ACU was driving deep in TSU territory for what looked like a potential score, but Mitchell Gale's pass was intercepted at the Texan 3. Gale threw only three INTs last season but was picked off twice tonight.
Morgan Lineberry's 27-yard field goal with 6:15 left in the game closed the Tarleton lead to 24-20.
ACU's defense rose up, sacking TSU QB Stephens on consecutive plays with about 3 minutes remaining, forcing the Texans to punt.
Then, The Drive.
Starting at his own 34 with 2:01 remaining, Mitchell Gale led a gutsy march downfield, completing clutch passes along the way to Darian Hogg for 39 yards and Taylor Gabriel for 16 yards. On first and 10 from the Tarleton 23-yard line with 1:09 remaining, Gale scrambled up the middle before completing a shuttle pass to senior running back Daryl Richardson, who scampered in for a touchdown. Lineberry's PAT was good, and ACU had climbed what had looked for all the world as a too-tall mountain, leading 27-24.
The Texans were not through. Stephens led his team down to the ACU 5-yard line, and with 8 seconds left, chose to run one more play instead of attempting a game-tying field goal. Nate Bailey, a senior cornerback, intercepted the pass at the 3 as time expired, preserving the win.