Buffs too tough for Texans

No.23 West Texas A&M broke open a 7-7 game in the second quarter for a 41-21 victory Saturday night at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium over visiting Tarleton State. With the win, the Lone Star Conference leading Buffaloes improved to 4-1 on the year and 3-0 in conference play. Tarleton State fell to 2-2 on the year and 2-2 in league play.

â??I saw two tough teams out there tonight, it was a very physical game and two really good teams squaring off against each other and the Buffaloes came through,â?? head coach Don Carthel said. â??They answered the bell in the third quarter as Tarleton came after us and we came back and putting points on and kept our composure and the lead.â??

Buffalo quarterback junior Dustin Vaughan threw 23 of 37 for 331 yards and four touchdowns, while senior running back Khiry Robinson had a season-high 125 yards on the ground on 18 carries and had a 90 receiving yards and a touchdown. Junior wide receiver Torrence Allen had a game-high 104 yards receiving with two touchdowns.

Defensively, junior linebacker Kyle Voss had a game-high 12 tackles with five solo stops and seven assisted and one tackle for loss. Junior linebacker Taylor McCuller had 11 tackles, while junior defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks had a team-high three tackles for loss with a sack.

Tarleton State was led by running back Vaughan Smith with a game-high 134 yards on the ground on 24 carries and a score. Quarterback Aaron Doyle was 15 of 27 for 196 yards and a score. Arthur Buckingham had a team-high four receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown. Three Texans had eight total tackles each to lead the team, while Rufus Johnson had three tackles for loss and six total stops.

The Texans scored first on a six play, 52-yard drive using 2:12 on the first quarter clock as Smith scampered in from 15 out for a 7-0 lead.

Redshirt freshman Jarrian Rhone returned the kick 79 yards for the Buffaloes to the TSU 15 as Vaughan hooked up with junior Trevor Hammargren for a 15-yard strike and a 7-7 score.

After a costly Doyle fumble at the WT 44 early in the second quarter, Vaughan threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Allen for a 14-7 lead which the Buffs would never relinquish. The first two scoring drives for the Buffs were 2 plays, two touchdowns and 15 seconds of time.

Junior kicker Sergio Castillo, Jr., kicked the first of his two field goals from 22-yards out on the next WT possession.

WT came up with its third blocked kick and second blocked punt of the season as junior linebacker Eric Finefeuiaki came untouched on the Isaac Arellano punt setting the Buffs up at the TSU 14. Vaughan and company went two plays for 14 yards and 11 seconds as Robinson caught a 14-yard pass for a 24-7 lead with 2:28 remaining in the half.

Tarleton State came out in the third quarter and put together the first of two scoring drives to get back into the contest. On 3rd and 5 from the WT 45, Doyle threw a 45-yard touchdown to Buckingham for a 24-14 score.

WT added a field goal from Castillo, Jr., on its next drive for a 27-14 lead, but TSU had the answer once again, cutting the deficit to 27-21 with 4:45 remaining in the third.

A back-breaking, unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on TSU kept the ensuing WT drive alive as the Buffs went 77 yards in 4:42 on nine plays for a redshirt freshman running back Geremy Alridge touchdown and a 34-31 lead to answer the Texans right back.

WT added its final score of the game as it drove a season-high 93 yards in 2:22 on five plays as Vaughan capped the win with a 35-yard strike to Allen for his second score of the game and a 41-21 lead.

"I thought we ran the ball pretty well both halves and I thought we had a really good mixture of run-pass and play action pass on offense,â?? Carthel added. â??Defensively we played a great first half and the third quarter they had some momentum and made some plays, but they are a good team and great athletes and they are going to make some plays. I was glad we took the game under control in the fourth quarter and came away with a win.â??

The Buffaloes return to the road next Saturday at 6 p.m. at Angelo State, before returning home Oct. 13 for Homecoming versus rival Abilene Christian.