by Kiersten Ehr
SAN MARCOS, TEXAS – Two Touchdown passes from Quarterback Tyler Jones to Tightend Lawrence White led Texas State over UL-Monroe 16-3 Thursday night to close out Texas State’s home schedule and break a three game losing streak. The Bobcats recognized 27 seniors before the opening kickoff and debuted black jerseys for the fans and a national ESPNU audience.
“The guys loved them,” head coach Dennis Franchione said. “It was a good change up for them and a great surprise for them. I think it got them hyped up a little bit before the game because they didn’t know before they walked into the locker room.”
Texas State moved to 3-7 on the year and 2-4 in the conference.
“It was a good win for the Bobcats,” Franchione said. “I’m proud of the guys and I’m happy for the seniors to finish on a victory at home. It meant a lot to all of them and it was just good to get a win. It’s been a while.”
Bobcat kicker Lumi Kaba put the first points on the board with a 23-yard field goal in the first quarter. UL-Monroe tied it at 3-3 before the Cats struck with a 20-yard pass from Jones to white with 2:42 left in the first half.
Texas State struggled to keep a consistent passing game and rhythm against the UL-Monroe defense. Kaba missed a chip shot field goal before the half and a 42-yard attempt early in the fourth. Kaba redeemed himself with three punts that went at least 50 yards to keep the Warhawks out of good field position.
“Offensively, we kind of grounded ugly but found a way and did what we needed to do” Franchione said. “I thought we kicked off and punted well, but it was adventures in field goal kicking.
The Texas State defense only allowed 181 yards in keeping UL-Monroe win-less in Sun Belt action, which is the fewest yards allowed since head coach Dennis Franchione returned to Texas State in 2011.
“I thought the defense played a nice game with their offense being limited with injuries,” Franchione said. “We held them to less than 200 yards, and when you hold anybody to that today, you’ve done a nice job.”
Senior Free Safety, Aaron Shaw provided the defensive play of the night with a 73-yard interception return that ended just short of a pick-six touchdown. “It was a long run and I got tired and caught a cramp in my hamstring at the end of it,” Shaw said. “I was disappointed that I didn’t take it into the end-zone and my teammates didn’t let me live it down either. They told me ‘four yards Shaw, four yards’ and I was too tired to say anything back. Next time, I’ll score.”
After the heroics from Shaw, Texas State scored in just two plays on a second touchdown pass from Jones to White to push the Cats lead to 16-3 with 9:13 left in the game. Running Back Robert Lowe enjoyed his own senior night as he surpassed the 3,000 yard mark in his career. Lowe is now the fourth all-time leading rusher in school history. For a well-deserved final victory at Bobcat Stadium for the seniors, Jackson Hall was lit up with the rising star, a Texas State tradition after winning a game.
The Bobcats will be on the road in Moscow, Idaho to face the University of Idaho Vandals next Saturday at 4 p.m.