A pair of special teams blunders proved costly for No. 4 Midwestern State in Saturday night's season opener at Tarleton's Memorial Stadium.
The Texans converted both into scores to come away with the 20-17 upset win.
It was the first season opening loss for the Mustangs during the Bill Maskill era and the first since MSU suffered a 34-13 loss at Texas State to open the 2000 season. Midwestern's last win in Stephenville also came later that season.
The first special teams miscue forced a momentum change after the Mustangs had rallied from a 7-0 first quarter deficit to take a 10-7 lead on Greg Saladino's 37-yard field goal with 8:37 to go in the third quarter.
Midwestern held the Texans to three-and-out on the next possession but junior returner Kendall Wrenn let the ball bounce twice inside the 10 before muffing it allowing Tarleton's Cameron Bridgewater to recover the ball at the 4-yard line.
Two plays later, Jerome Regal, who finished with a game-high 152 yards and two touchdowns, carried the ball in from a yard out to give the Texans 14-10 edge.
Tarleton State's Jamal Mays then blocked a Garrett Rhodes punt on the next possession that led to the first of two 25-yard field goals by Blake Barnes as the Texans would lead 20-10 with 9:30 to play.
The Mustangs rallied for a nine play, 75-yard drive culminated by a 6-yard scoring run by Brandon Kelsey to pull MSU to within 20-17 with 6:30 to play.
Midwestern eventually wrested the ball away from the Texans, but Kelsey's second interception of the game - by Marquis Wadley - ended the MSU's comeback chances.
Kelsey accounted for 244 yards of total offense including 71 on the ground while completing 16-of-32 passes for 173 yards.
Sophomore running back Jimmy Pipkin added 40 yards on eight carries while junior Keidrick Jackson had 32 yards on 13 totes.
Senior wideout Kendall Wrenn paced the receiving corps making four receptions for 83 yards.
Junior linebacker Gadrian Muse led the defense with 12 tackles while Antoine Morris added nine.
Andrew Power and Aaron Douthit tallied first half goals to lead No. 16-ranked Midwestern State to a 3-1 win over Colorado State-Pueblo Sunday afternoon at the MSU Soccer Field.
The win extended MSU's home field unbeaten streak which dates back to the 2007 season to 45 games, but the Thunderwolves created numerous problems for the Mustangs.
"You have to give them credit," MSU coach Doug Elder said. "They played hard. We have to expect everyone that comes here to know what playing here is all about so they are going to give you their best game."
Douthit was quick to a loose ball in the box in the game's 8th minute and tapped it Power, who laced his first goal of the season past CSU-P's Patrick Markis to give the Mustangs an early 1-0 lead.
The Mustangs struck again seven minutes later as senior forward David Freeland turned the corner down the left week and served a cross to Douthit, who volleyed it into the net for the two-game edge.
But the Thunderwolves battled back and controlled run of play through the start of the second half eventually pulling within a goal when Jon-Michael Krasovic came uncovered in front of the goal and headed the ball in to make the score 2-1.
"I told (the team) at halftime that they were going to come out, raise their level of play and come at us," Elder said. "We allowed them to do that by not responding to the energy."
Midwestern, however, persevered and junior forward Griff Stratford put the game away with a goal in the 89th minute.
The Mustangs' back line permitted a season-high 10 shots while MSU posted 14 shots including a 7-4 edge in shots on frame.
"We didn't create enough chances," Elder said. "Our decision making sometimes is not always the best but that's normal for a young team. We're sitting at 3-0 so I can't complain too much but I just know we need to get better."
Midwestern hits the road for a pair of tough regional matches next week. The Mustangs take on Texas A&M International Friday night at 7 p.m. in Laredo before battling St. Edward's Sunday afternoon in Austin.
Colorado State-Pueblo drops to 2-2 on the season.
Midwestern State were pretty much level with unbeaten Southwestern Oklahoma throughout the finale of the Fischer Classic at Tom Thompson Field.
But the Bulldogs were able to find the net twice in the second half to come away with a 2-0 win over the reeling Mustangs, who fell to 0-4 for the first time in program history.
"We played really well," MSU coach Jeff Trimble said. "It came down to where we had two point-blank chances and we didn't convert them. They had one good chance and converted it."
Freshman Ashley Cottrell had the first of the opportunities when she took a pass off of the end line in the 41st minute of the first half.
"She trapped it and turned on the girl and it just went wide." Trimble said.
Southwestern Oklahoma drew first blood on freshman Cori Kelly's first collegiate goal in the 65th minute before Midwestern had another golden opportunity to notch the equalizer in the 68th minute.
Senior midfielder Maddie Fraser struck a beautiful ball to the far post but junior forward Mickey Brown's header faded wide.
"They sat in and let us come at them," Trimble said. "I felt like we really controlled game."
The Mustangs outshot SWOSU by a 10-9 margin and took five corner kicks to four for the Bulldogs.
Southwestern Oklahoma put the game away with the help of what Trimble described as an own goal off of misclear in the 86th minute. It was, however, credited as Miranda Belaezentis' second tally of the season.
"They crossed it on a counter attack and we tried to clear it and it went into our goal," Trimble said.
The Mustangs continue to struggle with injuries as two more joined the M*A*S*H squad leaving with injuries during the match.
"We're not a complete team right now," Trimble said clearly shaking away any injury excuses. "It's very hard to find consistency when you have to shuffle players in and out of the lineup. We have players having to play three positions in a game but we're just doing that out of necessity."
Midwestern kicks of Lone Star Conference play with a pair of road matches at Angelo State and Incarnate Word on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
"We've got our work cut out for us," Trimble said.
Midwestern State's Shelbi Stewart and Caitlin Wallace had 10 kills each in Saturday's UCCS Invitational finale but it wasn't enough to overcome a bullish Colorado-Colorado Springs attack as the Mountain Lions came away with a 25-17, 25-22, 25-19 victory.
The loss sent the Mustangs to 2-6 on the season, while UC-Colorado Springs moved to 5-3.
Midwestern State opens Lone Star Conference play with road matches against Tarleton State and Angelo State on Friday and Saturday.
The Mustangs struggled to a .150 team hitting percentage despite the efforts from Stewart and Wallace. And while the defensive total numbers sparkled as Taylor Parker notched 17 digs and Michelle Blount and Kristan Aduddell had three total blocks each, it just wasn't enough to slow down the Mountain Lions' attack.
UCCS' Nikki Kinzer put down 12 kills without an error in 23 attacks (.522) while Kim Catlett added seven kills to lead the attack that hit .302 as a squad.
Aduddell had 28 set assists to go along with 11 digs and four kills to polish off an all-around performance.
Stewart completed the double-double with 10 digs.
No. 11 Midwestern State sat out nine runners but still managed a fourth-place showing at the East Central Tiger Chase Saturday at the Pontotoc Complex.
"I knew going in that it would be tough considering how many runners we were holding out," MSU coach Koby Styles said. "But I thought we had a team that would place pretty well. This team is still really young. They are still getting used to our training style and especially with racing this distance."
Freshman Tylo Farrar claimed a seventh-place showing finishing the 5K course in 20:30 to lead the Mustangs who finished fourth as a team with 104 total points trailing East Central (Okla.) (28), Southwestern Oklahoma (65) and Southern Arkansas (75).
"I was proud of the way Tylo ran," Styles said of the Spearman High product. "We still have a long way to go, but the key was getting these girls out to this competition and hopefully it will help them later in the season."
Senior Heather Owens clocked a 21:17 for an 8th-place showing followed by freshman Carrie Finson (21:55/27th), senior Nadia Majed (21:58/28th), freshman Danielle Androes (22:57/40th) and sophomore Andrea Giron (48th/24:04).
"They are getting better and this experience will help them," Styles said. "It takes a while for your body to adapt to the distances we run and then to competition.
Midwestern State competes in the Missouri Southern Stampede Saturday in Joplin, which is the site of the 2012 NCAA II Championships in November.