TROY, Ala. — It turned out to be a Bleak Friday for Texas State after being bested, 42-28, by Troy State on Friday afternoon in the final game of the Bobcats’ debut football season in the Sun Belt conference.
The Bobcats finish the season 6-6 overall and 2-5 in their conference.
The lopsided defeat at the hands of an explosive Trojan offense came despite a season-record 72 rushing yards by senior Duke DeLancellotti, who passed for two touchdowns in his first career start.
He also completed Texas State’s longest pass of the season, a 70-yard play to Brandon Smith early in the fourth quarter. DeLancellotti faked a run left then surprised the Troy defense with a pass to Smith, who was on the touch-down side of the entire Troy defensive line.
The big play gave Texas State life, pulling the Bobcats within 14 points, 35-21, but another Troy score in the fourth quarter would keep the game out of reach.
The Bobcats were the first on the board despite being thwarted in their first drive by an interception. After holding Troy State to five plays and forcing a punt, the Bobcats began an 80-yard drive that culminated in DeLancellotti’s seven-yard touchdown toss to Ryan Carden. The pass was the first of DeLancellotti’s career and the third touchdown catch of the season for Carden.
In just 1:03, Troy State was on the board, too, after a 58-yard pass down the right side. And the Trojans did not let up. In the first minutes of the second quarter, Troy State found itself on the two-yard-line before being flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and taking a 15-yard penalty. Troy State made up the lost ground in short order when quarterback Deon Anthony drew for 16 yards. Trojan quarterback Jordan Chunn’s run up the middle put the score at 14-7.
Texas State answered promptly. DeLancellotti led a seven-play drive for 56 yards — racking up most the advances himself by running the ball. DeLancellotti’s drive included a 17-yard run up the middle to Troy State’s 29-yard line; and elegant, wending run for 11 more yards; then a run up the right side to cap the drive with a touchdown.
The score stood at 14-14 for all of 59 seconds on the clock before Troy State scored their third touchdown of the first half with a 43-yard pass from Anthony to Eric Thomas from midfield.
The back-and-forth nature of the first half was a put to rest with the second. In the third quarter, the Trojans scored two unanswered touchdowns. Despite DeLancellotti’s energizing big pass to Smith early in the fourth quarter, the Bobcats could not climb out of the 35-21 hole, especially after Troy State added seven more points to cushion their lead further.
In the game’s waning moments, DeLancellotti completed a three-yard toss to receiver Isaiah Battle, his second touchdown catch of the season. But the late-breaking score still left the Bobcats three touchdowns short of a clean victory.
The game ends the Bobcats’ regular season and starts an eight-day wait before the team finds out if they’ve snagged a bowl invitation, an announcement scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 8.