San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

September 7th, 2008
Bobcats send mixed messages in loss to SMU


We still don’t know after Saturday night if the Texas State Bobcats are capable of beating a Conference USA team. But we can be pretty sure the Bobcats are capable of beating themselves.

The Bobcats lost at Southern Methodist, 47-36, in a game that leaves Texas State fans on the flip side of their emotions issuing from last week’s 21-14 win over Angelo State. Last week, TSU fans might have enjoyed the win while feeling discouraged that the Bobcats could have lost the game. This week, Bobcat fans might lament the loss while feeling heartened that Texas State could have won the game.

That is, the Bobcats could have won the game if they hadn’t made the mistakes that will lose almost every time. The Bobcats made five turnovers, including four in the first half, setting up two SMU touchdowns. The Bobcats also had a point-after kick blocked, and SMU took it back for two points.

“When you give away 16 points in the first half, you shouldn’t expect to win the game,” Texas State Brad Wright told KTSW-FM after the game.

But, almost in the same breath, Wright said, “We have a chance to be a pretty good football team.”

That’s the kind of conflicting assessment invited by a game like Saturday’s, when the Bobcats certainly belonged on the same field with SMU, which is a plus, but gave the game away, which is a minus. Then again, the assessments aren’t entirely mixed, because the same two major problems emerged in each of Texas State’s first two games.

First, the Texas State secondary suffered another very tough night. SMU freshman quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell completed 24 of 37 passes for 370 yards, as the Bobcats couldn’t stop him underneath or deep. Mitchell completed five passes of 30 yards or more, three of them for touchdowns.

Second, Texas State starting quarterback Bradley George turned in another error-filled performance, completing only two of seven passes and fumbling the ball away three times. The third of those fumbles set SMU up at the Texas State eight, from which Mitchell passed to Emmanuel Sanders for a touchdown to give the Mustangs a 21-0 lead barely more than three minutes into the second quarter.

The call from Texas State again went out to Clint Toon, the senior from Kilgore, who completed 19 of 27 passes for 225 yards and four touchdowns, turning an embarrassing blowout loss into a respectable competition. Toon threw a touchdown pass of nine yards to Cameron Luke at the end of the first half, then another for 17 to Luke early in the third quarter, bringing the Bobcats within 30-19.

The Texas State defense couldn’t hold SMU (1-1) down through the rest of the game, but the offense under Toon at least matched SMU. In fact, Texas State outscored SMU, 30-17, in the last 30:02 of the game. But the Bobcats already had given away 16 points, and they couldn’t catch up.

Texas State running back Karrington Bush rushed 15 times for 111 yards and two touchdowns, while Luke made six catches for 121 yards. Texas State outgained SMU, 465 yards to 431. But the Bobcats lost that edge with their five turnovers, while they couldn’t force any turnovers out of SMU.

Wright didn’t say on the radio after the game if he would turn the starting quarterback duties over to Toon when the 1-1 Bobcats resume their schedule two weeks from now in Greeley, CO, against Northern Colorado. But with two weeks until the next game, he has plenty of time to make a decision.

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