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Bobcats look to send off seniors with win

canadyAlvin Canady, carrying the ball, is one of ten seniors in the Texas State starting linep playing his last game Saturday. The former San Marcos High School star has more than 2,500 all-purpose yards during his Texas State career. Texas State photo.

STAFF REPORT

A time for saying good bye will arrive sometime early Saturday evening, shortly after the Texas State football team completes its last game of the season.

The Bobcats (6-4 overall, 4-2 Southland Conference) would still win a portion of the league championship if they beat Sam Houston State at Bobcat Stadium (2 p.m.), while Stephen F. Austin and McNeese State both lose. In that case all three teams would be on top of the league at 5-2. But SFA holds the three-way tiebreaker. SFA also holds the tiebreaker if it should finish tied on top with only McNeese State.

Southeastern Louisiana fell out of the mix Thursday night with a 45-30 loss to Nicholls State, bringing the Lions down to 4-3 in the league. SFA plays at Northwestern State Saturday. Central Arkansas plays at McNeese State.

The Bobcats and Sam Houston State will tee it up for their annual rivalry as each team hopes to end the season on a high note. The Bearkats, 5-5 overall, want to finish the season with a winning record. The Bobcats, 6-4 overall, hope to support a standard of consistent winning that has been missing for 25 years.

With a win, the Bobcats would have 15 victories during the last two seasons. Last time they did that was 1983-84, when they finished a combined 16-6 after winning NCAA Division II national titles in 1981 and 1982. The Bobcats already are assured back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1990 (6-5) and 1991 (7-4) under Dennis Franchione.

So, the 2009 season hasn’t been as glorious as the Bobcats had hoped, but it’s not a total loss, either. And 13 players who helped bring the Bobcats to a level of respectability are seniors playing their final game Saturday.

Most notably, of course, the Bobcats will say good bye to senior quarterback Bradley George, who has made 40 starts since taking his first as a redshirt freshman in 2006. The Bobcats are 20-20 in those games, which don’t include last year’s outing when George came off the bench and rallied them to a 63-39 win against Texas Southern.

If George can finish with a bang — say, 331 passing yards against Sam Houston — he will set the school’s single-season passing yardage record. George enters the game with 2,799 passing yards for 2008, third all-time. Barrick Nealy holds the No. 2 spot (2,875 in 2003) and the No. 1 spot (3,129 in 2003). George already has marked up three of the six best passing seasons in school history, with two others belonging to Nealy and another belonging to David Williams (fifth, with 2,389 passing yards in 1995).

George already is the school’s career passing yardage leader at 9,234 yards and the school’s career total offense leader with 9,474 yards. With two touchdown passes against Sam Houston State, George would rank second on the single season list at 22 in 2009. George already holds the single-season record with 26 in 2008. He also holds fifth place with 16 in 2005. No one is even close to George’s school record of 73 career touchdown passes.

George also is second in Southland Conference history with 9.234 career passing yards. Nathan Brown, who finished his career at Central Arkansas last year, is the league’s all-time leader with 10,558 passing yards and 100 touchdown passes.

Offensive right tackle Calvin Gore and left tackle Alex Luna also will play for the last time at Texas State Saturday. Gore and Luna each had made 33 career starts on the Bobcats offensive line. Another senior, Michael Schneeweis, took over the left tackle spot during the middle of this season. Senior tight end Andrew Brooks has caught 12 passes in his career, all this year.

Senior running back Alvin Canady, the former star at San Marcos High School, also will play in his final game at Texas State after becoming the lead back due to Karrington Bush’s knee injury. Canady enters his final game with 1,398 career rushing yards, 876 career receiving yards and career 317 return yards.

Those are the six seniors in the offensive starting lineup. The Bobcats have two other seniors — right tackle Paul Sienkiewich and fullback Trey Hampton — on their offensive two-deep.

The Bobcats are much younger defensively, and it has shown. The defense includes only four seniors on the two-deep, but they all start.

Linebacker Joe Bell has played in only eight games this year, but he made 55 tackles. Defensive end Travis Houston has made 50 tackles. Defensive tackle Garrett Hood has made 40 tackles. Cornerback Will Thompson made two interceptions this year, the first two of his career.

What kind of game can the Bobcats expect Saturday against Sam Houston? Against Southland Conference teams this year, the Bearkats have averaged 26.8 points per game, while the Bobcats have allowed 26.2 points per game. Against those same opponents, the Bobcats have scored 31.0 points per game, while Sam Houston has allowed 34.8 points per game.