ADA, Okla. – Sometimes a driving rainstorm can be a great equalizer.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t for East Central University Saturday at Norris Field as 19th-ranked Tarleton State took advantage of three lost ECU fumbles and rolled up 322 yards of its own, despite the conditions, and defeat the Tigers 38-6 in a Lone Star Conference crossover football clash.
Tailback Roderick Smith ran for 144 yards on 13 carries and scored three touchdowns to spark the Texan offense. Smith had TD runs of 15, 28 and 68 yards as Tarleton rolled up 322 yards of offense, despite the soaking storm, and improved to 3-0 on the season.
Tarleton quarterback Scott Grantham was 6-of-11 passing for 101 yards and one touchdown on a 26-yard pass to Devin Guinn on the Texans’ first offensive play of the game after an ECU fumble. Guinn finished with three receptions for 56 yards and the TD.
The Tigers, who fumbled the ball six times and lost three, dropped to 0-3 on the season. The Texans fumbled three times and lost one.
Tarleton also received a 27-yard field goal out of Garrett Lindholm and also recovered a fumble for a touchdown (by Daniel Collins).
ECU quarterback Marcus Johnson was 8-of-13 passing for 122 yards and a third-quarter touchdown to Keewan King on a 12-yarder.
The Tigers were limited to 169 yards of total offense.
ECU linebacker Curtis Niccum had five tackles, including a quarterback sack, while Tait Langston, another Tiger linebacker, led the way with six tackles, including four solo-stops.
Tarleton defensive end Alonzo Horton posted a game-leading seven tackles, including six solo-efforts, along with a sack and two other stops for lost yardage. Collins was credited with six tackles.
The Texans scored 17 first-quarter points before jumping out to a 31-0 halftime lead.
ECU then marched 63 yards in eight plays for its only score of the game to open the third quarter as Johnson hooked up with King on the TD pass. The big play of the drive was a 34-yard aerial from Johnson to Joshua Maldanado on a third-and-three from the Tiger 44. Maldanado finished with two catches for 49 yards.
Tarleton hosts Central Oklahoma next Saturday at 7 p.m. while ECU visits Angelo State for a 6 p.m. kickoff.