Texas State football coach Brad Wright (in white) leads the Bobcats in congratulating quarterback Bradley George (9) on setting the school’s all-time passing yardage record after Saturday night’s 52-18 win against Texas Southern at Bobcat Stadium. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By BILL PETERSON
Saturday was not a night of celebration for the Texas State Bobcats, although they turned up a solid offensive performance in a 52-18 win against Texas Southern at Bobcat Stadium while crowning a new all-time passing leader.
It really was just a day’s work for the Bobcats, who won as easily as form said they should. The Bobcats rolled to 525 offensive yards and punted only once, improving to 2-1 for the season.
In the process, senior quarterback Bradley George breezed to the all-time career passing mark at Texas State by throwing for 325 yards and two touchdowns. George passed for 233 yards in the first half and reached the record with an 18-yard pass to Daren Dillard on his first attempt of the second half.
After notching his second 300-yard passing game of the season, George ended the night with 7,287 career passing yards, exceeding Barrick Nealy’s former school record of 7,206. George is up to six 300-yard passing games in his career after doing it three times last year.
George now has 7,501 career yards of total offense, bringing him within 1,432 yards of Nealy’s school record of 8,933. If George maintains his present 2009 pace of 284 passing yards per game for the rest of the regular season, he would end his career at 9,559 passing yards, comfortably in second place all-time in the Southland Conference.
“Just to be mentioned in the same breath with Barrick Nealy is an honor in my mind,” said George, who expended more breath lamenting his three interceptions than touting his new status. ” … First and foremost, I have to tip my cap to my teammates. It’s not an individual accomplishment in my mind. It’s over with. Let’s move forward.”
Said Texas State head coach Brad Wright, “To me, more important than breaking the record is that (George) has been a captain for four years.”
George’s achievement is especially worth noting because, as Wright recalled after Saturday’s game, the third-year head coach came in hoping to install more of a rushing mentality at Texas State. As it turned out, the night when George set the school’s career passing yardage record also produced 200 rushing yards. Alvin Canady, the San Marcos High School graduate, rushed for 116 yards in 14 attempts for his second 100-yard performance in his college career.
“I wouldn’t say it’s exactly like (high school),” Canady said. “It’s a lot different. I give credit to the offensive line.”
In addition to the offensive output, the Texas State defense played a pretty strong game, despite giving up 356 total yards. The Bobcats held Texas Southern to only four rushing yards in 30 attempts and didn’t allow a touchdown until the Tigers scored with 33 seconds left in the game.
Despite all the good feeling, however, a certain intensity about next Saturday crept into the post-game conversations, for the Bobcats turn next to Southern Utah, a program they’ve not exactly mastered. The Thunderbirds have defeated Texas State twice in a row, and the Bobcats have never won in three tries in Cedar City, UT, where next week’s game will take place. Last year’s Southern Utah game, a 34-20 loss at Bobcat Stadium, turned out to be the Bobcats’ wake-up call as they rallied to the Southland Conference championship.
“I think we’re past that,” Wright said. “I think we’re going to come out and play hard. I think if we’re focused, if we come out and play every game, we can win out. If we come out half-cocked … ”
Thanks largely to the opportunism of redshirt freshman linebacker Joplo Bartu, the Bobcats scored 17 unanswered points in barely more than three minutes of the second quarter to forge a 24-3 lead and take the Texas Southern game in its anticipated direction.
The rally began when the Bobcats took over with a punt at their own 43 and George followed with a 30-yard pass to Da’Marcus Griggs on the first play. Though George followed with three straight incomplete passes, Justin Garelick kicked a 44-yard field goal, increasing the Texas State lead to 10-3 with 7:15 left in the half.
On Texas Southern’s next possession, Matt Harris sacked quarterback Arvell Nelson for a 16-yard loss to the Southern six, whereupon Nelson fumbled and Bartu recovered for the Bobcats at the one. On the next play, Trey Hampton powered over the goal line for Texas State to make it 17-3.
Texas Southern’s Joseph Warren fumbled the ensuing kickoff after a hit by the Bobcats’ Darius Bolden at the 20. Again, Bartu recovered for the Bobcats, this time at the 23. George then threw six yards to Andrew Brooks, six more to Griggs and, finally, 11 to Dillard on a crossing pattern for a touchdown to make it 24-3.
Bartu moved from free safety to linebacker this year after growing from 185 pounds to 220. He is listed behind senior Marcus Clark at right linebacker.
“The coaches got me prepared during my redshirt year,” Bartu said. “The first (fumble recovery), I was trying to get up and I couldn’t so I just fell on the ball. The second one, I was in the right place at the right time.”
The Tigers settled down and moved the ball smoothly on their next try, going 56 yards in 11 plays before bogging down at the Texas State four and settling for a 21-yard field goal by Robert Hersch to make it 24-6. But the Bobcats appeared to be responding in kind, going 53 yards in six plays and 1:10 before setting up for a 44-yard field goal by Garelick with four seconds left in the half.
Garelick couldn’t put the right trajectory on the kick, however, and Texas Southern’s John Cole deflected it at the line of scrimmage. The ball floated to Southern’s Harry Brown at the Texas State 10. Brown took off down the left side, then cut back all the way across field to the right sideline, apparently with a chance to go all the way.
Bobcat defenders eventually angled on Brown at the Texas State 22, so he lateraled to Dejuan Fulghum, who lost three yards before his lateral to Michael Shelton, who gained a yard before his lateral to De’Markus Washington, who ran through the open left side of the field 24 yards for a touchdown after time expired. Southern failed its two-point conversion, but still went to the locker room with a huge lift, trailing 24-12.
Wright remarked after the game that the Bobcats looked at halftime “like someone stole their puppy” in the wake of that play. However, the Bobcats quickly turned the momentum back to their advantage after the intermission.
“That was just one play,” Wright said. “(Texas Southern) made a great play on it.”
Texas State moved the ball almost at will throughout the night. Texas Southern couldn’t stop the Bobcats any more effectively than the Bobcats stopped themselves. On their first possession, off the opening kickoff, the Bobcats moved from their own 30 to the Southern 36 in six plays before George threw an interception to Washington at the Southern 10 and Washington returned it to the 45.
The Bobcats stopped Southern on downs at the Texas State 23, then marched 77 yards in 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead on George’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Griggs.
The only time Texas State punted came in the second quarter, when the Bobcats moved from their own 31 to the Southern 37, then stalled with two false starts and a holding penalty.
Except for a couple interceptions thrown by George, the Bobcats moved the ball like clockwork in the second half. After the defense forced a three and out from Texas Southern off the second half kickoff, the offense went 61 yards in seven plays to score on Canady’s 18-yard run to make it 31-12.
In the fourth quarter, Canady went 40 yards around right end to set up his own two-yard touchdown run, making it 45-12. Running back Frank Reddic took over on the next Texas State possession, rushing five times for 43 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown run that made it 51-12 with 2:16 left in the game.
Texas Southern finished the game with an 80-yard touchdown drive against Texas State defensive reserves, denying the Bobcats defense a game without giving up a touchdown. The drive accounted for 53 of Texas Southern’s 352 passing yards and 80 of its 356 total yards.
“We did good,” Clark said. “We need to improve our pass defense. But we’re running to the ball, like we’re supposed to.”
The Bobcats also are running the ball, and passing it, enough to set the tone for the rest of the season.Email | Print