Dominant defense, ground attack lead No. 8 Tarleton to ninth straight win

Tarleton hosts WNMU next Saturday at 2 p.m. looking to secure outright LSC title


STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton dominated on both sides of the ball Saturday afternoon and improved to 9-0 with a 59-3 drubbing of Lincoln (Mo.) at Memorial Stadium.

It was a game reminiscent of pre-air raid football as the Tarleton defense and rushing game was on prime display in front of the Texan faithful. Tarleton came up eight rushing yards short of the school record for ground yards in a game. The Texans ran for a season-high 398 yards on 63 carries and had three players with over 100 yards – Xavier Turner (128), Adam Berryman (114), and Daniel McCants (107). Turner and Berryman each found the end zone three times while McCants scored once.


With the season-high rushing performance, Tarleton did set a new program standard for rushing yards in a season – topping the previous record of 2,361 yards by the 1989 team.

Meanwhile, the defense was enjoying the best performance by a Tarleton unit in the last decade.

Led by 11.0 tackles for a loss by 11 different Texans, Tarleton held Lincoln to a mere 50 yards of total offense – including just 15 on the ground. It’s the fewest yards allowed and the first time Tarleton has held an opponent under 100 yards of offense since holding East Central to 86 yards on Sept. 12, 2009.

Gary Moore and Jordan Phillips led the team with six tackles each while Tre Johnson and E.J. Speed had five each. Johnson, Phillips, Tyrell Thompson, and David Fangupo each had 1.5 tackles for a loss in the game.

Turner got the scoring started with a 35-yard touchdown run in the first quarter that was followed up by a 35-yard touchdown pass from Ben Holmes to J.F. Thomas for a 14-0 lead after one. Tarleton put points up four more times in the second on two touchdown runs from Berryman, a 41-yard scamper from Turner, and a 24-yard field goal by Joanly Martinez to send Tarleton into halftime with a 38-0 lead.

Turner and Berryman each pulled off the hat trick a third-quarter touchdown run before McCants put Tarleton’s final points on the board with a seven-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Lincoln’s only points of the afternoon came on a chip-shot field goal after blocking a punt to set them up inside the Tarleton 10-yard line with just under six minutes left to play.

Holmes was 12-19 passing for Tarleton for 135 yards through the air. J.F. Thomas (43), Baxter Kirven (42), and Camron Lewis (24) each had a team-high three receptions. Meanwhile, defensively, Devin Hafford had an interception and Bowie Franks blocked a punt.

Tarleton will be back home next Saturday, November 10, to close out the regular season against Western New Mexico at 2 p.m. The Texans can win the outright Lone Star Conference championship for the first time since 2001 with a win over the Mustangs next weekend. Tarleton has had shared league titles in 2009 and 2013, along with divisional titles in 2002, 2003, and 2006.

There will be free tours of the Memorial Stadium renovation project prior to next week’s game. Free tours take place 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10. Signs will direct fans to the tours on the west side of the stadium. Tour guides will assist. Elevators will not be available.

The Flash Today photos by Dr. Chet Martin and Russell Huffman

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