Midwestern State junior Jake Glover passed for 174 yards and a pair of second half touchdowns but the 13th-ranked Mustangs' comeback effort fell short in 27-24 loss to Tarleton State at the Lone Star Football Festival at AT&T Stadium.
It was the second consecutive season opening loss for the Mustangs, who also fell to the Texans 20-17 last season.
Tarleton State churned out 380 yards of total offense scoring 27 consecutive points on the strength of a pair of Jake Fenske TD passes (8, 18) as the Texans surged to a 27-10 lead after Jerome Regal raced 42 yards down the sidelines with 14:47 to play.
"We really needed a spark tonight and Jake provided that," MSU coach Bill Maskill said. "We are fortunate to have two quality quarterbacks and it just so happened that Glover was able to pick up (Shavodrick) Beaver tonight. Next week, it might be the other way around."
Beaver staked the Mustangs to an early lead hitting Dante Taylor on a wheel route for a 34-yard scoring strike with just under 6 minutes to play in the first quarter, but MSU struggled its way to 138 yards of total offense.
MSU turned a fumble into a 25-yard field goal by Greg Saladino to push the lead to 10-0 before the momentum turned on an MSU fumble late in the first half allowing Aaron Doyle to score from 2 yards out to give the Texans their first points of the game with less than a minute to play in the first half.
Glover, who connected on 11-of-18 passes, provided momentum working free on a scramble to find a wide open Jalen Moore for a 44-yard touchdown to pull the Mustangs to within 27-17.
After defensive hold, Glover hit Keidrick Jackson on a 42-yard screen pass then hit Statron Jones for another 11-yard pick up to the Tarleton 12-yard line. Three plays later, he found Sanders on post route to close the advantage to a field goal with 7:56 to play.
MSU's Neiko Conway appeared to have come up with an interception on Tarleton's next possession but was whistled for a pass interference call. But Elijah Winston blocked Brandon Barnes' 41-yard field goal attempt to give Midwestern possession with 2:39 remaining.
The Mustangs worked the ball into Texan territory but a 4th-down sack by Jared Thames ended MSU comeback efforts.
Jackson ran for 46 yards on 17 carries as the Mustangs were limited to 75 rushing yards, while Beaver rushed for 33 yards on eight carries.
Junior Joe Sanders paced the receiving corps with 102 yards on eight catches, while Moore had four receptions for 69 yards.
Defensive backs Taiyon Jackson and Marqui Christian had 13 tackles each to pace the defense.
Midwestern State hits the road to take on West Georgia Saturday in Carrollton. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.