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

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Texas State return man Brandon Smith, shown here against Prairie View A&M, returned two kickoffs for touchdowns Saturday in the Bobcats’ 48-24 loss at Louisiana-Lafayette (Texas State sports information photo).

STAFF REPORT

Those who thought the Texas State football team was poised to make its mark in the Sun Belt Conference right away received a rude awakening Saturday, when Louisiana-Lafayette (ULL) hit the Bobcats hard in the mouth.

The final score in Lafayette, LA, went 48-24 for the Ragin’ Cajuns and the game wasn’t even that close. ULL lit up the Bobcats for 572 total yards, including 360 through the air.

ULL’s profile indicated that it would operate a balanced attack, especially since the Bobcats were reasonably effective guarding the pass against the likes of Texas Tech and Wyoming. But the Cajuns went over the top constantly and without discernible interference.

ULL quarterback Terrence Broadway completed 18 of 23 passes for 335 yards and four touchdowns. He threw two of them in the first half, staking the Cajuns to a 28-3 lead. Then, the Bobcats fumbled the second-half kickoff and Broadway added another, making it 35-3 less than a minute into the third quarter. On the third play of their next possession, the Bobcats fumbled deep in their own territory, setting up a ULL field goal, taking out whatever air remained in a game that was already finished.

The Bobcats fell to 3-2 and, more important, 0-1 in the Sun Belt Conference after being clobbered in their league debut. ULL is 3-2 and 1-0.

Texas State will begin a three-game homestand next Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe (ULM), which lost Saturday to Western Kentucky, 31-10.

Saturday’s game was a little like watching the 2008 Bobcats, who couldn’t keep anyone from breaking a 60-yard touchdown. ULL didn’t actually run a play for more than 53 yards, but Broadway completed five passes for at least 20 yards and sat out the entire fourth quarter.

The Bobcats repeatedly failed to rush Broadway or cover his receivers. Either the Bobcats just weren’t ready to play, or the ULL coaches did some brilliant film study, because they found gaps in the Texas State defense that haven’t been exposed all season.

It started on ULL’s second possession, when Broadway hit Jamal Robinson for 53 yards to the Texas State four. Alonzo Harris ran four yards for the touchdown to make it 7-0. On ULL’s next possession, Broadway threw a 44-yard touchdown to Darryl Surgent. On ULL’s first possession of the second quarter, Broadway threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Robinson, making it 21-0 with 9:55 left in the half. On ULL’s next possession, Broadway connected with Devin Figaro for 23 yards to the Texas State seven. Broadway soon threw a four-yard touchdown to Robinson, making it 28-3 at half.

Two plays after Andy Erickson fumbled the second-half kickoff, Broadway threw a 20-yard touchdown to Robinson. Later in the third period, Broadway completed a 27-yard pass to the Texas State 37, and a facemask penalty put the ball on the Bobcat 22. Three players later, Elijah McGuire ran four yards for a touchdown to make it 45-3 with 3:56 left in the period.

The Texas State offense generated only 196 yards, 11 first downs and no touchdowns. Freshman quarterback Tyler Jones completed 10 of 15 passes, but for only 66 yards. Running backs Robert Lowe and Chris Nutall, stars in last week’s 42-21 win against Wyoming, combined for 23 yards in 10 carries. Jones led Texas State rushers with 58 yards in 13 attempts.

Texas State had exactly two highlights in this game. Both were kickoff returns, and both came with the game well out of hand. Right after McGuire’s touchdown, Brandon Smith returned a kick 92 yards for a touchdown. In the fourth period, Smith took a kick back 100 yards for a touchdown. Smith became the first Texas State player ever to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same season, let alone the same game.

It was a little something for the Bobcats to hang their hats on, but only a little. The call now is for the Bobcats to not hang their heads. Next Saturday is a whole different game from this Saturday, just like this Saturday was a whole different game from last Saturday.

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