Garrett Lindholm hit two field goals in the final 12 seconds - including school-record 55-yarder at the buzzer - and No. 15 Tarleton State completed a bizarre comeback effort for a 31-28 win against No. 18 Midwestern State at Tarleton Memorial Stadium Saturday night.
Tarleton overcame a 21-3 first half deficit and trailed 28-25 with Midwestern driving deep into Texan territory in the final minutes.
But Brandon Johnson picked off a Zack Eskridge pass in the back of the end zone and returned the ball to the three to give the Texans hope.
Quarterback Scott Grantham and wide receiver Arthur Buckingham took over from there, connecting three times including twice for fourth down conversions. The second successful fourth down play set the Texans up at the Midwestern 19.
Tarleton could drive no further on the next three plays, but Lindholm drilled a 36-yard FG to knot the score at 28-28, and the game appeared bound for overtime.
But Midwestern return man Brandon Williams fumbled on the ensuing kickoff and Tarleton's Nate Stringfellow recovered the loose ball with just seven seconds left.
From the Midwestern 38, Tarleton took one shot at a quick-out pass play, trying to move closer for a kick attempt to win. The pass was incomplete, but it didn't matter thanks to Lindholm's last-second heroics.
"(On a scale of 1-10) This is a 12," said Lindholm, who is now 8-8 this year from 40 yards or longer. "I just want to thank Kyle Piercefield and Arthur Buckingham for getting the snap and the hold down. Those two guys do such a good job I don't ever have to worry about anything but kicking the ball."
Lindholm's game winner was one yard longer than the previous school-record 54-yarder made by Vince Oldag in 1983. Lindholm was 3-3 on the night, also hitting from 44 yards to get Tarleton on the board in the second.
The Texans began cutting into the 21-3 deficit when the hurry-up offense moved the ball 84 yards in seven plays on a drive that was capped by a 16-yard pass from Grantham to Shaun Ragon, making it 21-10 at the half.
Tarleton got even closer when Roderick Smith scored from 13 yards out with 11:24 left in the third, but Midwestern answered with a 21-yard pass from Eskridge to Andy Tanner, their second scoring connection of the game.
Tarleton came back again with a 10-play 91-yard drive that reached the end zone on a one-yard Grantham keeper. The junior QB then took a shotgun snap and ran it in himself off right tackle for a two-point conversion to make it 28-25 and set the stage for the late heroics.
Grantham was 27-47 through the air for 353 yards and a touchdown. He completed passes to eight different receivers, including five each to Buckingham, Devin Guinn and Jahmeel Hobson. Buckingham led in receiving yards with 104.
The Texans posted a season-high 509 yards of total offense. In addition to Grantham's big night, they also netted 156 rushing yards, led by Smith's 91 on 11 carries.
The Mustangs were led by Eskridge, the highest-rated passer in the nation entering the game, with a 21-28 performance for 245 yards and all four MSU touchdowns.
Midwestern State led 13-0 just more than 11 minutes into the game on the strength of Eskridge's first two TD strikes, a two-yarder to Tanner and a 16-yarder to Sheldon Galloway.
Tarleton made it 13-3 on Lindholm's first field goal, but Midwestern came right back with the second Eskridge-to-Galloway score, this time from the 27. Eskridge then tossed a conversion pass to Tanner to stretch the lead to 21-3 before the Tarleton comeback began.