5 Texans find end zone in commanding win over Lamar

TSU Sports Information

STEPHENVILLE – Missing key guys and facing a unique style of play across the gridiron, the Tarleton Texans knew they'd need contributions from multiple players to find success against Lamar.

Success is exactly what they found, as five Texans scored touchdowns for the purple and white in Tarleton's 42-21 win over the Cardinals at Memorial Stadium in Stephenville on Saturday.

Derrel Kelly III was the lone Texan with multiple touchdowns, rushing for both of his scores in the second quarter. Tariq Bitson caught his seventh touchdown of the season, Ryheem Skinner rushed for his third, while Braelon Bridges and Cody Jones scored their first TDs of the year, boosting Tarleton back above .500 to 5-4 overall, 2-2 in WAC play. Lamar dropped its sixth straight game, falling to 2-7, 0-4 in the WAC.

Senior wide receiver J.F. Thomas had two catches for 34 yards in the Texans' opening drive that took them 75 yards down the field for the first score of the game during Saturday's contest against Lamar.

Tarleton held the heavy advantage in the passing game, led by Steven Duncan's 319-yard, 2 TD night. The Cardinals had just 84 yards through the air. The Texans also spent a lot of time in the red zone, something they've excelled at all year, scoring six times on their eight opportunities, with Lamar getting just one shot.

For the sixth time in nine games, the Texans marched right down the field on their opening drive for a touchdown, this time a Bitson 9-yard catch from Duncan. They went 75 yards on their first drive, with J.F. Thomas making up 34 of those on two catches. Lamar responded with a long drive of its own, capped off by a Chaz Ward 3-yard rush.

Bitson

On the next offensive play, Duncan was intercepted by Damian Alexander, breaking a streak of 104 straight throws without an interception, or a turnover for that matter, for the Texan signal-caller. Lamar capitalized on the rare mistake. Kirkland Banks scored a 27-yard touchdown from Daelyn Williams on the first play of the second quarter to put the Cardinals ahead 14-7.

Skinner

The Texans went on to score 28 unanswered points and didn't allow Lamar to chalk one on the scoreboard again until the fourth quarter. Kelley tied things up at 14-14 shortly after Banks' TD with a 2-yard scoring rush. Right about the two-minute mark in the second frame, Kelley scored again, this time a 3-yard touchdown run to put the Texans up 21-14 at halftime.

Bridges

Midway through the third, Skinner scampered for a 12-yard touchdown rush, and Bridges kicked off the final frame with a 2-yard TD run to put Tarleton up 35-14. On the ensuing Lamar drive, Jaylen Jackson broke free for a 42-yard score, but the Texans laid down the hammer on their next possession, as Duncan found a wide open Jones in the end zone from six yards out.

Duncan completed 21-of-32 passes for 319 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT. Over his past four games, he's compiled 1,167 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and one interception. He's got back-to-back 300+ yard games for the first time in his career.

Jones

Skinner was among seven total Texans to log a carry, leading the way with 33 yards and a TD. This was freshman RB Bridges' first game this season, and his first since Feb. 27 vs. Dixie State, due to injury. He finished with 31 yards and a score. Kelley recorded 25 yards with his pair of touchdowns.

Tight end Marvin Landy led the team in receiving with 91 yards, a career-high, on just three catches, an average of 30.3 yards per reception. Jones had three catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, the first of his career. Bitson had three catches, 32 yards and his TD.

The Texans were missing four of their top defenders Saturday among others, with no Ronnell Wilson, D.J. Harris, Zach Strong or Benjie Franklin. Wilson, Harris and Strong are the Texans' leading tacklers on the season.

Filling in for the two linebackers were Devin Sterling and ChadWick Thibodeaux, who had eight and six tackles, respectively. Sterling had 1.5 TFL. Hafford also had eight tackles to share the lead in the category. Linebacker Qua'Shawn Washington and defensive back Greg Eggleston Jr. each added six tackles. Tarleton had two sacks, one by Sean Walton and a shared sack between Chris Radford and Prince Umanmielen.

The Texans will head about 90 miles west for their final road game of the season, as they'll take on the Abilene Christian Wildcats on Saturday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. CT. With a win, Tarleton would lock up a winning season for the fourth straight season.