Now, the Texas State Bobcats know something more about where they stand in the college football world.
They’re about a quarter short of hanging with the 15th-ranked Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team on the road.
Not bad. The Bobcats lost, 56-21, at Texas Christian Saturday, and they did have their chances, even though the Horned Frogs held them to 30 net yards rushing and rolled up 508 yards in total offense.
The Bobcats trailed, 35-21 when defensive lineman recovered a fumble by TCU quarterback Andy Dalton at the TCU 10 yard line late in the third quarter. A Texas State touchdown would have brought the Bobcats within 35-28 going to the fourth quarter.
But Texas State quarterback Bradley George was intercepted in the back of the end zone by TCU’s Jason Teague as the quarterback tried to connect with wide receiver Da’Marcus Griggs.
“I should have thrown it more to his outside shoulder,” George said. “I lofted it and he was able to make the interception.”
That was the end of the line for the Bobcats. TCU, which is deeper and more talented just by the order of things, put its foot down with three fourth-quarter touchdowns to make a reasonably competitive game look like a blow-out.
The loss doesn’t actually hurt the Bobcats one bit. They are 1-1, but that loss came against a TCU squad ranked 15th among FBS teams in the Associated Press and USA Today polls. The 2-0 Horned Frogs are always one of the country’s best defensive teams, and they are next to impossible to defeat at home. Both of those factors held true against the Bobcats.
At No. 15 in the FBS polls, TCU is the highest ranked team the Bobcats have ever played. They also played Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) No. 2 Northern Iowa on September 1994, and they won last year, 45-42, at FCS No. 3 McNeese State.
“They have a very good football team and there is a reason they are ranked where they are,” Texas State head coach Brad Wright said of TCU. “We had a lot of missed chances. That is the sad part about it, because we had some offensive opportunities to get some more points on the board.”
The Bobcats hung in there for most of the first half, even though TCU moved the ball easily.
The Horned Frogs scored on their first possession, finishing the job with a 13-yard touchdown run by Ed Wesley to make it 7-0. At the end of the first quarter, though, the Bobcats mounted a 13-play, 67-yard drive, ending with a one-yard run by Frank Reddic to tie the game at 7-7.
TCU came right back with touchdowns on its next two possessions, as Joseph Turner ran for a three-yard touchdown and Andy Dalton threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Young, giving the Horned Frogs a 21-7 lead with 6:59 left in the half.
The Bobcats marched it downfield right away, going 89 yards in five plays to score a touchdown on George’s 62-yard pass to running back Alvin Canady to make it 21-14 with 4:50 left in the half.
But TCU scored again shortly before intermission, bolting 70 yards in six plays. Joseph ran the final yard with 25 seconds left in the half to give the Horned Frogs a 28-14 lead.
TCU pushed the pedal a little harder on the first possession of the second half, going 67 yards in six plays off the kickoff and scoring on a four-yard run by Antoine Hicks to make it 35-14.
With 6:47 left in the third quarter, Texas State backup quarterback Tim Hawkins threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Daren Dillard, bringing the Bobcats within 35-21. But that was as close as the Bobcats could make it.
The Horned Frogs fumbled the ball away on their first play of their next possession, but George’s interception ended that threat. The Frogs responded with three touchdowns to put the game away,
“I was proud of our guys with the way we fought, because we weren’t going to come in and lie down against them,” George said. “We could have scored at least 10 more points on them and we won’t play a better defense than they have this season. We just have to go back and correct some things.”
The Bobcats will return to the FCS level next Saturday at Bobcat Stadium against Texas Southern (6 p.m.).