The Teams: Tarleton Texans (0-0, 0-0 WAC) vs. Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils (0-0, 0-0 SWAC)
Where: Stephenville, Texas
Stadium: Memorial Stadium
Time: 7 p.m. CT
Streaming Platform: ESPN+ (John Liddle, Richard Bartel)
Radio: Tarleton Sports Network on 90.5 FM (Byron Anderson, Kyle Masters, Matt Miller, Keltin Wiens)
TEXAN FOOTBALL GAME DAY
The Texans open the 2022 campaign under the Thursday night lights at Memorial Stadium. Tarleton has posted winning seasons in their first two NCAA Division I campaigns, and will begin its hardest season schedule to date, first drawing Mississippi Valley State from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The game, set for 7 p.m. CT, will be broadcast on ESPN+, with John Liddle and Richard Bartel on the call. The game can be heard on Tarleton Sports Network at 90.5 FM in Stephenville and surrounding areas, with Byron Anderson, Kyle Masters, Matt Miller and Keltin Wiens leading the broadcast.
GAME DAY FESTIVITIES
It’s a Purple Thursday, so fans should be wearing purple anyways, but more so at the game to “Purple Out” the Delta Devils. Fans are encouraged to wear their purple to the game, and those who don’t, can pick up one of the free 1,000 purple shirts divvied out to the first ones in the stadium.
Texan Alley opens at 8 a.m. for tailgaters, and all parking lots open at 3 p.m. The Pointe-du-Hoc rally will be at 3:40 p.m. at Rudder Way Statue, not long before stadium gates open at 5 p.m.
For the first time at a regular season Tarleton Athletics event, alcohol will be sold inside the stadium. From 5:30-6:30 p.m., “Happy Hour” will commence, with all beer for sale inside the stadium at half-price.
Before the game, all Texan freshmen are encouraged to participate in the Freshman Run, as the new students lead the team on the field through the Texan Tunnel.
Tarleton Rodeo head coach Mark Eakin will be part of the coin toss in honor of leading his Texan men’s rodeo team to its fourth national crown at the College National Finals Rodeo in June. At halftime, the full team will be recognized.
For maps of the area and complete tailgating policies, visit TarletonSports.com/TexanAlley.
ABOUT THE MATCHUP
- This is the first ever matchup between the Texans and Delta Devils, who are part of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Tarleton has played just one of the current 12 SWAC teams, last matching up with Prairie View A&M in 1995.
- This is the second straight year MVSU is playing a WAC program. In 2021, they lost 58-13 at Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 18.
- Last year, MVSU ranked 11th out of 12 SWAC teams in PPG at 19.6. They averaged the second fewest passing yards per game (167.9). Tarleton allowed the fewest passing yards per in the WAC (189.9).
- The Texans have won four of their last five home openers, including last year’s 54-7 romping of Fort Lewis.
- Head coach Todd Whitten is back for his 13th season at the helm of the Texans. Under Whitten, Tarleton is 6-6 in season openers and 9-3 in home openers. Overall, Tarleton has been .500 or better 11 times in his 12 years.
- Tarleton has finished .500 or better in each of its past five seasons. That’s the longest run since a 10-season streak from 2000-09 (Whitten coached the first four years of that).
- Beau Allen was named the starting quarterback for Tarleton, transferring in from Kentucky. A former four-star prospect, Allen played five games for the Wildcats over the past two years, completing 11-of-19 (.579) passes for 132 yards, scoring his first touchdown on the ground against New Mexico State.
- Tarleton is planning to start in a 3-4 defense, switching from its primary 4-3 defense a year prior. Tyrone Nix is the Texans’ new defensive coordinator, bringing in over 25 years of NCAA Division I coaching experience.
- The Texans added 28 transfers to its roster entering 2022, while 14 joined the team straight out of high school.
- This will be the highest capacity of a stadium Tarleton has ever played in Stephenville. Expansion is still in progress, set to boost seating to 24,000 later this season.
THE GREATEST TIME OF YEAR
Football is back, signaling the undisputed greatest time of the year. For the Texans, it’s a chance to start the season off hot at home, something they’re accustomed to doing under head coach Todd Whitten. In home openers under the man in charge, the Texans are 9-3, with a total point differential of +323 (+26.9 per game). In each of the three losses, the Texans lost by exactly three points, one of which happened in double overtime. Of the nine wins, the Texans won each by double figures, including eight by 20+ points, six by 30+ points, three by 40+ points, two by 50+ points, and one by 62 points.
This is the first time Tarleton is opening the season on a Thursday night since 2018, when they opened at home against Delta State on Aug. 30, taking a 44-13 win.
Tarleton has opened its season on the first day of the unofficial start of football month (September) three times before in its history — vs. Abilene Christian on Sept. 1, 2011; vs. Langston on Sept. 1, 2001; at East Central (Oklahoma) on Sept. 1, 1990.
Affectionally given the social media hashtag of #BeauKnows by his Kentucky Wildcat family, Beau Allen originally joined his hometown college as a four-star prospect by both ESPN and Rivals. At Lexington Catholic High School, he ranked as high as the No. 3 QB in Kentucky, and a top-15 QB across the nation overall. He won the Paul Hornung Award his senior year, given to the top high school player in Kentucky, starting all four years at the prep level, compiling 11,439 passing yards and 127 touchdowns, top-five marks in the state all-time. He was named First Team All-State three times and was a three-time captain. At Kentucky, he primarily spent his time in the No. 2 QB role, playing in five total games, completing 11-of-19 (.579) passes for 132 yards, plus a rushing touchdown. Allen, who chose Kentucky over offers from Georgia, Michigan, Michigan State, Cincinnati, Maryland, Washington State, West Virginia, Marshall and Duke, among others, said he picked Tarleton as his transfer school mostly because of the coaching staff, with ties to head coach Todd Whitten and pass game coordinator/QB coach Adam Austin, who was part of Eastern Kentucky’s staff tasked to recruit Allen to Richmond.
Tarleton Football was voted to finish third in the conference by the other WAC head coaches, with five Texans named Preseason All-WAC. Offensive linemen Kendall Dearth and Blake Haynes are on the 2022 Preseason All-WAC Offense. Defensive lineman Javier Duran, linebacker D.J. Harris and defensive back Donovan Banks are on the 2022 Preseason All-WAC Defense.
Dearth and Haynes were two of the six total offensive linemen on the 2022 Preseason All-WAC Offense. Haynes was Second Team All-WAC last season. Haynes and Dearth each started all 11 games for the Texans last year, part of an offensive line that allowed the tied-12th fewest total sacks in the FCS at 13, the tied-14th fewest sacks per game at 1.18.
Duran, one of five defensive linemen chosen to the 2022 Preseason All-WAC Defense, was Second Team All-WAC last year. He started all 11 games in his first year at Tarleton, recording 32 total tackles (17 solo), 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries.
Harris, one of four linebackers named 2022 Preseason All-WAC Defense, led the Texans in total tackles last year at 66 (35 solo). He finished with seven tackles for a loss, tied-second most on the team, earning a safety, forced fumble, 1.5 sacks and four quarterback hurries in nine games played. Across the conference last year, he averaged the fourth most tackles per game at 7.3 per, owning the sixth most total tackles.
Banks was one of five defensive backs on the 2022 Preseason All-WAC Defense. Last year he had the tied-third most total tackles on the team from the secondary with 50 (32 solo).
More on Tarleton Sports here.