By Warren Schorr
Huge game tonight for the Texas State Bobcats (5-4, 3-2) as they travel to Mobile, AL to face South Alabama (5-4, 4-3). The GoDaddy.com Bowl representatives are in the house tonight and this game has been called a “Play-in” game. Whichever team wins will become bowl eligible. With Arkansas State losing to Appalachian State, that opens up the third spot in Sun Belt Conference play.
South Alabama quarterback Brandon Bridge will not start, instead it will be back-up Hunter Vaughn. Vaughn on the season is 1-5, four yards and one interception.
Bobcat offense starts with a three and out. Two zone read options and a swing pass.
On the second drive, the Bobcat offense has a nice rhythm, gaining three first downs in three plays. Then back-to-back personal foul penalties. They have a third and 32. Bobcats are forced to punt.
Dilla Rosemond recovers Vaughn’s fumble. Bobcats take over at the USA 44. On the ensuing playing Fran takes a shot deep, but Jones can’t complete the pass. I like the aggressiveness. Running back Terrence Franks has a 16-yard carry and gets tackled at the 1. Running back Rob Lowe comes in and finishes off the one-yard run to give the Bobcats the first lead of the night. 7-0 with 4:22 left in the first.
Another fumble by Vaughn and the Bobcats recover again. This time it’s David Mayo on the recovery. They take over at the USA 32. They only can muster up a Will Johnson 41-yard field goal. Bobcats lead 10-0.
On the ensuing kick-off, Jaguars fumble again and the Bobcats recover. Bobcats can’t take advantage of the great field position as kicker Will Johnson misses a 38-yard field goal.
End of first: Bobcats 10, Jaguars 0.
South Alabama starts the quarter with the ball. Vaughn makes some nice plays to get them into Bobcat territory. They use trickery. The wide receiver does a throwback pass to Vaughn who scampers into the end zone. Bobcats lead 10-7 with 10:04 left. Momentum has changed after the Bobcats had three turnovers in the first quarter and only a 10 point lead.
Teams continue to trade punts.
Two big plays by tight end Ryan Carden: one a completion and one a huge down field block. Jones to tight end Lawrence White, 46-yard touchdown pass. Bobcats lead 17-7 with 4:17 left in the first half.
Jaguars move into Bobcat territory, but the Bobcat defense doesn’t break and Jaguars kick a 46-yard field goal, which is good. Bobcats lead 17-10 with 1:16 left in the half. Bobcats move the ball to the Jaguars 26-yard line with four seconds left. Johnson attempts a 43-yard field at the buzzer and misses it wide right. Bobcats lead 17-10 at the half.
South Alabama comes out firing, moving the ball all the way down to the Bobcat nine-yard line with plays through the air. Vaughn completes an eight-yard pass to Woodson as the Jaguars tie it up at 17 with 11:00 minutes left. New game on our hands.
Bobcats have the ball and look to get going here and it starts with a 21-yard pass from Jones to Carden. Huge conversion on a third and 18. Jones to wide receiver Brandon Smith. Bobcats can’t convert on a fourth and nine as the Jaguars take over. Jaguars have the ball at the Bobcat 34, heading into the fourth quarter, all tied at 17.
On the first play of the first quarter cornerback Craig Mager intercepts a Vaughn pass in the end zone. Bobcats take over at their own 20. Call on the field was overturned.
Jaguars drive continues and ends on a Timmons nine-yard touchdown run to regain the lead. Jaguars take their first lead of the game with 12:18 remaining 24-17.
Bobcats not taking advantage of the three turnovers in the first quarter is proving costly. Offense has been stagnate since the second quarter. David Mims intercepts a Vaughn pass and returns it to the USA 25-yard line. Huge play by Mims as the game looked to be getting away from the Bobcats.
Jones to wide receiver Ben Ijah, who fights for the first down at the 15-yard on third and eight. Bobcats can’t get in the end zone as Johnson converts a 30-yard field goal, cutting the USA lead to 24-20 with 4:21 left in the game.
Bobcats have the ball with 2:26 left at the USA 24. Down four, let’s see if the Bobcats can redo last year’s magic. Bobcats convert on a fourth and eight. Jones to Smith, and on third and 18 the Bobcats draw a pass interference to keep the drive alive.
On the final play of the Jones rolls to his left and looks for Ijah, but the pass is incomplete and the game ends. USA 24, TXST 20.