Texas State played two football games Saturday – a 30-minute game in which they brought it about as hard as they can bring it, then a 30-minute game in which they struggled to gain the upper hand against a Southeastern Louisiana team that now occupies last place in the Southland Conference.
But it was the first half that ruled the day as the Bobcats wrote up a 38-24 road win to join a first-place tie for the league’s playoff spot while dropping Southeastern into the basement.
Texas State scored the first four times it took the ball, and five of the first seven times, marking its largest lead of 38-14 on Andrew Ireland’s 46-yard field goal with 4:31 left in the first half.
The Bobcats came out firing in Hammond, LA, where quarterback Bradley George threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Luke on the first play from scrimmage. After Southeastern drove to a tying touchdown to make it 7-7 on its first possession, the Bobcats came right back with Stan Zwinggi’s 20-yard touchdown run for a 14-7 lead.
At that point, the Texas State defense showed its teeth, ending the next two Southeastern possessions with interceptions to set up scores.
In the first case, Morris Crosby intercepted Southeastern quarterback Brian Babin at the Southeastern 48 and returned 22 yards to the 26. Karrington Bush scored the touchdown on a four-yard run.
In the next, linebacker Joe Bell picked off Babin at the Southeastern 45 and made a five-yard return before George threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Luke. The Bobcats suddenly held a 28-7 lead in the first quarter.
Later, Kenneth Hampton intercepted Babin at the southeastern 43, followed by Ireland’s 45-ard field goal to make it 38-14 at halftime.
“That was a big plus for us because (Babin) had thrown just three all year coming into the game and we were able to pick off three today,” Wright said. “He may not have had his best day today, but I know one was tipped and Mo Crosby cut across and got another one.”
The Bobcats put up 465 total yards, 189 on the ground and 276 through the air. However, they did the overwhelming majority of it – 352 yards – in the first half.
Indeed, Wright told the Southland Conference Network during his halftime interview that he was disappointed the team’s intensity lagged late in the second quarter, and he saw little in the second half to make himself feel better.
Southeastern Louisiana controlled the second half, putting constant backside pressure on George and holding the Bobcats to 113 total yards after halftime. Meanwhile, the Lions notched 255 yards in the second half, when they scored all the points to bring the final score within 38-24.
When the day ended, though, Texas State claimed its fourth road win of the year, the school record since it went to Division I in 1987. And the standings now are much more in their favor.
The Bobcats now are 6-4 overall and 3-2 in the Southland Conference. Central Arkansas’s 42-3 drubbing of Northwestern State loomed as a huge favor, dropping the Demons to 3-2 in the league. McNeese State joins Texas State and Northwestern in front of the playoff race at 3-2 in the league after a 42-31 win at Stephen F. Austin.
Central Arkansas still leads the race for the conference championship at 4-1, but it is ineligible for the playoffs while it transitions to Division I, leaving the playoff position, at the moment, between Texas State, Northwestern and McNeese. The Bobcats have defeated McNeese, Northwestern has defeated the Bobcats, and McNeese plays at home against Northwestern next Saturday.
The Bobcats return to Bobcat Stadium next Saturday to play Nicholls State, a 47-37 loser to Sam Houston State Saturday. Nicholls and Sam Houston both are 2-3 in the league. Southeastern is 1-4 in the SLC.Email | Print