And we’re off! The 2013 football season is underway.
Texas State’s much improved defense was put on display as the Bobcats kickoff their 2013 football season with a 22-15 win against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
Heading into their first game of the season the Bobcats were looking to put their 4-8 record in 2012 behind them. Head coach Dennis Franchione said this year’s team has a different mentality compared to last season’s.
“I think last year, I would characterize our players maybe as hopeful,” said Franchione during Sun Belt Media Day in July. “This year, I would characterize them more as hungry.”
After finishing nationally ranked 100th in points allowed and 119th in yards allowed many were looking to see a reinvigorated Bobcat defense and that’s exactly what they saw. It took nine possessions for Southern Miss to even get on the board, and by that time, the Bobcat defense had forced three fumbles with cornerback Craig Mager taking one back 44 yards for the first touchdown of the season.
Texas State’s front seven looked flat out superior to Southern Miss’ offensive line. Southern Miss quarterback Allan Bridgford threw for an impressive 377 yards but he also faced a relentless pass rush that caused two interceptions, both to junior linebacker David Mayo in the fourth quarter.
The new-look defense forced six turnovers against Southern Miss. It may be the first game of the season but forcing turnovers is something the Bobcats simply were not doing last season. The team forced seven fumbles all year in 2012 (Ranked 114th) and already five on Saturday. Let that sink in Bobcat fans.
However, the offense was a slightly different story. Very conservative and at times shaky, it was clear that Franchione was using this game as the final test for both quarterback candidates, Tyler Arndt and Jordan Moore.
The offense played it very safe when it became clear that the defense could hold off the Golden Eagle passing attack. Screens, five yard routes, and inside runs summarized the simplicity of the play-calling for Texas State.
Perhaps Franchione played it too conventional for too long a time as the team was held to only 118 yards of total offense through three quarters, including just 18 in the third, allowing Southern Miss to claw at the deficit. The Golden Eagles got the score to 14-12, Texas State, heading into the fourth.
After Southern Miss took a 15-14 lead mid-way through the fourth quarter it was senior Tyler Arndt who got the green-light to lead what would be the game winning drive. Even after a critical intentional grounding penalty, Arndt kept his poise and led the Bobcat offense down the field before capping it off with a 17 yard touchdown run that would be the difference in Texas State’s 22-15 victory.
A great win to start the season! It is not hard to already see the improvement the team has made in one year. Bobcat fans hope this is the beginning of a special season for the Texas State University football team!
Texas State – 22
Southern Miss – 15
- David Mayo and Craig Mager are making an impact VERY early for this team. Both are huge contributors in the defense’s new identity.
- This game was one (uncharacteristically) dropped pass by Brandon Smith from being 21-3 late in the game. Don’t let the close score fool you too much.
- The quarterback spot is Tyler Arndt’s to lose now in my opinion. This is despite Franchione not voicing favoritism toward either player. Moore has the athleticism to run the system, but is just too inexperienced at this point.
- Learn the name Chris Nutall. Tonight’s stats don’t say enough. Tough workhorse running-back that could see the majority of the carries this season.