STEPHENVILLE – It didn’t come easy as they were on the wrong end of a 17-0 ballgame but Texas A&M University-Kingsville football (5-3, 3-3 LSC) won its third consecutive Lone Star Conference contest, blanking Tarleton State University (4-4, 4-2 LSC) in the second half en route to a 21-17 come from behind victory Saturday evening at Memorial Stadium. With the win, the Javelinas improve to .500 in conference play.
The game-winning drive was the longest of the game as Tarleton State pinned the ball inside the one. The Hogs drove the length of the field on an eight-play, 99-yards.
Alex Kuyinu finished with a game-high 4.0 sacks for 16 yards and Caleb Valentine added 2.0 sacks for nine yards and 2.5 tackles for loss for 10 yards, as did ZeMarcus Green. All in all, the Hogs tallied 8.0 total sacks and 13.0 tackles for loss. Greg Pitre rushed for 95 yards on 19 carries and the play of the game late in the fourth quarter had to be a 42 yard rush by Luis Lopez after what looked to originally be a one yard gain. Lopez picked up 61 yards on the ground. Myles Carr tossed two touchdowns and finished 22-of-35. He connected with tight end Stehly Reden twice as the big fella finished with three receptions for 56 yards and two scores. Kyle Plum added six catches for 59 yards.
The Javelinas were on the wrong end of a 14-0 game through the opening 15 minutes. Despite trailing by two touchdowns, Carlos Cueller recovered a fumble to end the first and give the Hogs a drive start.
It was all defense as Texas A&M-Kingsville limited Tarleton State to a field goal to end a nine-play, 70-yard drive, but the Blue and Gold went into the half with a 17-0 deficit.
Carr went 8-of-16 with two interceptions in the first half and Tristan Hernandez pinned a punt inside the 20. Valentine finished the first half with three tackles and a sack.
Julio De la Garza got the Hogs on the scoreboard with a 27-yard field goal with 6:56 remaining in the third to cut the deficit to 17-3. Moments later, A&M-Kingsville added another field goal off the leg of De la Garza. The field goal was his 19th of the season, tying De la Garza with Neal LaHue for fifth on the school’s all-time field goals list with 20.
It was night and day as the Hog defense forced two early punts and the offense scored quickly as Carr found Reden for the first of two touchdowns with 12:49 remaining. In the drive, Pitre rushed for 45 yards as Sean Landez returned the punt 18 yards to the TSU-49.
After forcing a punt, Carr connected with Reden yet again, this time on a 29-yard touchdown with 2:36 left and De la Garza drained the PAT for a 21-17 lead. Despite a late scare, A&M-Kingsville clinched the victory to improve to 3-3 in LSC play.
The Javelinas host Eastern New Mexico University on Legends at Kingsville Community Appreciation Weekend Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at Javelina Stadium.
Texas A&M University-Kingsville concluded its season at the 2016 Cross Country Lone Star Conference Championships at Centennial Park in Commerce, Texas.
The Hogs finished fifth on the men's side scoring 138 points and an average time of 26:58.40 in the 8K run, while the women finished eighth with 175 points and an average time of 24:49.0 in the 6K run.
Shane Stehle of Orange Grove placed 38th for the Javelina men. He had the team’s fourth-best time in the event.