STEPHENVILLE – No. 4 Tarleton showed why they lead the nation in offense and are a top-ranked defense in the Lone Star Conference opener against West Texas A&M.
The Texans used a 51-0 halftime lead to coast to a 58-28 rout over the Buffs on Saturday at the Lonn Reisman Athletic Center at Memorial Stadium. The Texans outgained the Buffs 313-12 in total yards in the first half. For the game, the Texans had 420 yards to WT’s 117 yards.
The Texans improved to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the LSC in front of a school-record crowd of 10,691 fans. With the win, head coach Todd Whitten tied legendary coach W.J. Wisdom’s record of 71 victories for the most win in school history.
The win also gave the Texans 10 straight home victories – which is the fourth longest streak in NCAA Division II. It’s the 13th straight regular season victory dating back to last season.
Behind a 25-point first quarter and a 26-point second quarter, the game was never close. Daniel McCants had the game’s first touchdown on a 36-yard run for a 10-0 lead. McCants finished with 106 yards on 14 carries, all in the first half. It’s the second 100-yard game for McCants this season, who now leads the Texans with 296 yards and three scores on the year.
The Texans added two more touchdowns in the first quarter, the first being a Khalil Banks two-yard scoring run for a 16-0 lead – the first of two touchdowns for Banks. Banks now leads the Texans with four touchdowns on the year. Ben Holmes followed with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Dray Roberson for his first career touchdown reception and a 25-0 lead. Christian Hernandez kicked a pair of first-quarter field goals – a 31- and 29-yard field goal.
Holmes had his second straight three-touchdown performance in the win. The senior threw 185 yards and three scores while completing 15-of-23 passes. Holmes had a pair of second-quarter touchdown passes – a 3-yard strike to Brant Bailey and a 20-yard completion to the side of the end zone to Zimari Manning.
In his first game as a Texan, Thomas McDonald scored his first career touchdown on an eight-yard run in the second quarter that made it 38-0. McDonald tallied 92 yards on 21 carries.
While the Texan offense was lighting up the scoreboard, the Texan defense was shutting off the visitor’s scoreboard with a first-half shutout. Benjie Franklin put the exclamation point to a dominating half with a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown that put the Texans up 51-0.
The Buffs scored 20 points in the third quarter with the Texans’ reserves on the field to cut the deficit in half.
Defensively, the Texans forced three turnovers in the win. In addition to Franklin’s interception return, Tank Morgan recorded his first interception and Sean Walton scooped up a fumble. B.J. Jefferson led the Texans with 12 tackles and two for loss.
Tarleton will head west to Odessa to take on UT Permian Basin on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.