The Texas State football team went on the road last Saturday with a sputterng offense, trailed in the fourth quarter and ended up winning the game. What’s not to like?
Well, there’s that sputtering offense.
“I don’t think we moved the ball well enough to make it anything but a close game,” Bobcats head coach Dennis Franchione said to reporters this week as he reviewed their 22-15 win at Southern Mississippi to open the 2013 season.
The Bobcats gained only 215 offensive yards, which usually will all but guarantee a loss. In addition, the Bobcats gave up 400 yards defensively. If that were all there were to it, the Bobcats would not have won the game.
But the Bobcats were opportunistic and heroic on defense, taking six turnovers, and they were responsible on offense, turning the ball over only once.
And when the Bobcats needed a drive, they put one together. Down, 15-14, with 5:43 left and the ball on their own 25, they drove to a touchdown in seven plays. Quarterback Tyler Arndt completed five consecutive passes for 71 yards before keeping 17 yards for a touchdown. After Arndt threw a two-point conversion pass to Bradley Miller, the Bobcats held a 22-15 lead with 2:54 left.
Then, the Bobcats needed defensive plays, and they made defensive plays. On the ensuing Southern Miss possession, the Golden Eagles had fourth and ten at their own 38, when Texas State linebacker David Mayo threw quarterback Allan Bridgeford for a nine-yard loss, giving the Bobcats the ball. Later, after Southern Miss regained possession for one last gasp, Mayo intercepted Bridgeford at the Texas State 46 with 28 seconds remaining to seal the game.
Mayo was named the defensive player of the week by the Sun Belt Conference.
“You have to give the guys credit for getting it done,” Franchione said.
To account somewhat for the fact that the Bobcats netted only 81 rushing yards, Franchione offered that “that’s a good defensive front we played. We may not play another defensive front that good this year. We’ll see what Texas Tech presents, but Southern Miss was 300 pounds up front, and they were quick. They were moving objects a lot of the time and we had a hard time staying on them.”
Now, the Bobcats prepare for their home opener Saturday against Prairie View A&M, which gave them all they wanted two years ago, when the Bobcats prevailed, 34-26. Prairie View is coming off a 37-13 win against Texas Southern.
“Watching the game tape from Saturday night, I thought they played good, sound, fundamental football,” Franchione said. “They were well coached. They were in position. It was a good defensive effort. They make you earn everything you get.”