No. 21 Texans Upset No. 4 West Texas A&M Buffs
Tarleton State University
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 14, 2013
STEPHENVILLE, Texas—The No. 21-ranked Tarleton State Texans outscored West Texas A&M 28-0 in the second half to come from behind and upset the No. 4-ranked Buffs 31-27 Saturday evening at Tarleton Memorial Stadium in Stephenville.
Down 27-3 at halftime, the Texans (5-0, 4-0 LSC) piled on 28 unanswered points, which included Le'Nard Meyers's touchdown with 5:38 left to play that pulled the Texans within three points of the Buffs, as well as his game-winning TD with just 44 seconds to play.
The Buffs' (5-1, 2-1 LSC) last gasp at trying to drive down field in the waning moments went awry when the offense stalled at Tarleton's 47-yard line.
WT quarterback Dustin Vaughan had just completed a first down pass to Jace Jackson with the clock stopping at the 18-second mark, but the offense took too long to set up and the Tarleton defense forced a bad pass leaving just five seconds on the clock. Vaughan's hail-mary attempt was over the head of his intended receiver and the crowd of 8,147 fans stormed the field in acknowledgement of the upset victory.
Tarleton quarterback Jake Fenske completed 25 passes for a season-high 388 yards and three touchdowns, while Meyers finished the game with career-highs in both receiving yards (168) and touchdowns (2).
Running back Zach Henshaw rushed for 107 yards, giving him his first 100-yard rushing game of the season. Clifton Rhodes III caught seven passes for 134 yards and a touchdown, which gave Tarleton a pair of receivers with at least 100 yards for the first time since Devin Guinn (161 yards) and Jahmeel Hobson (109 yards) did it against WT back on Nov. 7, 2009.
The Texans offense racked up a season-high 550 yards of total offense, while the defense limited the LSC's top-ranked offense to just 360 total yards. The Buffs came into the game averaging more than 535 yards per game on the offensive side of the ball.
The Buffs took an early 6-0 lead with 13:13 left in the first quarter when Vaughan connected with Jackson from seven yards out. The touchdown came five plays after Tarleton's offense turned the ball over on a fumble to the WT defense. Sergio Castillo's extra point attempt was blocked though, so WT came away with just six points on the drive.
The Texans would score its only points of the first half with 10:53 left to play in the first quarter when Blake Barnes kicked a 30-yard field goal to pull the Texans within four points, down 7-3.
WT would go onto score three more touchdowns in the first half as Aaron Harris and Geremy Alridge both found paydirt in the running game and Vaughan connecting with Anthony Johnson late in the second quarter.
Aaron Doyle would give the Texans its first touchdown of the night as he capped off a 16-play, 90-yard drive with his TD run from the one-yard line. Barnes' PAT made it a 27-10 game with 7:57 left to play in the third quarter and Tarleton would not score again until Rhodes caught Fenske's pass from four yards out with 7:45 left in the game. A botched snap though on the PAT attempt forced Collin Strahan out of the pocket, but he was forced out of bounds and the score was 27-16 in favor of the Buffs.
The Texan defense forced a three-and-out on WT's next possession and Fenske found Meyers for their first of two touchdowns of the night on the very first play from scrimmage. At Tarleton's own 37-yard line, Fenske found Meyers on his post pattern and 63 yards later the Texans had found the end zone again for the second time in a matter of 4:58.
Despite having to call a timeout going into the PAT, Fenske found Meyers again in the back of the end zone for the two-point conversion that pulled Tarleton within three points of the Buffs, down 27-24.
WT would run six plays for a total of 29 yards that took 2:58 on its next possession before Kevin VanVoris was called on to punt. Following a bounce Tarleton's Desmond Jackson took the punt and looked to find a seam, but he was called back for an illegal fair catch and the Texans would take over from its own 15-yard line with 2:40 left to play.
Fenske would complete seven passes on the drive that finished up with Meyers scoring the go-ahead score from five yards out and Barnes made it a four-point game with his PAT, giving the Texans the lead 31-27.
The Texans snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Buffs, defeating WT for the first time since 2004 and the first time to defeat them in Stephenville since 2003.
The Texans open the season 5-0 for the first time since 2009 and push its winning streak to eight straight games dating back to last season. For the second time in the last two seasons, Tarleton has defeated the No. 4 ranked team in the nation after defeating Midwestern State 20-17 in 2012's season-opener.
The Texans return to the road next week as the team travels to Cleveland, Miss., to face Delta State in non-conference action. The Texans and Statesmen will kickoff at 6 p.m. next Saturday at McCool Stadium.
Tarleton State University
A member of The Texas A&M University System
Contact: Dameon Myres, director of athletic communications