Regal, Texans rush past No. 4 Midwestern

Jerome Regal

Sophomore Jerome Regal rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns and Stephenville product Blake Barnes kicked two second-half field goals to lift Tarleton State (1-0) to a 20-17 upset of No. 4 Midwestern State (0-1) at Tarleton Memorial Stadium Saturday night.

Tarleton won its sixth straight dating back to the middle of last season while Midwestern lost a season opener for the first time since 2000. It was also the Lone Star Conference opener for both teams, with Midwestern trying to defend its 2011 league championship.

Regal scored on a three yard run in the first half and Tarleton never trailed after his second TD, a one-yard plunge that made it 14-10 in the third quarter. The score was set up when Tarleton recovered a punt that was muffed by Kendall Wren inside the Mustang 10 on one of several tide-turning special teams plays.

Speedster Jamal Mays blocked a Midwestern punt on the Mustangs' next possession and Barnes hit a 25-yard chip shot to make it 17-10. He hit from the same distance with 9:30 left in the game for a 10-point Texan edge.

Kelsey rallied the Mustangs for one late score, but couldn't get the second. He kept the ball on an option for a six-yard TD to finish the scoring with 6:30 left, then was picked off by Tarleton linebacker Marquis Wadley with 47 seconds remaining.

Kelsey lobbed a 10 yard scoring pass to Ricky Collins on the Mustangs' first possession of the second half, but it was negated by a holding penalty on offensive lineman Justen Tyler. The drive ended with a 37-yard field goal by Greg Saladino and the Mustangs led 10-7.

The score was tied at the break because Tarleton's Isaac Arellano missed a pair of first half field goals before Barnes took over. Midwestern answered Regal's TD early in the second with a one-yard TD dive by Keidrick Jackson with just more than two minutes remaining in the half.

Aaron Doyle was 18-26 passing for 137 yards for the Texans while Kelsey, widely considered a Harlon Hill contender entering the season, was just 16-32 for 173 yards. Kelsey tossed two interceptions, Doyle threw one and neither passed for a touchdown. Kelsey rushed for 72 yards, Doyle for 55.

Jackson rushed for 1,344 yards last year but was limited to just 37 on 13 carries by the Tarleton defense, which was led by Wadley with 12 tackles. Returning All-American defensive back Dashaun Phillips had the Texans' other interception.

Tarleton makes its first visit to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington next Saturday for a 4 p.m. showdown with longtime LSC rival Abilene Christian. No. 9 ACU was upset 16-13 by No. 24 Texas A&M-Kingsville Saturday night.

Follow Brad Keith on Twitter @etsports