No. 6 Texans host No. 24 Azusa Pacific in program’s first NCAA-era playoff home game Saturday

THE GAME
Tarleton is back in the NCAA national playoffs for the first time since 2009 and the fourth time in program history, but Saturday marks a first for the Texan program as the proud defenders of the purple and white will take the field in Stephenville as a playoff host. The Texans earned the No. 2 seed in Super Region 4 and earned the right to host No. 7 seed Azusa Pacific Saturday at 1 p.m. in the opening round.

TARLETON GAME DAY SHOW IN TEXAN ALLEY
The Tarleton Sports Network presented by North Texas Ford Dealers will host its first-ever Tarleton Game Day Show presented by Barefoot Campus Outfitter. The tailgate show will take place this Saturday, November 17 at 11:30 a.m. in Texan Alley before the Tarleton Football playoff game at Memorial Stadium. The Voice of Tarleton Athletics, Byron Anderson, will host the one-hour show along with Casey Hogan and feature a number of different guests from Tarleton State University to get Texan fans ready for the first-ever NCAA home playoff football game from Tarleton Memorial Stadium. Fans can listen online at TarletonSports.com/ListenLive or on KTRL 90.5 FM. During the show, fans will be encouraged to make their own spirit signs at the TexStar Ford Lincoln sign station. At the end of the show, three finalists will be chosen to bring their signs onstage for a fan vote to determine the first, second, and third place spirit signs. The first-place winner will receive a 50-inch TV courtesy of Gifford’s Electronics, second place will receive a bluetooth speaker and third place bluetooth headphones. The Pizza Place will provide food for the event and Barefoot Campus Outfitter will have t-shirts and other prizes to give out to fans during the show.

NCAA LIMITATIONS
Because this is an NCAA-hosted event, local rules regarding field access, local media credentials, and free student admission cannot be honored. However, Tarleton Athletics has purchased 1,000 tickets for the students. Students can stop by the Rudder Way Ticket Office to pick up a free ticket.

GAME COVERAGE
A complete broadcast of the game can be heard on the Tarleton Sports Network presented by the North Texas Ford Dealers. The Tarleton Sports Network team of Byron Anderson, Kyle Masters, Keltin Wiens, and J.P. Stingley have the call on the flagship station of Tarleton Athletics – KTRL 90.5 FM in Stephenville – and worldwide at TarletonSports.com/ListenLive. Links to live stats and a video stream of the game can be found on the Tarleton Football schedule, the Game Day preview story, and on the @TarletonSports social media channels. The live video stream is free of charge, courtesy of the Tarleton Sports Network.

TICKET INFORMATION
Reserved tickets can be purchased prior to the game for $12 at the Tarleton Athletics Ticket Office or online at TarletonSports.com/Tickets. Any remaining reserved tickets will be available on game day for $15 at the gate. General admission tickets are $10 for adult and $5 for student. Only children five and under get in free. Since this is an NCAA-hosted playoff event, the local rules regarding free admission for Tarleton students cannot be put into effect. However, the Tarleton Athletics department has purchased 1,000 free tickets for students. Those can be collected at the Rudder Way Ticket Booth, formerly the Tarleton Police Station, any time this week while supplies last. Students must present a valid ID. One ticket per student.

NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT
Tarleton Football remains among the top 10 football programs in the nation according to the latest American Football Coaches Association poll. The Texans moved up one spot to No. 6 in the nation, which ties the all-time high in Tarleton’s NCAA history. The Texans will square off with No. 24-ranked Azusa Pacific in a national top-25 showdown.

ABOUT THE TEXANS
With its first shutout since 2006, Tarleton secured the first outright Lone Star Conference Championship in program history last Saturday, in addition to recording its first undefeated regular season in the NCAA era. Tarleton, who was picked to finish fifth in the LSC Preseason poll, are one win away from tying the longest winning streak in school history and the most wins in a season in school history (11). Led by the record-setting ground game, Tarleton is ranked No. 3 in the nation in rushing offense (315.7) and scoring offense (48.3). Xavier Turner is the program’s sixth 1,000-yard rusher in school history with 1,100 yards on 154 carries. His 18 rushing touchdowns are the second-most in a single season at Tarleton only to Derrick Ross’ 2004 mark of 22 touchdowns. Defesively, the Texans are led by E.J. Speed with 73 tackles and 10.0 for a loss. Prince Robinson, who is a two-time LSC Player of the Week, is No. 8 in the nation in passes defended.

ABOUT THE COUGARS
Azusa Pacific is a relatively new NCAA Division II program that competes in the Great Northwest American Conference. The Cougars play their home games in Azusa, California, which is about 20 miles east of Los Angeles. Azusa Pacific is averaging 30.0 points per game this season and boast an 8-3 record, including a 7-1 mark in GNAC play. They have three rushers with over 350 yards on the ground, led by Bryce Grandison with 532 yards and six touchdowns. QB Tyrone Williams Jr. is a dual-threat option under center with 2,463 yards passing and 23 touchdowns while rushing for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Defensively, the Cougars allow 23.5 points per game and are led by Aaron Berry with 93 total tackles including 16.0 for a loss.

SERIES HISTORY
This is the first-ever meeting between the Texans and Cougars.

UP NEXT FOR TARLETON
With a win, Tarleton would host another playoff game next Saturday afternoon against the winner of No. 3-seed Minnesota-Duluth and No. 6-seed Texas A&M-Commerce. The tentative game time would be 1 p.m.

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