MANKATO — Texas A&M-Commerce pulled off its third upset in three weeks with a 31-21 victory over previously unbeaten Minnesota State Mankato in the NCAA Division II quarterfinals on Saturday.
The Lions (12-1), who won at Winona State in the first round two weeks ago and then rallied from a 21-point deficit to defeat unbeaten Central Washington on the road last week, advance to the semifinals for the first time.
The Lions led 10-7 after the first quarter, but the Mavericks took an 18-13 lead at halftime.
Buck Wilson's 80-yard punt return for a touchdown and Carandal Hale's run for a two-point conversion early in the third quarter put the Lions ahead 21-18.
The Mavericks tied the score 21-21 on a 40-yard field goal by Casey Bednarski with 13:09 left in the fourth quarter.
Reggie Kincade returned the ensuing kickoff 59 yards to give the Lions possession at the Mavericks 39-yard line. The Lions settled for a 48-yard field goal to take a 24-21 lead with 11:29 remaining.
After stopping the Mavericks (13-1) on downs on their next possession, the Lions went 67 yards in seven plays — capped by a 30-yard TD pass from Luis Perez to Marquis Wimberly — to take a 31-21 lead with 6:47 remaining.
The Mavericks had the ball twice in the final seven minutes with drives ending in a missed field goal and an interception.
Nate Gunn rushed for 139 yards for the Mavericks and Ty Dennis caught two TD passes. Gunn established a single-season program record with 1,550 rushing yards.