Tarleton State (9-1, 4-1) made school history with Saturday’s 21-14 Lone Star Conference South Division win at Angelo State.
The Texans joined the 2001 team as the school’s only LSC champions since making the move from the NAIA to NCAA Division II in 1995. Tarleton also clinched at least a share of the South Division title for only the third time. They split that title with Texas A&M-Kingsville in 2001 and with Abilene Christian and West Texas A&M in 2006.
Tarleton hosts West Texas A&M in the regular-season finale this Saturday. It’s familiar territory for the Texans, as it appears they must win to get into the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
Texans making history
After securing at least a share of the LSC title for only the second time, Tarleton can win its first outright championship with a victory this week. The Texans have at least a piece of the South crown for the third time, and have opportunity to win it outright for the first time in school history as well.
A victory against West Texas A&M would also earn Tarleton its third trip to the D2 playoffs - its first since 2003 - and third 10-win season of school history. Tarleton has secured its ninth season of nine wins or more.
If the Texans fall this week they will split the South crown with WTAMU, the winner of the Abilene Christian-Midwestern game and Texas A&M-Kingsville if the Javelinas beat ASU. The LSC league-wide title would also be split at least two ways.
Moving up the charts
With 104 yards against ASU, Roderick Smith has now rushed for 3,094 in his career, moving him past Derrick Ross (2004-05) into second all time at Tarleton. Ricky Bush (1979-82) owns the school record with 3,389 rushing yards.
Wide receiver Devin Guinn is also closing in on a school record. With 55 receptions for 786 yards, the senior now has 2,380 receiving yards in his career, 202 short of the 2,582 by Harlan Wunsch (1967-69).
In the polls
Tarleton State moved up from No. 6 to No. 3 in this week’s Super Region Four rankings, released Monday by the NCAA. The Texans are joined in the top six by Midwestern State and Abilene Christian from the LSC South.
The top six in the final regional rankings advance to the playoffs. Selections will be announced this Sunday. No. 1 and No. 2 will receive a first round bye while No. 3 hosts No. 6 and No. 4 hosts No. 5 in opening round games on Nov. 14.
The Texans remain No. 7 in this week’s American Football Coaches Association national top 25 poll. The D2Football.com poll will be released today.
The Texans are facing WTAMU (5-5, 3-2) in a regular season finale for the fifth straight year, and once again, the game will have LSC and South Division championship and national playoff implications.
WT, which has won four straight since the return of running back Keithon Flemming, defeated the Texans in each of the previous four finales including 51-0 in Canyon last year.
The overall series between Tarleton and WT is even at 9-9.