Self Inflicted Loss, 24-20

The roller coaster ride of a season continues for Texas State. Missed scoring opportunities on Jaguar turnovers, costly penalties, and clock management down the stretch cost the 'Cats their sixth win of the season.

Late in the game, with many thinking that Texas State should've never been in this position, the Bobcats still had a chance to escape South Alabama with a win Saturday night. On 2nd and goal from the USA 4 yard line, with :05 seconds left, Tyler Jones took a snap from the shotgun. Avoided pressure, rolled to his left, fired a bullet intended for Ben Ijah, which would fall incomplete as time expired. The Jags celebrated on the field as Texas State looked on, absolutely stunned, and some players frozen in their tracks remaining on the sideline.

Ijah was knocked down on the play, while he and others were asking for a flag. The play happened so quickly and there was no replay to see if it was a blown pass interference call, but none the less, the Bobcats should not have been in that position.

Early on, in the 1st quarter, Texas State would force 3 straight Jaguar fumbles. All recovered by TXST in USA territory, their 44, 32, and 28 yard lines. All three fumbles came in consecutive series as Texas State would only muster 10 points on the takeaways. Rob Lowe would dive in from 1 yard out, Will Johnson would make a 41 yard FG, but then miss a 38 yarder, as the Jaguars were very fortunate to dodge multiple bullets and not be facing a 21-0 deficit in the 1st quarter.

South Alabama would close the gap to 10-7 with their 1st touchdown in the 2nd quarter, but Tyler Jones and the Bobcat offense would respond. With the help of a Jaguar blown coverage, he would find tight end Lawrence White open up the seam towards the TXST sideline and he would rumble in for the score on the 46 yard touchdown.

USA would add a field goal to make it 17-10 at the half. The Bobcats were out-gaining the Jaguars in total yards, 291-185. Had forced and recovered three turnovers, but were also hampered by 5 penalties for 60 yards. Looking at the stat sheet and game flow, it was head scratching to only see Texas State up seven points at the break.

South Alabama would tie it up on their 1st drive on the second half, making it 17-17 and would take the lead on their first possession of the 4th quarter, 24-17. They reeled off 17 straight points before TXST would answer.

On their heels, looking like the game was about to escape the Bobcats, the defense answered the call once more. In Texas State territory, the Jags looked to add to their lead. USA QB Hunter Vaughn would drop back and fire to his intended receiver along the USA sideline. The WR would fall down and David Mims snatched the ball for an INT, and would run it back to the Jaguar 25 yard line, putting the offense right on the door step of the red zone.

The offense would pick up one first down, but would stall on the USA 13. With 4:27 to go in the game and the offense struggling at this point, Dennis Franchione elected for a field goal instead of going for it on a 4th and 9. Will Johnson would nail the 31 yarder, making it 24-20.

Still needing the ball back for one final shot, Texas State would rely on it's defense, and as it has constantly all year, the Bobcat "D" would tote the weight. Holding the Jags to a quick 3 and out, getting the ball back into Tyler Jones hands with 2:35 to go in the game.

On a 4th and 7, Jones would hook up with Brandon Smith for 21 yards to the USA 31, keeping hope alive for a last second win. TXST would take it's last timeout after a few more plays with :39 seconds remaining. On 3rd and 7, Jones would connect with Bradley Miller who tried to get out of bounds, but was tackled in the field of play, with the clock running, no timeouts and a 4th and 2. Jones would rally the troops to the line, but on a 4th down, a little more time was needed to make sure the play call was in correctly. Jones then found C.J. Best over the middle for 6 yards and a first down to the USA 4. As the refs moved to spot the ball, TXST was ready and spiked the ball with :05 seconds left. In 2 plays, 34 seconds had ran off the clock.

Two missed field goals, 7 penalties for an additional 72 yards, and questionable time management down the stretch, cost the Bobcats a win on Saturday night, and bowl eligibility for the time being as well.

Now Texas State must prepare for Arkansas State on short rest for a Thursday night match-up at Bobcat Stadium on national television. ESPNU will be airing the game and kickoff is set for a late 8:30 p.m. start. The Red Wolves will be looking to get back on track as well after they suffered a stunning home loss to conference newcomer Appalachian State, 37-32 on Saturday. The mid-week contest will be a crucial one for both teams as Texas State is in search of it's sixth win for bowl eligibility. With three Sun Belt teams already bowl eligible, Texas State will more than likely have to win it's final two games in order to nab an at large bowl bid.

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