A disappointing outing for the Bobcats as they fall, 21-14, to Louisiana-Monroe in their first Sun Belt conference game at home. Penalties and dropped passes were the undoing in a game capped off by a crucial ejection of wide receiver Andy Erickson in the 4th quarter after his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
During the game, Head Coach Dennis Franchione made two interesting decisions. First, Franchione benched the presumed season quarterback, Tyler Jones, for Tyler Arndt after Jones threw two interceptions, both returned for touchdowns. Then, late in the game, Franchione made the controversial decision to not burn any timeouts on Monroe’s final drive that ended in a touchdown.
“I thought we would hold them and it could come down to a field goal. I was going to ice the kicker three straight times, like we did before the half.”
– Coach Franchione
Monroe would end up scoring the game-winning touchdown with under a minute to go in the game. Texas State finished the game with all three of their timeouts.
The defense rebounded after their underwhelming performance last week vs Louisiana-Lafayette holding Monroe to 192 total yards.
But the big question of the game is a familiar one to this season, who is the quarterback? Tyler Jones believed to have the job locked up since the Wyoming game. But two iffy outings vs conference opponents caused Franchione to go back to senior Tyler Arndt.
So who will it be? Who should it be? Let’s compare.
Jones vs Arndt
By the numbers:
Tyler Jones: 30/48 (62.5%), 329 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs
Rushing: 20 carries, 114 yards, 0 TDs
Tyler Arndt: 45/81 (55.56%), 447 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
What’s it mean?
The numbers speak for themselves. Arndt was expected to be the best passer out of all of Texas State’s quarterbacks. However, he’s struggled with the deep ball and, though not his fault, Franchione’s system is still proving to be a tough fit for him. Jones has shown the ability to move the offense and his running undoubtedly makes Franchione’s Spread/Pistol option more threatening.
If you’ve seen the Bobcat offense with Jones and Arndt, you notice a contrasting difference. Jones is the ideal quarterback for Franchione’s offense (i.e. Stephen McGee) but Arndt is the more trustworthy decision maker.
I understand Franchione’s decision, I didn’t like it but I understood it. Jones threw two interceptions and the defense was playing great so the game was within reach. Franchione wanted to see if Arndt could manage the game and bring the team back into it. It almost worked. Almost.
But at some point a decision has to be made. Do you run with the true freshman and let him play and learn through his mistakes? Or do you give the keys back to the experienced Arndt?
My personal opinion is to roll with Tyler Jones. This was not a fluke. At this point of the season you have to go with the player that gives your offense the highest production ceiling and the best chance to win, and at this point, I believe that’s Jones.