Texans move to No. 8 in AFCA national poll to set up program’s first NCAA Top 10 showdown


STEPHENVILLE – For the first time in Tarleton’s NCAA history, the Tarleton Texans will square off in a national top-10 showdown.

Tarleton moved up one spot to No. 8 in the latest national poll released by the American Football Coaches Association and will visit Wichita Falls Saturday at 7 p.m. for a primetime showdown with No. 10 MSU Texas, formerly Midwestern State. It will be the first game between a top-10 Tarleton team and a top-10 opponent since Tarleton joined the NCAA in 1994.

With a win, Tarleton would secure a guaranteed share of the Lone Star Conference Championship with one league game left to play. It would also tie the program’s second-longest unbeaten start to a season and bring the program’s all-time record back to .500 (480-480-33).

Tarleton is coming off its seventh consecutive victory last weekend when the Texans trounced Texas A&M-Kingsville 59-21 for a homecoming win at Memorial Stadium. Senior Xavier Turner tied a school record against the Javelinas by rushing for four touchdowns. Turner needed only 10 carries to rack up 164 rushing yards and his four scores.

This marks the fifth different season that Tarleton has been ranked under head coach Todd Whitten. The ninth-year leader of the Texans led Tarleton to its first national ranking in 2001 and took them as high as No. 6 in the nation during the 2002 season. This is the 91st week in Tarleton’s NCAA history the Texans have been ranked, including the five straight this year. It is the 15th week in program history that Tarleton has been a national top-10 team, 10 of which have now come under Whitten’s guidance.

Tarleton will square off with the Mustangs Saturday at 7 p.m. at Wichita Falls Memorial Stadium

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