The rematch between Lone Star Conference rivals Tarleton and Texas A&M-Commerce is on and it is bringing some firepower. No. 6 Tarleton will play host to the defending national champion Lions Saturday at 1 p.m. in the second round of the NCAA playoffs. Tarleton enters the game with a record of 11-0 as the No. 2 seed in Super Region 4 while the Lions are 10-2 as the No. 6 seed in the region. Tarleton defeated Azusa Pacific 58-0 last weekend in Stephenville while Commerce upset No. 3-seed Minnesota-Duluth.
Tarleton Football remains among the top 10 football programs in the nation according to the latest American Football Coaches Association poll. The Texans entered the postseason ranked No. 6 in the nation, which ties the all-time high in Tarleton’s NCAA history. The Texans will square off with No. 15-ranked Texas A&M-Commerce in a national top-15 showdown.
ABOUT THE TEXANS
Tarleton is in the midst of arguably the greatest season in program history as the Texans have already tied the school record for wins in a season (11; 1990) and have outscored the last three opponents 175-3, including back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1964. The Texans rank among the top 10 in the nation in both scoring offense (49.2) and scoring defense (15.7), as well as No. 3 in the nation in rushing offense (319.3) and No. 9 in rushing defense (87.9). Xavier Turner is enjoying one of the finest rushing seasons in program history as he has already helped Tarleton set a single-season rushing record with 3,512 rushing yards. Turner has rushed for 1,306 yards and 18 touchdowns to become the sixth player in Tarleton history with 1,000 rushing yards in a season. Daniel McCants is not far behind with 943 rushing yards. The Texan duo looks to become the first teammates in Tarleton history to rush for over 1,000 yards each in a single season.
ABOUT THE LIONS
Commerce entered the NCAA playoffs as the defending national champions and the sixth seed in Super Region 4. The Lions picked up where they left off last year as Commerce traveled to Minnesota-Duluth and handed the unbeaten Bulldogs their first loss of the season last week 33-17. The Lions are averaging 33.1 points per game and 371.3 total yards of offense while holding opponents to 19.1 points on defense. QB Kane Wilson has stabilized the Lion offense with 1,849 yards passing and 12 touchdowns, all over the last nine games. Brucks Saathoff leads the defense with 87 tackles, including 12.0 for a loss while Dominique Ramsey has proven to be a dangerous return man with 447 punt return yards and two scores, including one last week in the playoff opener. Reggie Kincade handles the kickoff returns and has taken 17 kickoffs back for 594 yards and two scores this season.
Saturday will be the 28th all-time meeting between Tarleton and Texas A&M-Commerce, formerly East Texas State, dating back to 1970. The Lions hold a 15-12 edge in the all-time series. Tarleton won 11 of its victories against Commerce over a 12-game span from 1997 to 2012 and found the win column again earlier this season in the regular season matchup in Commerce.
Because this is an NCAA-hosted event, local rules regarding field access, local media credentials, and free student admission cannot be honored. However, Tarleton Athletics has purchased 1,000 tickets for the students. Students can stop by the Rudder Way Ticket Office to pick up a free ticket.
A complete broadcast of the game can be heard on the Tarleton Sports Network presented by the North Texas Ford Dealers. The Tarleton Sports Network team of Byron Anderson, Kyle Masters, Savion Washington, and J.P. Stingley have the call on the flagship station of Tarleton Athletics – KTRL 90.5 FM in Stephenville – and worldwide at TarletonSports.com/ListenLive. Links to live stats and a video stream of the game can be found on the Tarleton Football schedule, the Game Day preview story, and on the @TarletonSports social media channels. The live video stream is free of charge, courtesy of the Tarleton Sports Network.
Reserved tickets can be purchased prior to the game for $12 at the Tarleton Athletics Ticket Office or online at TarletonSports.com/Tickets. Any remaining reserved tickets will be available on game day for $15 at the gate. General admission tickets are $10 for adult and $5 for student. Only children five and under get in free. Since this is an NCAA-hosted playoff event, the local rules regarding free admission for Tarleton students cannot be put into effect. However, the Tarleton Athletics department has purchased 1,000 free tickets for students. Those can be collected at the Rudder Way Ticket Booth, formerly the Tarleton Police Station, any time this week while supplies last. Students must present a valid ID. One ticket per student.
UP NEXT FOR TARLETON
With a win, Tarleton would advance to the national quarterfinals against the winner of Minnesota State-Mankato and Colorado State-Pueblo. If Mankato wins as well, the Texans would travel north for the game next weekend. If Pueblo pulls off the upset of the region’s top team, then Tarleton would host the Thunderwolves at Memorial Stadium next weekend. For more information, follow @TarletonSports on Twitter.