STEPHENVILLE, TX – 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 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.