COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UTPB looks to make strong impact in home return

It has been 22 months since the UTPB football team has played on its home field at Ratliff Stadium.

The Falcons are hoping to make up for lost time.

UTPB won that last contest, a whitewashing of Texas A&M-Kingsville that saw the program make national news with the John O’Kelly-to-Chris Hoad handoff.

Now, the Falcons are creating highlights with their success from start to finish.

Lead by the steady play of quarterback Clayton Roberts, UTPB will host West Texas A&M in the Lone Star Conference opener at 6 p.m. at Ratliff Stadium.

This will be the first meeting between the teams since October, 2019.

The Buffs chose to play an abbreviated fall schedule in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, while UTPB when 5-0 in its spring schedule, with all the games played at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland.

“It’s always exciting to play at home,” UTPB head coach Justin Carrigan said. “This is a different West Texas team than we’ve seen in the past.

“They have a new defensive coordinator since the last time we played, so we just need to focus on what we do.”

The Falcons (1-0) come into the game on the heels of a season-opening victory against Southwest Baptist last week in Bolivar, Mo., which extended the team’s winning streak to seven games.

Roberts finished 18-of-29 passing for 244 yards and two touchdowns against the Bearcats, with Kobe Robinson catching seven passes for 123 yards in the victory.

Running back Nathan Tilford, in his first start for the Falcons since transferring from the University of Arizona, gained 97 yards on 20 carries.