The Tarleton Texans struggled in the running game in their season opener, and vowed to change that in Week 2. They changed it in a big way, rushing for five touchdowns and 347 yards in a dominating 54-7 win over the Fort Lewis Skyhawks at Memorial Stadium in Stephenville, Texas, on Saturday night.
Four different Texans had over 50 yards on the ground, and three different running backs run one in for a score. Daniel Wright Jr. led everyone with 119 yards on 15 carries. Jayy McDonald had 92 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns. Khalil Banks also had a pair of touchdowns to go with 54 rushing yards on seven carries, while Ryheem Skinner rounded things out with 50 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
The Texans opened their Family Weekend and Military Appreciation game in front of over 12,000 fans by commemorating the 13 service members tragically killed in Kabul a couple of weeks ago, while also honoring the anniversary of 9/11, which was 20 years ago.
To open the game itself, the Texans forced a quick three-and-out, and followed by a 60-yard scoring drive on their first possession with a McDonald two-yard score.
Fort Lewis answered with their lone points of the game, driving 75 yards in nine plays, capped off by an Emmanuel Nwosu eight-yard rushing touchdown. The two teams went back and forth the remainder of the quarter with the frame ending at 7-7.
The Texans exploded in the second quarter with three touchdowns and a safety to lead 30-7 at the break. Steven Duncan found Kaylon Horton for a 12-yard touchdown to put Tarleton ahead 14-7. On the next Texans’ possession, punter Jake Walrath placed it perfectly at the 1-yard line, which led to a D.J. Harris safety as he tackled Jack Hanenburg in the endzone. Tarleton received the pooch and drove down for another score, a Skinner six-yard burst. After Fort Lewis missed a field goal attempt on its next drive, Tarleton once again marched down the field, this time with Banks running it two yards in for a touchdown.
McDonald opened the second half with a three-yard touchdown after a great drive led by Duncan, who finished his night there with the Texans up 37-7 with 154 yards on 16-of-20 passing and a touchdown. Mike Irwin came in to get some run, and on his third drive, threw his first Tarleton touchdown to Darius Cooper from six yards out. Tarleton led 44-7 after three quarters. Adrian Guzman made a field goal in the fourth quarter, and the Texans scored another touchdown on their final drive of the game, a Banks 1-yard run.
Nine different players recorded a reception for Tarleton, led by Horton six catches for 62 yards, and his score. Cody Jones had four catches for 48 yards, and Wright added 37 more yards on four receptions for 156 all-purpose yards.
Harris had the big day on the defense with 12 total tackles, including seven solo and a sack, plus three quarterback hurries. Ronnell Wilson forced a fumble and had a sack. Chris Radford and Zach Strong also each had a sack.
Tarleton will now play a “home” game away from home, as the Texans head to Choctaw Stadium, formerly Globe Life Park and former home of the Texas Rangers, in Arlington. They’ll take on Southern Utah on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT.