HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Inspired by a great defensive effort, which forced six turnovers, the Texas State football team defeated Southern Miss 22-15, Saturday night at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg, Miss. The win marked the second straight year the Bobcats have beaten a Conference USA team on the road to start the year.
After struggling on offense for much of the night, the Texas State offense had one of its best drives in recent memory. Backed up in its own territory, Tyler Arndt hit Andy Erickson on an in-route on 3rd and 21 to keep the chains moving. A few passes later, highlighted by a 20-yarder to Terrence Franks in the left flat, put the ball down to the Golden Eagle 17. Arndt then ran a zone-read and kept the ball, darting up the middle between defenders for a 17-yard touchdown, giving the Bobcats the 20-15 lead. On the two-point conversion, Arndt hit Bradley Miller in the right flat for the 22-15 advantage.
Southern Miss had the chance to tie on the ensuing drive, but David Mayo who had previously picked off a pass at the Bobcats’ own 18-yard line, sacked USM QB Allan Bridgford allowing Texas State to run more clock.
The Bobcat defense made its presence felt from the jump, forcing turnovers on its first two series. The second turnover was a one-man show by cornerback Craig Mager. Mager wrapped the Southern Miss receiver three yards behind the line of scrimmage, then stripped him and recovered the fumble before returning it 44 yards to paydirt for Texas State’s first score of the year, giving the team a 7-0 lead.
Jordan Moore came in during the second quarter and provided a spark to the offense. Following Andy Erickson’s 29-yard punt return which put the ball at the Southern Miss 22, Moore found Rob Lowe in the left flat. Lowe then broke an open field tackle and raced to the end zone, to give the Bobcats a 14-0 lead.
Southern Miss cut into the Bobcat lead towards the end of the third quarter. With Texas State up 14-3, a snap went over the head of Jordan Moore for a safety. The Golden Eagles received the ensuing kickoff and had a 58-yard pass lead to their first touchdown of the night, making it 14-12 after three quarters.
The Bobcats tried to hold the Golden Eagles off midway through the fourth, but a 15-yard facemask penalty helped put Southern Miss in field goal range. With 5:43 to go in the 4th, the Golden Eagles made a 36-yard field goal, to take their first lead of the night at 15-14.
Texas State will next return home at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 when it takes on Prairie View A&M. Tickets are available at 512-245-2272.