In a game played by both teams as if it mattered, because it did, Texas State’s football team delivered the final punch for a 27-24 win at Central Arkansas Saturday evening.
The win improved the Bobcats to 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the Southland Conference, where they stand in an identical first-place tie with Stephen F. Austin (SFA), McNeese State and Southeastern Louisiana.
The Bobcats will play McNeese State Saturday at Bobcat Stadium (2 p.m.) At 6 p.m. Saturday, SFA will play at Southeastern Louisiana.
The Bobcats will capture their second straight Southland Conference championship if they can win their final two games against McNeese and Sam Houston State, and if Southeastern Louisiana loses once more (the Lions close at home against Nicholls State).
Texas State quarterback Bradley George threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Darius Bolden with 27 seconds left, giving the Bobcats their winning score against Central Arkansas, which fell to 5-4 overall and 2-3 in the league. The touchdown pass capped an eight-play, 50-yard drive that began with 1:40 left, right after Central Arkansas took a 24-20 lead on a two-yard touchdown run by Brent Grimes.
George completed 27 of 39 passes for 301 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Daren Dillard led the Texas State receivers with nine catches for 147 yards and a touchdown.
The Bobcats rushed for only 67 yards in 31 carries. Alvin Canady led the way with 50 yards in 18 attempts.
Central Arkansas outgained the Bobcats, 423 yards to 368. However, Central Arkansas made the only turnover of the game (an interception by Texas State’s Will Thompson) and the Bobcats prevailed in the hidden yardage categories.
Central Arkansas was penalized ten times for 83 yards, compared with six Texas State penalties for 54 yards, and the Bobcats held an advantage of 107 yards to 58 yards in kick return yardage.
Thompson’s interception came at a key juncture, when Central Arkansas could have built a substantial lead. The Bears already led, 10-6, when a personal foul call against Texas State pushed the Bobcats all the way back to their own 13 with first-and-24 as less than five minutes remained in the first half. Unable to move enough, the Bobcats punted, only for the kick by Ben Hollis to go out of bounds at the Texas State 39 after traveling only 24 yards.
On the very next play, Central Arkansas quarterback Robbie Park threw deep, only for Thompson to intercept the pass at the Bobcats six. Reprieved, and relieved, the Bobcats went about a slick scoring drive, moving 94 yards in seven plays. A 38-yard pass from George to Dillard moved the Bobcats all the way to the Central Arkansas 15, then George threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Mishak Rivas, giving the Bobcats a 13-10 halftime lead.
Late in the third quarter, Central Arkansas held the Bobcats on fourth down at mid-field, then drove to a score in five plays, with Grimes running to the end zone from ten yards away. Suddenly, the Bears held a 17-13 lead.
But the Bobcats came right back, going 92 yards in 13 plays. The longest gainer on the drive was its last play, a 20-yard touchdown pass from George to Dillard. The touchdown gave Texas State a 20-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.Email | Print