Texans upset Division I Stephen F. Austin in OT
NACOGDOCHES - A football team is made up of three parts: offense, defense, and special teams. Tarleton State showed excellence in all three areas here Saturday, as they defeated the NCAA Division I Sub-Division (formerly I-AA) Stephen F Austin Lumberjacks, 27-24, in overtime.
In a stadium where a hostile crowd surrounds the field and last seasonís first-team All-Southland Conference quarterback runs the show from under center, Tarleton bounced back from a 10-point halftime deficit to outscore the Jacks 17-7 in the second half, forcing overtime.
In the fourth quarter it was the special teams that took center stage for Tarleton.
Nathan Robinson returned a punt 79 yards to the end zone with 1:44 left in final stanza.
Kicker Stephen Arnold missed a 47-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining in the game, and overtime was necessary with the score tied, 24-24.
Tarletonís defense took the field first in the overtime period, and forced a fumble on the second play from scrimmage to give the offense a chance to score.
The Texans moved the ball 8 yards before Arnold was given an opportunity to redeem himself.
The sophomore from McKinney split the uprights on his attempt from 37 yards out to give the Texans a thrilling victory.
"I had to make it for the offense and defense," Arnold said. "They busted their butts to keep us in this game."
Arnold also stated that he knew it was good as soon as he kicked it.
Quarterback Scott Grantham showed improvement since his performance in the season opener, completing 16 of 22 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns. The first went to Antonio Brown, who caught three passes for 30 yards. Later, the Texan signal caller hit Travis Evans for a 53-yard score.
The Texans racked up 165 yards rushing, 118 of which came from sophomore Roderick Smith.
The name Phillips was popular on defense. Marcus Phillips led the Texans with seven solo tackles and six assists, while Ranardrick Phillips was second with three solos and seven assists.
Despite the defenseís efforts, they had problems containing SFA quarterback Danny Southall. He led the Lumberjacks with 133 yards on the ground, and racked up an additional 184 through the air.
The Jacks racked up nearly 100 more offensive yards than Tarleton, but it was the resilient Texans who came through in the end.
Tarleton travels to Durant, Okla. Saturday to take on Southeastern Oklahoma State. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.