No. 6 Texans blast No. 24 Azusa Pacific in NCAA Playoff opener, prepare for rematch with A&M-Commerce

STEPHENVILLE – In the first home NCAA Playoff game in school history, No. 6 Tarleton dominated No. 24 Azusa Pacific with a 58-0 rout at Memorial Stadium.

Tarleton, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, moves on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and will host No. 6-seed Texas A&M-Commerce on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 1 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Details regarding ticket sales will be announced Monday. Reserved season ticket holders have until Tuesday at 5 p.m. to call 254-968-1832 to claim their seats.

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Tarleton improves to 11-0 on the season while outscoring opponents 49-15 this season. It ties the school record for best start to a season and longest winning streak in program history.

It’s the first NCAA playoff win for the Texans since the 2009 season. The Texans established several new NCAA Playoff school records, including points, points allowed, and total yards with 579 (335 rushing, 224 passing). Xavier Turner set a new NCAA Playoff school record with 206 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the win. Turner now has 21 touchdowns on the season, good for second-most in a season in school history. The senior back also has 1,306 yards, which rank third in a single season.

The Texans led 16-0 after the first quarter when J.F. Thomas hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Ben Holmes for the game’s first score and Turner followed with a 3-yard touchdown run. Joanly Martinez added a 24-yard field goal in the opening quarter.

A 21-point second quarter put the game away in a hurry for the Texans. Turner and D’Anthony Hopkins had touchdown runs of 1 and 2 yards while Holmes teamed up with Zimari Manning for a 22-yard score. Holmes finished the game 13-of-17 passing for 224 yards and three touchdowns. The Texans led 37-0 at the break.

Manning hauled in his second touchdown of the game to open the second half, this time a 36-yard reception from Holmes to go up 44-0. Manning finished with a game-high 113 receiving yards on five receptions and two scores. Manning has 11 touchdowns this season, which rank fourth in school history.

Turner put the exclamation point on the victory with a 61-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter to put the Texans over the 50-point mark for the third straight week and fifth time this season. Adam Berryman added a 1-yard touchdown run late in the fourth for the game’s final points.

After not posting a shutout since 2006, the Texan defense now has back-to-back shutouts to their credit. It’s the first time since 1964 that Tarleton has posted two straight shutouts. Prince Robinson led the Texans with eight tackles, an interception and a forced fumble. The Texans forced four turnovers, including three fumbles. Gary Moore, Jordan Phillips, and Cornelius Carrington all recovered fumbles. EJ Speed and Tyrell Thompson had the only sacks in the game for the Texans.

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