By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
The broad theme of responsibility stands before the Texas State Bobcats as they’ve attempted to recover from last Saturday’s 34-20 thrashing on their own field from lowly Southern Utah.
In addition to dropping Texas State to 2-2 overall, the loss constituted a very sour moment for a program hoping to put fannies in the seats while arguing for the climb to bowl division football. The Bobcats stood to accomplish neither with that performance, during which they fell behind, 17-0, made three turnovers and rushed for their lowest output of the season (150 yards). The Texas State offense made only two trips to the red zone while Southern Utah defenders notched seven quarterback hurries and seven pass break-ups.
As the night ended, Texas State Head Coach Brad Wright stood before the media and some of his players, taking full responsibility for not having his team ready to play.
The next day, the offensive and defensive platoons were set to watch the game alone, without commentary from the coaching staff. Following that experience, some players went to right the coach and said that they, too, were responsible.
“We failed the kids and some of the kids think they failed us,” Wright said.
How all of that will cash out in the next football game remains to be seen, but not for long. Texas Southern visits Bobcat Stadium Saturday (5 p.m.) in the Bobcats’ final tune-up before they start the Southland Conference schedule.
To be certain, all isn’t lost for the Bobcats. It’s just now October. The league season hasn’t even begun. An opportunity for re-focusing has presented itself.
“We have eight more chances to show we’re on the right path,” Wright said.
Texas Southern (3-2) rides a three-game winning streak after a 45-27 win last Saturday against Concordia. The Tigers seem to have found some kind of stride under new quarterback Bobby Reid, who transferred after a much publicized falling out last year at Oklahoma State.
To this point, Reid hasn’t put up incredible numbers (66 for 126, 848 yards, four interceptions and six touchdowns). However, he will test the Texas State defense with his size and speed. And, as the Bobcats are allowing 292.2 passing yards per game this year, Reid might spot an opportunity to enhance his own numbers.
Offensively, the Bobcats will try to regain their running game, which disappeared against Southern Utah. Like the rest of the team, Wright said, the offensive line simply wasn’t up the ball game. This week will be no easier.
The Texas Southern defense is strong up the middle with senior nose guard (David Knighten) and freshman middle linebacker (Absolom Jones). In particular, said Wright, “It seems like the nose guard knows the snap count.”
A silver lining or two for Texas State might be found in the statistics. The Bobcats have considerably improved their rushing defense overall this year, giving up 128.8 yards per game after allowing an average of 190.27 last season. The improvement has enabled Texas State to climb from 83rd nationally to 41st.
The Bobcats also are ranked 29th nationally in total offense (406.8 yards per game) and 29th in rushing offense (178.8). Texas State running back Karrington Bush is fifth nationally with 8.4 yards per carry.
However, said Wright, there were no silver linings from watching the film of last Saturday night’s loss to Southern Utah.
“When you get ten guys doing their job and one guy missing his assignment, you can see what happens,” Wright said.
As the season has laid out so far, Texas State needs a win badly. If nothing else, it will give the coaches and players a game film they can enjoy, together.