NACOGDOCHES – Just 15 days ago, few took the Texas State Bobcats seriously as a contender for an NCAA football playoff berth. Today, they are the team to beat for the Southland Conference bid. And Saturday, they didn’t look like a team anyone in the SLC could beat.
The Bobcats scored on ten of their first 11 possessions on the road Saturday, knocking Stephen F Austin out of first place and solidifying their own bid for the playoffs with a 62-21 victory featuring three school offensive records.
Texas State scored its most points ever in an SLC game, beating its 54 points against McNeese State in 2004, and came within two yards of its all-time offensive record with 678 yards from scrimmage. The victory improved the Bobcats to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in the SLC.
Central Arkansas is 3-0 in the league, all alone in first place after its 28-21 win against Southeastern Louisiana Saturday night. However, because Central Arkansas is ineligible for the NCAA playoffs while it transitions to Division I from Division II, the SLC playoff berth will go to the next team in line.
Next in line are Texas State, SFA and Northwestern State, all 2-1. But Texas State now has beaten SFA. And next on the Texas State docket is Northwestern State next Saturday at Bobcat Stadium (3 p.m.). Incidentally, league preseason favorite McNeese State fell to 1-2 in the league Saturday with a stunning 38-35 loss to Nicholls State.
While the Texas State offense set records, the defense rose to the occasion in its own way with a very solid performance. Though SFA passed for 328 yards, very close to its 339.9-yard average that ranked second nationally, the Bobcats closed ranks in the early portions and also held SFA to 35 rushing yards in 18 attempts.
SFA totaled 98 yards in the first quarter, but 76 of them came on one play, a 76-yard touchdown pass from Jeremy Moses to Dominique Edison. That pass, just 2:12 into the game, responded to a 71-yard touchdown pass from Texas State’s Bradley George to Mishak Rivas just 18 seconds into the game.
It appeared that the game, tied 7-7 barely more than two minutes after kickoff, would continue as a shootout. But on the Lumberjacks’ next three possessions, Texas State held them to ten yards and one first down in ten plays. In the meantime, Texas State’s Karrington Bush ran 27 yards for a touchdown, Clint Toon ran three yards for a touchdown and Andrew Ireland kicked field goals of 27 and 26 yards, giving the Bobcats a 27-7 lead just 3:02 into the second quarter.
The Bobcats kept the heat on for the entire game, outscoring SFA, 35-14, even from that point. After last week’s uneven offensive performance in a 31-24 loss to Central Arkansas, the Bobcats played four quarters of strong offensive football at SFA.
George completed 25 of 35 passes for a school-record 418 yards and, for the second time in three weeks, threw four touchdowns.
Cameron Luke also set a couple of records for touchdown catches when he caught two from George in the second quarter. Luke broke the SLC record with his 28th career touchdown catch, eclipsing the old mark of 27 by Matt Dominguez of Sam Houston State in 1997-00. Luke also broke his own single-season touchdown catch record with his 13th of this season after setting the mark with 12 last year.
Bush rushed for 121 yards on ten carries, marking the tenth 100-yard game of his career. He has five 100-yard games this season after reaching 100 yards five times last year, his freshman season. Bush is the only sophomore FCS runner to record ten 100-yard games in his career.
Luke’s record-setting touchdown catch gave the Bobcats a 41-14 halftime lead. The Bobcats quickly added two touchdowns in the third quarter on Bush’s 23-yard run and Rivas’ 41-yard catch from George to put the game out of reach at 55-14. Alvin Canady scored on a one-yard run with 2:14 left in the third quarter to give Texas State a 62-14 lead.Email | Print