent film we have of playing them,” Judon said. “We have new people on the field and they have new people on the field. It all comes down to us trying to stop them this year and us trying to score points this year.”
Judon is off to a great start to his season. In last week’s 36-28 victory over Southwest Baptist, Judon recorded 4.5 sacks, which ranks second all-time in a single game for Grand Valley State.
“We played well,” Judon said. “It was the first week and the first time being on the field to play a different program besides ourselves. You never really know until you get out there for the first time. We got the W and that is all we care about in the end. But we had a lot of teaching moments. We have to improve from game to game.”
Other games of note:
Lindenwood (Mo.) at Pittsburg State (Ks), 7 p.m. CT
Bloomsburg (Pa.) at California (Pa.), 1 p.m. ET
Humboldt State (Calif.) at Azusa Pacific (Calif.), 6 p.m. PT
Colorado State University-Pueblo at West Texas A&M, 6 p.m. CT