By Jacob Staires
Texas State took on the undefeated Southern Methodist University Mustangs on Saturday night at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The Bobcats couldn’t get it done once again losing 47-17 in the last game before conference play.
SMU was able to climb to 3-0 for the first time since 1984, while Texas State fell to 0-3 for the first time since 1995. With arguably the toughest non-conference schedule in the Sun Belt, the Bobcats look to put this start behind them.
Texas State, a team struggling to find its identity, took another blow in a game that saw the Mustangs gather 398 more yards with the same amount of time of possession as the Bobcats. With the defense keeping themselves in the game early on, the Cats’ had another subpar performance in the second half that created another lead out of reach of their struggling offense.
Junior Gresch Jensen, who played for the first three and a half quarters, could not capitalize on the early interceptions caused by sophomore Jarron Morris and senior Jalen Smith. Facing pressure the whole game, Jensen fought his way to 185 passing yards with a touchdown pass to Anthony D. Taylor in the third quarter.
Tyler Vitt, the sophomore quarterback that earned the first start of the season against A&M, came in the game to relieve Jensen in the fourth quarter. Vitt completed all three of his passes, his last one being a 35-yd touchdown to newly touted starting running back, junior Caleb Twyford.
This was another game that Jake Spavital and the Bobcats had a chance going into the second half. Down 13-3 with less penalty yards and turnovers, the Cats’ were not able to take advantage of the opportunities given by senior Bryan London II and the defense. SMU ran the ball with conviction, as Xavier Jones and TJ McDaniel gained 110 and 159 yards on the ground respectively.
“They made adjustments and we made mistakes,” London said. “We came out and didn’t play with the same energy as we did in the first half.”
With an offensive line that seemed mis-matched for most of the game, Texas State wasn’t able to get the run game going. Bob Stitt, the offensive coordinator, was continuously having to come up with ways to combat third-and-long situations. Failing to do so, the Bobcats went 4-17 on third-down conversions.
Seamus O’Kelly, the freshman punter, tried his hardest to tame Shane Buechele and the Mustang offense downing them inside their own 10-yard line three times. It was not enough, with SMU gaining 639 total yards.
Texas State may have more quarterback questions than they seemed to have figured out. Jensen has looked good in the first half against Wyoming, but he has limitations that division one teams and specifically Sun Belt Conference teams can sniff out. The question still remains after Vitt looked impressive in his limited time after Jensen was pulled by Spavital. Spavital may need to ponder this through the next week of practice: maybe there’s an answer to the quarterback position not named Vitt or Jensen.
“The real season starts now, we need to put these three games behind us,” Spavital said. “Those are three quality opponents we just played.”
The Texas State Bobcats look to get their first win of the Spavital-era next week when they return home to San Marcos as they take on the (2-1) Georgia State Panthers at Bobcat Stadium to start Sun Belt Conference play.
The reporters at KTSW will keep you up to date this week on more developments around practice and media availability on Tuesday. As for broadcasts, you can catch the remaining games of the 2019 campaign here on KTSW 89.9 starting with Georgia State next Saturday with pre-game coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m..
Featured image by Jacob Staires.