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SVSU earns 20-17 OT win at TAMU-Commerce

Photo Credit: TAMU-Commerce Athletics
Photo Credit: TAMU-Commerce Athletics

COMMERCE, Texas – Despite being held to 127 total yards of offense, the Saginaw Valley State University football team was able to battle through and escape Texas A&M-Commerce with a big road win in overtime on Saturday.

The Cardinal defense stood tall for the majority of the contest, adding an interception returned for a score in the second half, as SVSU built a 14-3 lead. The Lions scored 10-unanswered points in the fourth quarter, tying the game as regulation ended on a field goal.

After Commerce took its first lead of the game on a field goal in overtime, Tommy Scott found a hole and cashed in from six yards out to give SVSU the 20-17 win.

The victory moves SVSU to 3-3 overall this season as the team prepares to return to Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play next week.

First Quarter:

After forcing the Lions to punt from their own end zone, SVSU got the ball deep in Commerce territory. The Cardinals capitalized, going 26 yards on five plays, capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Colby Newburg midway through the first quarter, giving SVSU a 7-0 lead.

Punting from his own 20-yard line, three-time GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week Connor Luksic unleashed a 70-yard punt to flip the field late in the first.

Second Quarter:

Commerce got on the board with a 39-yard field goal with seven minutes left in the first half. The drive went 44 yards on seven plays.

Third quarter:

The score remained 7-3 in favor of the Cardinals until midway through the third when Nick Whiteside picked off a pass for SVSU and sprinted 74 yards the other way to make it 14-3.

Fourth Quarter:

The Lions got right back in the game early in the fourth with a touchdown pass from Miklo Smalls to Chance Cooper from 29 yards out. The SVSU lead was trimmed to 14-11 after Commerce converted a two-point conversion.

Looking to go in front, Commerce turned the ball over at the SVSU two-yard line with 5:29 left when Smalls tripped on an attempted handoff and Michael Woolridge pounced on the loose ball for the Cardinals.

With the clock winding down, Commerce got one more chance and hit a 31-yard field goal as time expired to tie the score at 14-14 and send the game to overtime.


Playing in its second overtime game of the season, SVSU held Commerce to a field goal to open the extra session. The Cardinals kept the ball on the ground and Scott, the Meijer Player of the Game, ended the contest with his six-yard touchdown run.

Inside the Box Score:

  • Commerce outgained SVSU 278-127
  • SVSU was 3-10 passing for 24 yards
  • Scott finished with 20 carries for 71 yards and one TD
  • Newburg had 5 carries for 29 yards and a score
  • Chad Gailliard two catches for 19 yards
  • Connor Luksic with 6 punts, averaging 48.2 per attempt, including a 70-yarder
  • Victor Abraham with nine tackles and one sack
  • Javarree Jackson with nine tackles and one sack
  • Whiteside had seven tackles, one INT returned 74 yards for a TD, and one pass breakup
  • Michael Woolridge with eight tackles and one fumble recovery

From Head Coach Ryan Brady:

First, this was a huge team win against a national powerhouse. To win on the road in the heart of Texas against an elite DII program is what it's all about! Commerce was ranked in the top five in the preseason and is moving up to Division I FCS next year. To come down here and win in the 90-plus degree heat says an awful lot about what is going on in our program right now. This is the biggest win for SVSU Football since beating Valdosta State in 2012.  

I am so happy, proud, and excited for our players and coaches. This was a total team win. Credit our kids for believing and trusting the process. We have built up some scar tissue. This group of young men is so resilient and I just love the way they continue to respond, work, and compete with their backs against the wall.  
Before the game. We talked about believing. To believe with all your heart. To believe in each other with all your heart. To believe that we will find a way together. To believe that when adversity strikes, we strike back! To believe that if each man leaves everything he has on the field, that we will Earn It as a team. To believe that it is our time to finish.  
Our defense played their hearts out again today. They answered the bell all night long. I am really proud of Marvin White. His leadership has been outstanding all year long and he displayed exemplary leadership today and throughout this road trip. He truly is the heart and soul of our defense and team.  
Offensively, we had to just try and hang in there. We had three young quarterbacks that we rotated in throughout the game. All were seeing their first college action against a really tough and athletic defensive unit. I thought they all did a nice job of managing the game and protecting the football. In addition, our OL & TEs played their butts off. Proud of their efforts and the way they competed. Our three backs all ran hard and made a big contribution. I thought our special teams units did a good job today minus a play two. Connor and Ryan kicked the ball really well overall and we won the field position and hidden yardage battle today. That was critical with the gusting winds we were facing.  
Overall, a great team win. We played a lot of bodies on both sides of the ball. We continue to operate with a Next Play and Next Man Up Mentality.

Finally, I would just like to thank everyone back home at SVSU for everything they do to help our kids and program. Literally, every department on campus has been incredible to us and my staff and I are extremely grateful for all of your efforts. Everyone should feel a part of this Win. We couldn't do it without all of you.  Thank you, everyone!  It's a great day to be a Cardinal. Earn It.