STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Things didn’t start out well for Eastern New Mexico University on Saturday, and they only got worse.
The Greyhounds fumbled the ball away on their first play from scrimmage against Tarleton State — one of three fumbles they lost in the game. On their second possession, junior quarterback Michael Benton suffered an apparent concussion and did not return.
The Texans held ENMU to 79 total yards, and rolled to a 48-0 Lone Star Conference South Division victory.
Sophomore running back Michael Sampson rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns and senior quarterback Richard Bartel completed 9-of-13 passes for 191 yards and three scores as the Texans (4-3, 3-0 South) extended their winning streak to four games.
Meantime, the Hounds (1-6, 0-4) lost their fifth game in a row.
The Texans took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards in just six plays, capped by Sampson’s 4-yard TD run. After an exchange of fumbles, Paul Williams finished off a 58-yard, 10-play march with the first of his two field goals, a 20-yarder coming late in the period.
Bartel threw 15-yard scoring passes to Jeremy Madkins in the second and third quarters, then found Dustin Pleasant on a 53-yard strike for a 34-0 lead midway through the third period.
Sampson added a 9-yard run on the final play of the third stanza, then took advantage of an ENMU fumble inside the 20 for Roderick Smith’s 13-yard scoring run early in the final period.
After ENMU linebacker Jeremy Mullins recovered a fumble by Sampson at the ENMU 24 on Tarleton’s second possession, Benton picked up a first down on a short run near midfield, but went down on a helmet-to-helmet collision with defensive back Ranardrick Phillips.
J.T. Thompson finished the game at quarterback.
Eastern crossed midfield only twice — each time for one play — until its final possession of the game. On fourth down from the Tarleton 36 with about 30 seconds left, senior Lee Price came up short on a 53-yard field goal attempt as the Hounds tried to break up the shutout.
Defensively, the Hounds gave up 439 yards. Linebacker Tim Ojeda was in on 12 tackles for ENMU, while cornerback Michael Fields had nine total tackles.
Price punted six times for the Hounds, including kicks of 51 and 60 yards. The latter was the longest punt for ENMU since Steven Todd got off a 65-yarder against Texas A&M-Commerce during the 2000 season.