KINGSVILLE, Texas – For the first time since 2009, the Tarleton State football team has clinched at least a share of the Lone Star Conference Championship with a 45-20 victory over Texas A&M-Kingsville at Javelina Stadium Saturday night in Kingsville.
“It feels great to get this win and a clinch the championship,” Tarleton head football coach Cary Fowler said. “I’ve already told our players not to take a sigh of relief yet though because we still have two games left and we have to see how far we can go.”
The Texans snapped a two-game losing streak with the win and improve to 6-2 overall on the year, while closing out the conference schedule at 5-1 to clinch at least a share of the title.
Tarleton has just two non-conference games left on its schedule and are currently tied with Eastern New Mexico, who downed West Texas A&M 39-38 in Canyon on Saturday, and Midwestern State as both teams have just one conference loss as well.
MSU will travel to ENMU next week before closing out the season against WTAMU in Wichita Falls on Saturday, Nov. 16. Another loss from both ENMU and MSU would give the Texans it first-ever outright LSC Championship in school history.
The Tarleton offense racked up 579 yards of total offense on just 67 plays Saturday night, throwing the ball for 374 yards and gaining 205 yards on the ground. Jake Fenske completed 22 passes for 313 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Le’Nard Meyers notched his second 100-yard receiving effort of the season with a game-high 102 yards.
Zach Henshaw led the Texans on the ground for a third-straight week, tallying 94 rushing yards on just 12 carries. Henshaw had another 24 yards and a touchdown on the receiving end as well, giving him three consecutive games with 100-plus yards in all-purpose yardage.
Marquis Wadley, who got the Texans on the board first with his 39-yard touchdown run off of a fake punt, Jerome Regal and Cody Burtscher each tallied over 30 rushing yards and a score for the Texans.
Clifton Rhodes III had five catches for 91 yards and a score for Tarleton’s other receiving touchdown.
The Javelinas, who fell to 2-6 overall and 0-5 in the LSC, managed to record 473 yards of total offense on the night, but were just 4-for-13 on third downs and scored just three times on six red-zone opportunities.
“We made some great stops defensively tonight, especially after a few turnovers there,” Fowler said. “We were able to come back and force some turnovers of our own and keep playing. I think the turning point was the goal-line stand just before the end of the first half. For us to stop them down there really gave us the momentum going forward.”
Wadley led the Texans defensively with 15 total tackles, a quarterback hurry and one interception. Jake Blount had five tackles on the evening and a game-high two sacks as he continues to lead the squad with six sacks on the season. Dashaun Phillips had four tackles on Saturday and registered a season-high four pass break-ups as well.
TAMUK’s Ronnie Ford completed 25 of his 40 passes for 307 yards, a touchdown and the one interception, while Anthony Washington led the team on the ground with 80 rushing yards. Robert Armstorng collected a team-high seven catches for 89 yards.
The Texans will return home next weekend to face Southwestern Oklahoma for the first time since 2009. Kickoff between the Texans and Bulldogs is set for 2 p.m. at Tarleton Memorial Stadium in Stephenville.