All Tarleton State did last week was hop on a bus for 13 hours, visit the most prominent stadium and one of the most prominent teams in Division II and pull off a 38-28 upset to earn back-to-back victories for the first time this season.

Now the Texans (5-4) have to find a way to top that.

The stage is certainly set for them to do so as they host Angelo State (5-5) in the regular season finale for both teams on Military Appreciation Day at Tarleton Memorial Stadium Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

The Texans - who will be in special Military Appreciation uniforms - are aiming for their second straight winning season under head coach Cary Fowler, and their 12th winning campaign in 13 years.

Angelo has the same goal in terms of finishing with a winning record, and the Rams are going for back-to-back wins after taking down Incarnate Word 38-21 last week.

"They're good; don't look at their record, look at their personnel and what they can do to you," Fowler said. "They've used three quarterbacks and I like them all, they have good receivers and they have a good running back. They aren't flashy, they just do things well."

That's what a lot of people would say about Northwest Missouri State teams under Mel Tjeerdsma, and it's no coincidence. The Rams are in their second season under Will Wagner, who was a member of Tjeersdma's staff at NWMSU.

"He's doing a good job there; they have come a long way," Fowler said. "It's only a matter of time before it shows up more in the win loss column, because that's a very well coached football team."

Fowler says junior quarterback Aaron Doyle will be available Saturday, but the starter will continue to be fifth-year senior Jake Fenske, who will be donning the purple and white for the final time.

"They're both going to play," Fowler said. "Aaron defintely hasn't done anything to lose his starter's role, he just got injured and missed the last two weeks. Jake has been the man while Aaron's been out, and he's obviously done a tremendous job. I couldn't be happier for Jake to end his career this way."

The same can be said for Arthur Buckingham, a sixth-year senior who caught the game-winning touchdown from Fenske last week, and other seniors who were around the last time Tarleton won a conference title and reached the playoffs in 2009. Linebacker Matt Knicky and offensive lineman Jerell Jones are the others.

"Those are four of my most favorite young men on this earth," Fowler said. "They were here when we were on top in 2009, then we started over and they saw a lot of their best friends move on. But they stuck it out with me and have helped to build this young team so that they know when they walk out of here that their football program is on solid ground. They have sacrificed so much for this program, and I am forever appreciative of them."

Angelo's top quarterback, Blake Hamblin, is injured and out, leaving Michael Cochran and Kyle Washington in charge of the offense. They have proven receivers in Dakarai Pecikonis and (50-513, 5 TD) and C.J. Akins (48-781, 7 TD), and a committee of running backs. Donavan Roberts and Jermie Calhoun lead the rushers with 382 and 341 yards, respectively.

Defensively, the Rams are led by linebacker Rush Seaver with 80 tackles including 6.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks. He's also intercepted two passes. Alvin Johnson has 65 tackles and Clayton Callicutt has 52 and eight for loss to go with four sacks.

"There is a lot of talent on that defense," said Fowler. "They have guys all over the field who can make plays, so we'll have to get ourselves into favorable matchups and take what we can get."

For the Texans, Fenske has passed for 725 yards and eight touchdowns since taking over for Doyle. He's completed 68.4 percent of his passes, going 78-114.

Vaughn Smith continues to lead the way on the ground with 742 yards, while Zach Henshaw, a true freshman, has 490. Clifton Rhodes III has 55 receptions for 628 yards and Jeken Frye has 39 for 494. Arthur Buckingham leads in receiving touchdowns with six on 38 catches for 351 yards.

Tarleton has averaged 32.3 points and 449.4 yards per game despite losing its starting quarterback and primary running back - Jerome Regal led the LSC in rushing after two weeks before suffering a broken jaw - and having to face a tough schedule full of Lone Star teams and two Gulf South Conference powers. Fowler says much of the credit for such numbers should go to first-year offensive coordinator Justin Carrigan.

"(Carrigan) is the best play caller I've been around," Fowler said. "Look at what he's had to overcome in his first year - we're playing such a tough schedule, and we lost our leading rusher after two games. Then we lose our quarterback and we have to change a lot of things because (Fenske and Doyle) are two totally different types of players.

"For (Carrigan) to keep this offense together the way he has and for them to be continuing to move the ball up and down the field and put points on the board against such tough competition is just a testament to the way he does things. He gets his guys prepared, he's a great motivator and he's an awesome strategist," Fowler added. "I'm glad he's with us, because I don't want to call defense against him."

The Texans are 4-3 in the LSC, where they are tied for third with Angelo and Texas A&M-Kingsville.

"We want to finish in the top three," Fowler said. "I know we aren't in the playoff picture, but to be in the top three of this league would really say something about this young team and where we're headed."

He also noted that Saturday's game may not be the Texans' last.

"You never know these days," he said. "There are so many bowl games and stuff like that out there; we just need to take care of business, get a win and then see what happens."

Follow Brad Keith on Twitter @etsports