Texas State linebacker Brian Iwuji brought down a Southern Arkansas ball carrier Saturday night in the Bobcats’ 31-17 win against Southern Arkansas. Photo by Ron Oswalt.
The Texas State football team took its 13,727 home-opening patrons on a tour through their hopes and fears Saturday night, dusting off Division II Southern Arkansas, 31-17, after a disastrous start Saturday night at Bobcat Stadium.
The Bobcats played two football games. The first, that egg laying that keeps their fans guarded, ended with Southern Arkansas holding a 17-3 lead with 6:32 left in the second quarter. But if the Bobcats have proved anything in the last couple years, they’ve shown that they can shift to a higher gear. From that point forward, Texas State dominated.
Texas State scored the final 28 points of the game, four rapid touchdowns to take control before the fourth quarter. Quarterback Tyler Arndt passed for 205 yards and running back Karrington Bush rushed for 102 yards.
The Bobcats didn’t face one of their greater challenges defensively, and they didn’t turn it into one. All the Southern Arkansas scoring could be pinned to the Texas State offense or special teams. Southern Arkansas finished the game with 193 total yards, only 50 of them on the ground.
For the last 36:22 of the game, Southern Arkansas managed only 104 yards, compared with 285 for the Bobcats.
So, the one-sided game many hoped for did take place, but it didn’t begin until well into the second quarter.
“I told the guys after the game that we can’t have the kind of game we had tonight, with the slow start and the special teams miscues,” Texas State coach Brad Wright said. “We have to come out strong.”
The big problems for Texas State were confined to about 6:30 in the second quarter, during which the Bobcats had a punt blocked to set up one Southern Arkansas touchdown, and another visitor touchdown came on an interception return against Texas State freshman quarterback Tyler Arndt.
The Bobcats started fairly well, taking the ball first at their own 30 and driving to a 35-yard field goal by Justin Garelick for a 3-0 lead. But the Bobcats missed another chance right away. After blocking a Southern Arkansas punt to take possession at the visitors’ 37, the Bobcats settled for a 41-yard field goal attempt by Garelick, which failed.
With 13 minutes left in the second quarter, the Bobcats botched a punt and ended up taking an eight-yard rushing loss, putting Southern Arkansas on the home 25. The Muleriders made it to the five before Noe Cuevas kicked a 22-yard field goal to make it 3-3.
Six players later, with the Bobcats on the Southern Arkansas 45, Arndt was intercepted by Brandon Rashad at midfield, and Rashad ran it all the way for a 51-yard touchdown return to give Southern Arkansas a 10-3 lead with 7:30 left in the half.
When Texas State’s Frank Reddic fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Southern Arkansas set up at the home 32 yard line. Three plays later, Southern Arkansas quarterback Austin Civita threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Patterson, giving Southern Arkansas a 17-3 lead with 6:32 left in the half.
With that, the Bobcats were awakened, and Arndt displayed a short memory.
“You’ve got to keep your cool at times,” he said.
On Texas State’s next possession, Arndt completed passes of 12 yards to Darius Bolden and 27 yards to Daren Dillard before he met with Da’Marcus Griggs for a 26-yard touchdown pass to make it 17-10.
Late in the second quarter, taking over at the 50 with 40 seconds left, Arndt found Dillard for a 27-yard gain to the 23. Later, Arndt found Griggs for ten yards to the two before completing a two-yard touchdown pass as time expired.
Wright said he would have been happier if the Bobcats had stayed on the field and kept scoring instead of catching their breath at halftime, but they didn’t lose anything coming out of the lockerroom.
After forcing a Southern Arkansas three-and-out off the second half kickoff, the Bobcats scored in a hurry. First, Griggs returned the punt 25 yards to the visitors’ 32. Then, Arndt completed a 14-yard pass to Eric Gentry. Two plays later, Arndt ran 13 yards for a touchdown, and Texas State regained the lead, 24-17.
Late in the third quarter, Bush took the ball on a draw play, slipped through a couple tackles in the open field and found himself outrunning the defense by the time he reached the 50. Bush took it 79 yards for a touchdown, putting Texas State into its final lead of 31-17 with 1:51 left in the third quarter.
The Bobcats, 1-1, will play next Saturday night at home against California-Polytechnical. The Bobcats and Cal-Poly both received votes in the latest Football Championship Series (FCS) poll by The Sports Network. Cal Poly, 2-0, beat FCS top-ranked Montana, 35-55, Saturday.Email | Print