FLORENCE, Ala. — 2004. That was the last time North Alabama lost a homecoming game – that is, until Tarleton entered Florence in 2022.
The Texans snapped North Alabama’s 16-game homecoming winning streak with a 43-28 win in Florence, Alabama, on Saturday, in front of 10,039 fans. Tarleton scored back-to-back 40+ point games, improving to 3-1 overall on the year. The Lions, meanwhile, fall to 1-3. Tarleton also improved to 2-1 in series history, and 2-0 all-time in Florence at Braly Stadium.
Tarleton’s offense was clicking on all cylinders once again, finishing with a season-high 586 total yards, 316 passing, 270 rushing. Beau Allen threw a career-high four touchdowns to go with 316 passing yards, his third 300+ yard performance in just four games at Tarleton. He also ran for 32 yards on seven attempts.
Each member of Tarleton’s monster WR trio, three stakeholders on the WAC’s top-five receiving leaderboard, scored on the night. Jaden Smith scored twice, from 86 yards and 30 yards, finishing with five total receptions and 173 yards. Darius Cooper had four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown, and Gabe Douglas finished with two catches for 27 yards and a touchdown.
Derrel Kelley III almost tripled his career-high in rushing, going for 161 yards on 21 carries (7.7 yards per rush). Mookie Douglas had the lone rushing touchdown on a fourth quarter three-yard scamper, his first in the purple and white.
Five different Texans recorded a sack on the day; Patrick Jones, Darian Williams, Michael Irons, Jalen Carr and Javier Duran. Jones’ was a strip sack in the end zone that resulted in a safety. Bryon Broussard iced the game with an interception on the Lions’ last gasp effort. Jones and Kyle Taylor each led the team at six total tackles.
Tarleton started the game with a scoring drive, welcoming recent WAC Special Teams Player of the Week kicker Adrian Guzman back. He split the uprights from 35 yards out to make it 3-0 Tarleton just over two minutes into the game.
Trouble ensued for Tarleton on the next play from scrimmage, with North Alabama’s ShunDerrick Powell housing a 75-yard run to make it 7-3 Lions, just like that.
Again, Tarleton drove down the field, this time 72 yards, but the Texans were forced to kick another field goal, which Guzman nailed from 20 yards. The Texan defense was tested again on North Alabama’s next drive, this time more methodically. The Lions drove 75 yards in 10 plays, capping it with a Powell three-yard score to make it 14-6.
Three punts combined and an Allen interception later, Tarleton scored its first touchdown midway through the second quarter, a 21-yard leaping grab by Douglas. Tarleton then forced a three-and-out, and Smith showcased his evasiveness on his first touchdown on the night from 30 yards out, somehow avoiding multiple defenders before walking into the endzone.
With Tarleton owning the momentum, Powell quickly curbed it again, racing for a 55-yard touchdown, his third TD of the game. He finished with 209 yards on 13 carries (16.1 yards per rush), three TD, and two receptions for 46 yards. North Alabama led 21-20 at halftime.
Tarleton scored three touchdowns on its first three drives to start the second half, beginning with an 86-yard score by Smith as he outran the defense. Cooper scored next from five yards out, and Douglas had his TD to start the fourth quarter.
North Alabama scored once more to avoid the blowout, a 78-yard connection between Noah Walters and Demarcus Lacey. Tarleton earned its safety midway through the fourth and calmly finished the win to improve to 3-1.
The Texans will now enjoy a bye week, a chance to rest up before seven straight weeks of games. They’ll next play their second of three straight road games at Southern Utah on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. CT in Cedar City, Utah.