No. 9 Tarleton remains undefeated on the year with a 59-21 homecoming victory over Texas A&M-Kingsville on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Tarleton improves to 7-0 and 6-0 in the Lone Star Conference - the last remaining undefeated team in the conference. It's the third 7-0 start in school history and the first since 2007 when the Texan team started 8-0. Tarleton is outscoring opponents 47-19 per game this season.
Tarleton scored 35 unanswered points between the second and third quarters while amassing 585 yards of offense - 315 rushing and 270 passing - and holding Texas A&M-Kingsville to 302 yards for the game. Xavier Turner and Ben Holmes each had four total touchdowns in the rout.
Holmes only completed 10 passes in the game, but four of them went for touchdowns. He had a 79-yard touchdown pass to J.F. Thomas on Tarleton's second offensive play, then a 55-yard touchdown pass to Savon Rollison, a 20-yarder to Baxter Kirvenand a 27-yard scoring pass to Zimari Manning in the fourth quarter. In all, Holmes had 270 passing yards and 60 rushing yards while committing no turnovers.
Turner's career game helped spark the 35-0 stretch in the middle of the game for the Texans. Turner had four straight rushing touchdowns with runs of 5, 66, 18, and 5 yards on the night. His 66-yard run came with 27 seconds left in the first half to put the Texans up 35-14 at the break. Turner finished with 164 yards on the ground and his four rushing touchdowns tied a school record, becoming the sixth player in school history to score four non-passing touchdowns in a single game.
Manning was Holmes' go-to target once again, hauling in a team-high six passes for a game-high 120 yards. On the season, Manning has 32 receptions for 643 yards and nine touchdowns, leading the team in all categories.
The Texan defense continues to shine week in and week out. The defense held Texas A&M-Kingsville to just 79 rushing yards. It's the fifth time this season the defense has held its opponent under 100 yards rushing.
In addition to the run stop, the defense forced two turnovers in the game and won the turnover margin. Leading only 21-14 in the second quarter, EJ Speed sacked quarterback Koy Detmer Jr. and forced a fumble that was recovered by Sean Walton to set up a Turner touchdown run. Speed, the reigning Lone Star Conference Defensive Player of the Week, finished with eight tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and two quarterback hurries. The other turnover came in the third quarter when Ed Hayes intercepted his first pass of the season.
Ronell Wilson led the defense with 11 tackles in the game while Prince Robinson added 10 tackles with two coming for a loss. Tyrell Thompson and Gary Moore each had a sack as the Texans totaled three in the game. Sean Walton and Chris Radford led the game with five quarterback hurries each.
Tarleton will travel to No. 10 MSU Texas for a top-10 showdown on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m.