Tarleton won its first game of the season with a dominating second-half performance where they outscored Oklahoma Panhandle State 35-6 en route to a 48-20 victory at Memorial Stadium.
The Texans (1-1) got better as the game went on after getting shutout in the opening quarter. The Texans posted 13 points in the second quarter, 14 in the third, and 21 in the fourth to roll past the Aggies (0-2). The scoring outburst was done on all the phases of the game, scoring touchdowns on offense, defense, and special teams.
OPSU scored the game's first touchdown on a 3-yard run by Preston Baker in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. Tarleton managed only 76 yards and had two punts and a fumble in its three first-quarter drives.
The first play of the second quarter, Adam Berryman rushed for his first career touchdown as a Texan, a 15-yard score, to tie the game at 7-7. It was the start of a career day for the junior running back, as the Gainesville native rushed for 143 yards on just 11 carries.
The Aggies bounced back on the ensuing drive, capping off an 8-play, 74-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass for a 14-7 lead with 10:53 to go in the half.
Coach Todd Whitten used Derek Kiser and Zed Woerner at quarterback in the first two quarters, but it was Woerner who delivered the first big play of the game for the Texans. Woerner connected with Del'Michael High on the second play of the drive for a 46-yard touchdown. However, the extra point was blocked, keeping the score 14-13 with 5:51 left in the half. High led the Texans in receiving, finishing with 77 yards on two catches.
The Texans looked like a new team at the start of the second half. After forcing the Aggies to put on their opening drive, the Texans handed the ball off to Berryman and he only needed two plays. Berryman's first play of the drive was a 15-yard run, then he exploded for a 44-yard touchdown run - his second of the game - to give the Texans the lead for good.
Tarleton's defense forced an OPSU turnover on downs, thanks to EJ Speed's tackle for a loss on fourth down. Woerner and the Texans took over and marched 60 yards down field in eight plays that ended with the senior quarterback finding Savon Rollison in the middle of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown pass. The Texans led 27-14 after Woerner's second touchdown of the game.
OPSU started its fourth quarter drive with another turnover on downs and it didn't take long for the Texans to strike again. Facing a 3rd-and-17 at their own 48, Woerner used his legs to pick up the first down, racing up field for exactly the 17 yards needed. The next play, Woerner teamed up with Jeff Thomas for a 35-yard touchdown pass and a 34-14 lead.
With his third touchdown pass of the game, Woerner now has 55 for his career. The Marble Falls native is three touchdowns away from passing Scott Grantham and setting a new career school record for touchdown passes. Woerner finished the game 7-of-9 passing for 143 yards, including no turnovers.
The Tarleton defense was effective in the second half, but was just missing a turnover to really put an exclamation point on its performance. That's when Tyrell Thompson and Will Johnsonstepped in. The Aggies rushed to the left side and Thompson forced a fumble that was scooped up by Johnson, who ran untouched for a 40-yard touchdown. The defensive touchdown gave the Texans 34 unanswered points and a 41-14 fourth quarter lead.
After an Aggie touchdown run to make it 41-20, Daniel McCantsreceived the kickoff and bolted past everyone on the field for an 89-yard touchdown return. McCants also added 46 rushing yards on seven carries.
Tarleton finished with 373 yards of offense, with 236 yards coming on the ground. Basil Jackson led the Texan defense with 15 tackles. Andrew Blackshire (13) and Michael Knobloch (11) also recorded double-digit tackles in the win.
Tarleton will travel to Angelo State for its next game on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 6 p.m.