No. 4 Tarleton extended the nation's longest home winning streak with a 35-21 homecoming win over No. 20 Texas A&M-Commerce in front of a record crowd at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.
The Texans improve to 7-0 on the year and are now the lone undefeated Lone Star Conference team, moving to 5-0 in league play. In front of school-record 11,513 fans, the Texans have now won 12 straight home games - the longest streak in the nation - and also extended its regular season win streak to 17 in a row.
For the second straight week, the Texans got off to a fast start by scoring 14 points in the first seven minutes of play. Khalil Banks scored the game's first points on a 2-yard touchdown run - giving the junior back nine touchdowns this season, which leads the LSC. Banks finished with 78 yards on 19 carries.
On the ensuing drive, A&M-Commerce's pass was dropped behind the line of scrimmage and the fumble was scooped up by Tre Johnson and returned for a 30-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead through one quarter. The Texans have now outscored their opponents 115-17 in the first quarter this season and haven't allowed a first-quarter touchdown in the last six games.
After the Lions scored midway through the second quarter to cut the deficit in half, the Texans had an answer. Zimari Manning has been the answer all season and he proved it once again tonight. Manning hauled in a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Holmes for a 21-7 lead, which they took to the locker room.
It was the first of three touchdowns for Manning on the night, who also had touchdown catches of 2 and 39 yards. The all-American wide-out hauled in seven catches for 131 yards with the three scores. He now has 12 touchdowns on the season, matching his total from last year in just seven games. Holmes was equally as productive, throwing for 255 yards on 14-of-21 passing and three scores along with 33 rushing yards.
Hanging on to a 14-point game and A&M-Commerce driving, redshirt freshman defensive back Kaylon Horton made the biggest play of his young career. Horton intercepted Lion quarterback Miklo Smalls in the end zone to preserve the two-score lead. Horton's first career interception led to Manning's third touchdown and the largest lead of the game at 35-14.
The nation's No. 2-ranked offense had another impressive showing, posting 455 yards (255 pass, 200 rush). The Texan defense came in ranked No. 8 nationally and held the Lion offense to just 64 yards rushing and only 20 yards to Commerce running backs.
Jai Edwards led the Texan defense with a team-high 11 tackles (7 solo) while the three-time LSC Defensive Player of the Week B.J. Jefferson had eight tackles, two for loss and a sack. Jefferson was one of three Texans with a sack, joining Erick Willis and Jordan Wells.