The 2008 season looked to be the year that Texas A&M-Commerce finally made a big step forward and challenge for a playoff spot. Their best offensive players - QB Terry Mayo and RB Nabil El-Amin - were both returning along with promising transfer WR Willie Thornton. The defense lost a few starters, but many of their returning players had quite a bit of playing experience.
Unfortunately for the Lions, they finished up at 5-5, and have not had a season over the .500 mark since 2001.
The main problem that continuously haunted the Commerce offense was their offensive line. They never seemed to be able to control the line of scrimmage and that ended up clogging the TAMC offense for most of the season. C Darron Sheppard and LT RJ Brisbon were very good, but the line as a whole just couldn't get it together. Their defense, as usual, was pretty good but not good enough to carry the inconsistent offense.
There were some high points - A tough win over Angelo State, a huge comeback against NSU, and a win in the Cotton Bowl. But there were also rough stretches along the way. The loss to UCO (without Mayo or El-Amin) really crushed their hopes for this season, not scoring from 1st and goal inside the 5 in the final minute and losing to SOSU was devastating, and the 200+ penalty yards against ECU were shocking.
Next season will be an interesting season in Commerce with so many of their main players leaving. A big recruiting season is vital to TAMC's future success.
2008 Season Stats (LSC Ranking)
#10 Scoring Offense
#8 Rushing Offense
#13 First Downs
#11 Third Down Conversion (26%)
#11 Penalties (88 ypg)
#5 Scoring Defense
#2 Forced Interceptions
#3 Turnover Margin
#1 Red Zone Defense
OL Darron Sheppard - Two-time first team All LSC-North
RB Nabil El-Amin - #4 Rushing (80 ypg), #4 Total Yards Per Game (124.1)
WR Willie Thornton - #3 Receiving Yards Per Game (92.3), #6 Scoring (10 TD's) - 1st LSC North, WR of the Year
LB Andrew Gamboa - #2 Tackles (10.4 pg), #1 Fumbles Recovered (5) - 1st LSC North
QB Terry Mayo - #9 Passing Yards (184 ypg), #9 Pass Efficiency, #6 Total Offense (197 ypg), 2nd LSC North
DL Ricky Hope - #1 Sacks (10.5 - All-Time TAMC Record), #1 Forced Fumbles (6), 1st LSC North, DL of the Year
DL Luke Higgins - #4 Sacks (6.5)
Scoop Pre-Season Predictions:
Best Case Scenario - 8-2:
"...Outside of those games (Northwestern and ACU), the Lions should be favored in every other game they play. Actually running the board will be tough though..."
Worst Case Scenario - 5-5:
"...The only negative facing the Lions at this point appears to be their O-Line. If it becomes a major problem and Mayo can't stay on his feet, the entire offense will crumble. Their schedule is fairly easy this year, so even with a bad squad, .500 looks to be about as bad as it can get."
2008 Final Record - 5-5