STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton Football dominated the first half and coasted to a 35-13 win over UT Permian Basin on Saturday at Memorial Stadium for Family Weekend.
The Texans improved to 3-0 overall and a Lone Star Conference-leading 2-0 league record. It’s the first time since 2013 that the Texans are 3-0 to start a season. Through three games, the Texans are outscoring opponents 41-11 per game.
The Texans controlled both sides of the ball, compiling 580 yards of total offense – including 384 yards on the ground – while holding the Falcons to 228 yards.
UT Permian Basin (0-4, 0-2) took advantage of an early Tarleton interception and led 6-0 on a rushing touchdown.
On the ensuing drive, Daniel McCants, last week’s LSC Special Teams Player of the Week, made his case for offensive player of the week honors as the junior running back broke free on a 24-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 6-6. It was the start of a career game for McCants, who finished with 162 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Tarleton would go on to score 19 first-quarter points, with quarterback Ben Holmes connecting with J.F. Thomas for a 34-yard strike in the corner of the end zone that gave the Texans a 12-6 lead. Thomas posted 46 yards on three catches in the game. The Falcons would go back on top once more at 13-12, but it was the last lead of the night for the visitors from Odessa.
Later in the first quarter, Holmes found Zimari Manning in stride for a 17-yard touchdown pass and a 19-13 lead. Holmes finished the game 17-of-23 passing for 196 yards and three touchdowns. The senior also added a career-high 75 rushing yards.
On Tarleton’s first drive of the second quarter, it was McCants once again putting the Texan offense on his back. McCants ran for 51 yards on the drive and capped it off with an 18-yard touchdown run that gave the Texans a 25-13 lead.
McCants wasn’t the only reining LSC weekly award winner to continue a hot streak. Prince Robinson, who was named the LSC Defensive Player of the Week, picked up where he left off with his fourth interception of the season in the second quarter. Robinson’s four interceptions are more than any Texan had all last season.
With just over four minutes to go in the first half, Holmes only needed one play to put the Texans back on the scoreboard and he went to Manning once again. The duo connected on a 31-yard touchdown for a 32-13 Texan lead. Manning led all players with 95 yards on five receptions to go with two touchdowns – his second multi-touchdown game of the season.
The Texans would go on to shut out the Falcons in the final three quarters while adding a 29-yard field goal by Joanly Martinez in the third quarter for the game’s only points in the second half.
In addition to McCants and Holmes’ big games on the ground, D’Anthony Hopkins added 72 rushing yards on 16 carries, Adam Berryman went for 53 yards on just five carries and Xavier Turner ran for 25 yards on six runs.
Jai Edwards led the Texan defense with nine tackles and two pass breakups. The Texans posted 12 tackles for loss, with Chris Radford topping all defenders with three tackles for loss and two sacks. Tyrell Thompson, Gary Moore and David Fangupo also recorded a sack in the game.
The Texans will travel to San Angelo to take on Angelo State on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m.
Photos by Dr. Chet Martin
Photos by Russell Huffman