COMMERCE, Texas — For the fourth consecutive week, the Eastern New Mexico University football team saved its best for last.
Down 21-7 late in the third quarter, the Greyhounds stormed back with 24 points in the final 16 minutes to defeat Texas A&M-Commerce 31-21 Saturday in a Lone Star Conference South Division matchup.
Redshirt freshman J.J. Jennings scored on a game-tying 73-yard run with 12:28 left, then senior quarterback Steven Hinson capped a 64-yard drive with a 2-yard sneak for his second TD of the second half with 5:12 left.
Sophomore Lee Price put the game out of reach for the Hounds (5-3, 4-0 South) by kicking a 30-yard field goal with 50 seconds left. ENMU has trailed by at least seven points at halftime or later in each of its four division contests.
Eastern faces the South’s other unbeatens going into this weekend over the next two weeks, hosting third-ranked Texas A&M-Kingsville on Saturday and traveling to Midwestern State on Oct. 30 to wrap up division play. MSU (5-1, 3-0) played Saturday night at Kingsville (5-0, 2-0).
Commerce (2-5, 0-3) opened a 21-7 lead when running back Tony Frazier capped the Lions’ first two drives of the second half with touchdowns — the first on a 13-yard pass from quarterback Buster Faulkner and the second on a 10-yard run over right guard.
On their next possession, though, Faulkner tried to throw a screen pass under pressure and ENMU defensive end Larry Roybal picked it off, returning it 3 yards to the Commerce 7. Three plays later, in the final minute of the quarter, Hinson went in from 2 yards out to make it 21-14.
Commerce then drove into field goal range, but ENMU senior free safety Ty Touchstone — who blocked a potential game-winning field goal last week against West Texas A&M — swatted down kicker Ha’a Bento’s attempt from 46 yards out. On the next play, Jennings broke inside and raced the distance to tie the score.
After the Hounds held Commerce on downs at the ENMU 36, Hinson led an eight-play march for the go-ahead score. Eastern then held on downs again, this time at the Commerce 32 with 3:05 left, and six plays later Price booted the clinching field goal.
Jennings finished with a season-best 124 yards on 13 carries for Eastern, while Hinson rushed for 77 yards and completed 10-of-16 passes for 79.
Faulkner, who had thrown only two interceptions in six games, threw two in this one — Touchstone had the other pick. He finished 26-of-38 for 300 yardse.
Defensive back Will Smith led the ENMU defense with 12 tackles, including four solos.
ENMU 31, Texas A&M-Commerce 21
ENMU 0 7 7 17 — 31
A&M-Commerce 7 0 14 21 — 21
AM-C — Roger Daley 4-yard run (Ha’a Bento kick), 9:41
ENM — Jason Tezeno 9-yard run (Lee Price kick), 4:49
AM-C — Tony Frazier 13-yard pass from Buster Faulkner (Bento kick), 10:18
AM-C — Frazier 10-yard run (Bento kick), 5:32
ENM — Steven Hinson 2-yard run (Price kick), :13
ENM — J.J. Jennings 73-yard run (Price kick), 12:28
ENM — Hinson 6-yard run (Price kick), 5:12
ENM — Price 30-yard FG, :50
A — 3,001.
First downs 16 18
Rushes-yards 50-242 26-93
Passing yards 79 300
Total yards 321 393
Comp-att-int 10-16-0 26-39-2
Punting 6-43.2 3-50.3
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-0
Penalties-yards 5-31 3-21
RUSHING — Eastern New Mexico, Jennings 13-124, Hinson 20-77, Tezeno 10-27; Robert Garza 4-17, Christian Coronado 2-minus 3, team 1-0. Texas A&M-Commerce, Frazier 9-62, Daley 9-38, Kerwin Jennings 3-3, Gideon Leonard 1-0, Faulkner 4-minus 10.
PASSING — Eastern New Mexico, Hinson 10-16-0-79. Texas A&M-Commerce, Faulkner 26-38-2-300, team 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Eastern New Mexico, Coronado 5-31, Derrick Hunter 2-32, Art Tennison 1-6, Lee Price 1-5, Tezeno 1-5. Texas A&M-Commerce, Victor Bennett 8-127, Cedric Patt 5-28, Jarrod Webb 4-22, Toussaint Henderson 3-40, Meldrick Grice 2-22, Frazier 2-16, Johnny Rogers 1-37, K. Jennings 1-8.