By BRAD KEITH
KINGSVILLE (October 21, 2017) — Zed Woerner passed for 337 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-34 Tarleton State (5-3, 4-2) victory over Texas A&M-Kingsville (3-5, 2-4) at Javelina Stadium Saturday.
Woerner hit four different receivers with his scoring strikes, none bigger than a 30-yard fade that Jeff Thomas hauled in behind the defense to break a 17-17 third-quarter tie, followed less than four minutes later by a 19-yard beauty that dropped over the shoulder of Baxter Kirvin on a corner route in the end zone to open up a 14-point advantage entering the fourth.
The Texans finished with a season-best 465 total yards of offense, the majority coming from Woerner plus 128 rushing yards. That’s 30 yards more than double the combined 49 yard on 49 carries in losses to Western New Mexico and Eastern New Mexico the two weeks prior.
Jeff Thomas caught nine passes for 117 yards amd Del’Michael High had six years for 93 yard even.
Tarleton can assure itself a winning season with a homecoming victory next Saturday. Western Oregon will be opposite the Texans at Memorial Stadium with opening kickoff slated for 6 p.m.
The teams traded field goals over the first eight minutes of the fourth, then Javelinas got back in it in with a short pass that Nick Pelrean turned into a 37-yard touchdown to cut it to 34-27 with just under five minutes remaining. Pelean also had 171 yards on the ground.
Bur the Tarleton offense had its newfound confidence up front and an answer in the form of Daniel McCants.
The Javelinas went upstairs wth a pass from Dyal to Nico Brown for The final points , pulling within seven Again with 2:38 remaining. But with only one timeout left, athey were forced to try an onside kick. High caught it cleanly off a hop for Tarleton and ran out of bounds before Woerner came on to run out the clock.
Dyal, a freshman, had his moments against the Texans, but it was rough overall – 17-32 pass for 195 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions while also losing a fumble on an early strip sack by Tarleton linebacker Marquix Lomax. The interceptions were by linebacker Azzizullah Faffita, versatile nickelback Jackson Burrell and cornerback Devin Hafford.
A&M-tied the score at 17-17 on a 68-yard interception return by Devontay Williams, one of two picks thrown by Woerner. It was a swing pass to the left as Tarleton looked to use the Javs’ pass rush against them but Williams was right there when a high delivery from Woerner went off the finger tips of Xavier Turner.
McCants and Turner each had success out of the backfield, the dominutive but speedy McCants rushing for 68 yards on 10 carries, and the more powerful Turner gaining 60 on 12 attempts.
Jacob Kaspar scored his second TD in as many weeks when he went to his knees to snare a low delivery from Woerner in the front corner of the end zone to break 7-7 tie early in the second, and Sergio Sroka stretched it to 17-7 with a 43-yard field goal that Had just enough leg to barely the cross bar.
A&M-Kingsville pulled within a TD on a 28-yard field goal by Julio De La Garza with 1:35 left in the half, and the Texans seemed content with the 17-10 lead despite having an opportunty to add add at least a goal themselves.
McCants brought a short kickoff back to near the 40, and runs by Woerner and Turner pushed the across midfield. Woerner was signaling as if he wanted to alike the ball, ended waiting for a play call incomete to Thomas with only five seconds mef and an umused timeout on the board. Kirin caught a pass over the middle and was tackled just inside the A&M-Kingsville red zone when it looked like he wanted to lateral to Turner.
The teams exchanged punts to begin the game, and Tarleton struck first following the strip max by Lomax and fumble recovery by David Solomon. Woerner converted a fourth-and-one with a 2-yard keeper, and three plays later his third-down pass went through the arms of a Javelina defender and right to Cornellius Carrington in the back of the end zone.
A&M-Kingsville answered with Perlean breaking contain and sprinting away down the Javelina sideline, setting off the first loud cheers from the homecoming crowd of 9,529 and tying the score at 7-7.