Texans dominate Eagles with shutout performance in front of record homecoming crowd


STEPHENVILLE — Homecoming week is always a little sweeter when Texan Football culminates it with a win. It’s even sweeter when the win is in front of a Memorial Stadium record crowd.

Tarleton State (5-3, 1-2 UAC) dominated Morehead State (3-4, 2-2 PFL) in shutout fashion on Saturday in Stephenville 42-0. The Texans scored 21 points in the second quarter to lead 28-0 at halftime and never looked back, starting the year 5-3 for the second straight season. Tarleton improved to 3-1 at home this season, and earned their first shutout since March 27, 2021, vs. Northeastern State (38-0).

Under head coach Todd Whitten, the Texans are now 11-3 on their homecoming games.

For the third straight year, the Texans set a new attendance record at their homecoming game, this time seeing 23,042 fans through the turnstiles. They’ve hosted more than 20,000 fans in three of their four home games this year. And on Saturday, all 23,042 fans got a treat throughout the night, with an epic pregame, great play for four quarters, and a fun George Strait tickets giveaway that featured a sing-off between contestants selected at random.

The night started with Sgt. Dana Bowman skying through the air after leaping from a helicopter, parachuting onto the field. Then, the Legend of the Texan Rider returned to lead the Texans onto the field. When game play started, Tarleton State immediately provided even more fireworks.

On their first drive of the game, Tarleton marched 75 yards in less than four minutes, with Kayvon Britten streaking ahead for a 22-yard score, his first of two rushing touchdowns on the night.

Leading 7-0, the Texans opened the second quarter with another touchdown, as Victor Gabalis floated a deep ball down the middle to Darius Cooper for a 50-yard score. The Texan defense then forced their fourth punt in four drives, and Patrick Jones set the offense up with great field position thanks to a 47-yard punt return. The Texans capitalized, handing it off to Derrel Kelley III four straight times, his last carry a 23-yard touchdown to put Tarleton ahead 21-0. Later in the frame, the Texans forced a turnover on downs, then scored again, this time Britten rushing it in from three yards out, his 10th total touchdown on the year. Tarleton led 28-0 at the break.

Yet again, Tarleton scored a touchdown on their first drive of the quarter, this time a 50-yard march capped off by a Gabalis 18-yard pass to Kelley. The Texans seemingly had a safety a short while later after kicker/punter Adrian Guzman pinned the Eagles at the 1-yard line, but officials disagreed and the third frame ended with Tarleton ahead 35-0.

For the fourth time in four quarters, the Texans opened the frame with a touchdown. Caleb Lewis powered his way into an 18-yard touchdown, the fifth by a Tarleton running back on the night.

It was a complete team performance by the Purple and White, who outgained Morehead State 515-113 in total yardage. The Texans had 302 rushing yards to -11 by the Eagles, making it back-to-back games for Tarleton with more than 300 rushing yards, their first such stretch since Nov. 2-8, 2019. Their -11 rushing yards allowed are the fifth fewest amount of rushing yards allowed in a game across all of NCAA Division I, FCS and FBS, this season.

The Texans had 26 first downs to Morehead State’s 10, forcing the Eagles to punt 11 times, which is tied for the most punts the Eagles have had in a game in program history. There were no turnovers by either team on the night.

Gabalis completed 13-of-24 for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Britten ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, averaging 10.2 yards per rush. Kelley also had two touchdowns, rushing it nine times for 38 yards and a score, adding an 18-yard touchdown reception. Lewis went 77 yards on nine carries (8.6 YPC), plus a touchdown. Cooper led the receiving group with four catches, 69 yards and a touchdown.

Three different Texans had a sack, one each by Ahmir CrowderJosh Griffis and O’tay BakerDevin Sterling had two tackles for loss, and Brandon Tolvert had three quarterback hurries.

The Texans are back on the road next week for what will likely be a ranked matchup. Central Arkansas is currently No. 20 in the Stats Perform FCS Football Rankings. The Texans will battle the Bears at Estes Stadium in Conway, Arkansas, on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 4 p.m. 

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