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

November 14th, 2009
Bobcats, McNeese meet in grid 'semi'

STAFF REPORT

The football season won’t end at Texas State Saturday evening, but some kind of finality will almost certainly be established by the result between the Bobcats and McNeese State at Bobcat Stadium (6 p.m.).

Those two teams, along with Southeastern Louisiana and Stephen F. Austin (SFA) are tied for first place at 4-1 in the Southland Conference with only two games left. While the Bobcats and McNeese play Saturday, so will SFA and Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond. It’s almost as if the league is playing two semifinal games.

Only two of those teams will remain standing after Saturday. If the Bobcats beat McNeese and SFA beats Southeastern Louisiana, then the Bobcats would win the league by beating Sam Houston State next week. If the Bobcats lose Saturday, they would need a lot of help.

As always for Texas State, the big questions concern the defense, which has performed serviceably while the Bobcats won their last three games to reach 6-3 overall.

Again, as always, it seems, the Bobcats will have to account for the two leading McNeese skill players, running back Toddrick Pendland and quarterback Derrick Fourroux. Add together their rushing, passing and receiving this year, and they average 330.9 yards per game.

Pendland returned from injury last week to rush for 171 yards and four touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 63-42 win against Sam Houston State. For the season, Pendland has rushed for 761 yards in eight games.

Fourroux doesn’t produce passing yardage on the order of Texas State’s Bradley George, but he leads Southland Conference quarterbacks with 25 or more throws at an efficiency rating of 153.51.

“He’s a winner,” Texas State head coach Brad Wright said of Fourroux. “That’s probably the best compliment you can give a young man.”

The Bobcats enter Saturday’s game ranked No. 25 nationally in The Sports Network and FCS coaches polls. They got there with their last two wins against No. 11 SFA and No. 19 Central Arkansas.

McNeese, at 7-2, is No. 10 in both polls this week.

While the Texas State defense must deal with another different test, the test seems to be the same from week to week for the Bobcats offense. With Karrington Bush injured, the Bobcats simply haven’t demonstrated the fire power in the running game to win with it. The Bobcats have rushed for a total of 119 yards in 63 carries in their last two games.

“We lost a guy who rushed for 1,000 yards two years in a row,” Wright said. “Most teams don’t have an extra one of those just hanging around, so it changes things a little bit.

The Bobcats have been utterly reliant on George, who threw for more than 300 yards each of the last two weeks and reached 291 the week before that. Even better for the Bobcats, George enters the McNeese State game without throwing an interception in his last 170 passes.

If form holds in this game, some team will score a lot, if not both teams. The Bobcats upset McNeese, 45-42, on the road last year, after McNeese came to San Marcos in 2007 and left with a 41-20 win. The Bobcats last beat McNeese at home with a 49-7 decision in 2005.

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