Both teams traded touchdowns and put up big points. In the end, the Statesmen came through in the clutch by defeating the Texans 38-35. DSU improved to 2-3, while Tarleton State fell to 2-3.
With the score tied 35-35 with around a minute to play, DSU's Kenny Barnes made the defensive play of the night as he intercepted a pass and returned it 36 yards to the Tarleton State 19-yard line.
The Statesmen took advantage of the field position as they were able to advance to the 9-yard line with four seconds left to play. DSU kicker Andrew Jones turned out to be clutch as he connected on a 33-yard field goal to push the Statesmen to the thrilling victory.
DSU actually trailed 28-15 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Statesmen battled back and outscored the Texans 23-7 in the last quarter of action. The game also marked the first time this year DSU has outscored its opponents in the second half. The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Statesmen and improved their road record to 2-0.
“You saw what this team has got inside of them,” an emotional Delta State head football coach Jamey Chadwell said. “The way they fought back here in the second half, and it went back and forth. Obviously, they made a lot of plays and we made plays. I’m proud of my guys. It’s a tough place to play. The Statesmen played with a lot of heart tonight.”
Jones had an exceptional night kicking and punting. He punted the ball five times and averaged 47 yards a punt with his longest punt at 62 yards. He was also 3-for-4 on PAT kicks to go with the game winning field goal.
Delta State’s offense piled up 411 total yards, while Tarleton State racked up 385 yards of offense.
Statesman quarterback Trevor Wooden had a solid overall game as he completed 12-of-18 passes for 223 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He also ran for 87 yards with two touchdowns and 2-point conversion. Erick Clayton caught two passes for 84 yards with a score, and Kevin Jackson caught four passes for 63 yards to lead DSU’s receivers. Running back Rondreas Truesdale provided some big yards running the ball for DSU as he racked up 56 yards with a touchdown on just five carries.
On defense, Rory Island stood tall for the Statesmen has he racked up seven solo tackles with six assists, followed by Diego Lubin with five solo tackles including a sack with two assists, C.J. Lester with three solos including a sack with four assists, Montavious Hill with five solos, two assists and an interception and Ixavier Triplett with four solos and four assists.
The Statesmen will return home on Saturday when they face the University of West Georgia Wolves in a Gulf South Conference showdown at 6 p.m. at Parker Field-McCool Stadium.