No. 11 Tarleton State won its second straight game on Saturday, overcoming a 13-0 halftime deficit in a 30-20 defeat of host Eastern New Mexico.
The Texans, who have secured their third consecutive season of seven or more wins and 10th straight campaign with a winning record, are now tied for the lead in races for the Lone Star Conference and South Division titles.
Coming from behind
Saturday marked the first time (since at least 1981) Tarleton has overcome double-digit deficits to win in back-to-back games. Just one week after their second-biggest comeback (from 18 down) in school history against Midwestern State, the Texans used a 30-7 second-half rally to erase a 13-point halftime deficit against ENMU.
The come-from-behind wins were just the sixth and seventh times since 1980 Tarleton has come from 10 or more down to win. The largest comeback in school history came in 1985 when the Texans - then members of the NAIA - trailed Austin College 21-0 before winning 24-21.
Career night for Hobson
Jahmeel Hobson has provided Tarleton with a valuable weapon this season - a second dependable pass catcher in addition to Devin Guinn. Hobson had a career night on Saturday, hauling in 10 receptions for 170 yards. He scored on a 61-yard catch to get the Texans on the board and begin the comeback in the third quarter. The senior now has 33 catches for 520 yards and 3 TDs this season.
With the increased production of Arthur Buckingham in recent weeks, Tarleton has actually proven to have three game-breaking receivers. Buckingham has had seven receptions for 126 yards in the last two games.
Tarleton intercepted four passes on Saturday with McNeal Uwajeh, Lonnie Buchanan, JaMarcus Ballard and Jeremy Sifford snagging one each. Four interceptions is the most by the Texan defense since the unit picked off five passes in a 37-7 win against Midwestern State on Oct. 8, 2005.
Pass production on the rise
Prior to facing Midwestern State, Tarleton quarterback Scott Grantham had passed for more than 300 yards only once this season, a 310-yard outing at Central Oklahoma.
But in the victories against MSU and ENMU, Grantham has thrown for 353 yards and 352, respectively. The third-year starter is now 124-234 passing (53.0 percent) for 1,775 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.
With at least three games remaining this year and his senior season still ahead, Grantham is on pace to become the school’s all-time leader in passing yards. He has thrown for 6,650 yards in his career. Steve Kelly (1999-2001) owns the career mark of 8,203.
South up for grabs
With three weeks left in the regular season four teams are tied atop the LSC South standings and five of the six are still in the mix for the division title.
Tarleton, Abilene Christian, Angelo State and Texas A&M-Kingsville are all 2-1 in the South, while Midwestern State and West Texas A&M are both 2-2.
The only team with no aspirations of a divisional crown is ENMU at 0-3.
No. 9 Abilene Christian rolls into town for the Texans’ homecoming game at 6 p.m. Saturday. ACU was ranked No. 1 before dropping its own homecoming to West Texas A&M last weekend, 32-21. Like the Texans, the Wildcats are 7-1 on the season.
Tarleton has faced ACU 18 times dating back to 1973 with the Wildcats leading the series 11-7. ACU has won four of the last five meetings including a 37-17 decision in Abilene last year and a 70-63 thriller in the Texans’ 2007 homecoming game.
Since joining NCAA Division II Tarleton is 1-13 all-time against top 10 teams, with its only win coming against Chadron State in the 2001 playoffs.