It's stock up for Tarleton State, and stock up for Jerome Regal after the sophomore running back led the Texans past Division I FCS newcomer Abilene Christian at Toyota Stadium in Frisco Saturday.
The Texans moved up three spots to No. 22 in the American Football Coaches Association poll, and Regal was named Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 251 yards - third most in school history - and two touchdowns, including the game winner in a 41-34 double overtime thriller.
"Jerome really carried the load, and that was a big key for us going into the game with Zac (Henshaw) out," said Tarleton head coach Cary Fowler. "Jerome had been battling a hamstring injury early in the year, but he felt a ton better last week. I knew he was going to have a big game because of the way he practiced. He practiced like a champion all week, then he went out and played like one on Saturday."
Regal carried the ball 31 times, second most in his career, and averaged 8.1 yards per carry. He also had 33 receiving yards, finishing with 284 all-purpose yards. It was the first 200-yard rushing performance by a Tarleton player since 2009.
Regal is currently second in the LSC in rushing yards per game at 115.3. Returning All-American Keidric Jackson of Midwestern State averages 115.7.
The Texans, who visit Eastern New Mexico at 3 p.m. (CST) Saturday, have their highest ranking since being 10th in the final poll of the 2009 season.
No. 4 West Texas A&M still highlights the LSC's presence in the latest AFCA poll, released Monday. Midwestern State dropped out from No. 23 despite a win Saturday. Texas A&M-Kingsville is also receiving votes.
Tarleton has won six straight dating back to last season, matching its fourth longest win streak this century. The Texans won their last four games in 2004 and first four in 2005 for an eight-game streak, and won their first eight games to begin the 2007 season. The 2001 Texans won seven straight on their way to the national quarterfinals. The other six-game streak included the final five games in 2011 and the opener in 2012.
In his fourth season at the helm, Fowler now has a winning record for the first time. He is 18-17 overall after winning 14 of the last 18.
"We've just been chopping wood; we go to work and are getting better every week," Fowler said. "I think a lot of people are surprised because we got to 3-0 with nine starters and four backups out last week with injuries. But I have confidence in the young guys in our program. You look out there and you see so many freshmen and sophomores making the big plays we didn't used to make."
Guys like Regal, for instance.
"I've already had some NFL scouts asking about him," Fowler said. "The future is bright for him, and I think the future is bright for all of us."