STEPHENVILLE – For the first time since 2013, Tarleton Football is 5-0 to start the season.
The No. 21-ranked Texans ran right past Eastern New Mexico en route to a 48-28 victory on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. It’s also the best start for head coach Todd Whitten while at Tarleton.
Tarleton (5-0, 4-0) led 24-0 at halftime and its largest lead was 31-0. The Texans posted 552 yards of offense (277 passing, 275 rushing) and held Eastern New Mexico to 329 yards. The Texans are outscoring opponents 45-18 through five games.
J.F. Thomas had the longest play of the game, a 64-yard touchdown pass from Ben Holmes for the game’s first points in the final minutes of the first quarter. Thomas finished with a career-high 122 yards on just two catches to go with his touchdown.
The run game took over for the Texans in the second quarter and it started with Xavier Turner. On the opening drive of the second quarter, Turner ran four times for 54 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0 Tarleton. Turner posted his first 100-yard game of the season, totaling a game-high 115 yards on 15 carries and a score.
On the ensuing drive, Adam Berryman capped off a nine-play, 72-yard possession with a 1-yard touchdown run and a 21-0 first-half lead. Joanly Martinez would give the Texans a 24-0 advantage with a 22-yard field goal in the final minutes of the half. The Texans posted 342 yards of offense in the first half and held Eastern New Mexico to just 68 yards.
Even though the Texan defense held the Greyhounds scoreless in the first half, they didn’t have a turnover to claim. That was until the first play of the second half, when Gary Moore forced a fumble and Prince Robinson scooped the ball up and returned it eight yards for a 31-0 Tarleton lead.
Leading 34-14 after a Martinez 20-yard field goal, Camron Lewis caught a 17-yard pass from Holmes to give the Texans 40-plus points for the fourth time this season. Lewis had four catches for 31 yards.
Berryman had the final Tarleton points on the night when he caught a short pass and broke six tackles for what was originally a short gain and turned it into a 25-yard touchdown pass. Berryman finished with 66 total yards and two touchdowns.
Quarterback Ben Holmes had another efficient game, throwing for 277 yards on 15-of-22 passing and three touchdowns with no turnovers. He also ran for 56 yards on the night.
The Texan defense was led by Ronnell Wilson and Jai Edwards who each posted 10 tackles. ChadWick Thibodeaux added nine tackles and EJ Speed recorded eight. The Texans had seven tackles for a loss, led by Robinson with two of his six tackles coming behind the line of scrimmage.
Tarleton will have its biggest test yet next week as they travel to No. 9 Texas A&M-Commerce on Saturday, October 13 with a 4 p.m. kickoff.
Photos By Dr. Chet Martin