texas state bobcats

Big Plays hurt the Bobcats

by Trevor Sartin
Sports Reporter

On a night when the “whiteout” came up just a bit short, so did the Bobcats. As 27,252 people packed into Bobcat Stadium, there was a general sea of white, with some maroon mixed in every now and then. However, it wasn’t a perfect white out, just like it wasn’t a perfect game for the Bobcats. The high-powered offense of Southern Miss proved to be too much for the Texas State defenders.

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Photo by Kiersten Ehr

Similar to most games, this game consisted of both teams making big runs, (a lot of points scored in a row) and grabbing the momentum. Southern Miss came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, opening up with a 21-3 lead early in the second quarter. The Bobcats weren’t shaken though, as they scored 22 straight points to lead the Golden Eagles 25-21 at half.

Then it was Southern Miss’ turn again. Two straight touchdowns coming out of the half, and the Golden Eagles are ahead once again, 35-25. It was disappointing third quarter for the Bobcats, as they were outscored 21-3. The Golden Eagles scored another touchdown in the fourth quarter to take a commanding 49-28 lead.

Just like they had done all game, Texas State was able to bounce and back and cut the lead to seven. That was about as close as they got, because Southern Miss scored another touchdown that really put the Bobcats out of it. They managed to score a safety and another touchdown in garbage time, which brought them within six points. The Bobcats ultimately lost to Southern Miss, 56-50.

Photo Credit: Kiersten Ehr
Photo by Kiersten Ehr

Now let’s look at why they lost. Pointing fingers is never good, but if one had to point a finger, it would have to be at the defense. Although the defense did have some good plays, their lack of defensive stops and poor tackling is what allowed Southern Miss to stay out of reach. The defense allowed 603 yards, on 73 plays. Do the math, and it comes out to an average of 8.4 yards per play. It is very tough to win football games when you allow over 600 yards of offense for the opposing squad.

In addition to the yardage totals, three of the touchdown’s were 50 yards or more. Two of them were running plays, and one was passing. This cannot happen if you want to win games. The defense struggled to make tackles in the open field all night, and it showed on these big plays.

The defense also failed to stiffen up and hold again the Southern Miss offense. The Golden Eagles were 9-15 on third down plays, as well as 2-3 on fourth down. It seemed like every third down the Southern Miss offense would find an open receiver over the middle of the field for an easy first down. Then when it came to fourth down, our defensive line wasn’t able to generate any push, as the Golden Eagles just handed the ball off and rolled forward for an easy five or six yards.

Although this was a good offense they were facing, Texas State’s defense will be facing offenses very similar throughout conference play. Hopefully, they are still working out some kinks, and the defense will be ready to go this Saturday again Houston.

Now for some good news. Our offense played extremely well against an underrated Southern Miss defense. Our offense gained 591 yards on Southern Miss, 281 on the ground and 310 through the air. Tyler Jones was tearing it up last night, as he completed 31 passes for 310 yards and 3 TD’s, and rushed 18 times for 184 yards and 2 TD’s. It was a very impressive performance for the Junior Quarterback, as he was able to read the defense and decide when to attack and when to check down. Rob Lowe also rushed for 93 yards with a touchdown as well. Texas State had three receivers with over 70 yards. Jafus Gaines had 78 yards, C.J. Best had 74 yards, and Demun Mercer had 72 yards.

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Photo by Kiersten Ehr

Our offense looked really sharp, as Tyler Jones was commanding the Bobcats down the field. The zone read was really effective, and the shots down field seemed very appropriate. In the past, many have criticized the play calling for the Bobcats, but it seemed better in this game.

Next Saturday the Bobcats will head down to Houston to take on the Cougars, in what should be a very entertaining game. I think the biggest concern has to be whether or not our defense will be able to slow down Greg Ward Jr. and high-powered Cougar offense. Our offense should be able to put some points on the board, but will our defense be able come up with enough stops to help us get the victory? It will be another crucial game for a team seeking their first bowl appearance ever.

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