Defensive Coordinator John Thompson seemed to have this game marked on his calendar all season, and had his defense dialed in from the first snap. Thompson, the former d-coordinator at Arkansas State a season ago, put together a masterful game plan that slowed the high-powered Red Wolves offense.
Offensive line coach Brad Bedell, another former Arkansas State coach from a season ago, also put together a very good game plan that helped the offense total nearly 400 yards of offense on the ground (370 rushing yards).
Following the game, Coach Franchione announced that he had awarded two game balls in the locker room. For those who do not know, Coach Fran rarely awards game balls. In fact, he has awarded a game ball just once in this entire season. So it is even more rare for two game balls be awarded. On Thursday night, Coach Thompson and Coach Bedell received game balls for their coaching performances against their former team.
The Bobcats had eight players on defense reach over 5 tackles led by DE Karee Berry (Fr.), who had eight tackles, two TFL, and a sack. Berry's constant presence in the backfield along with Coach Thompson's various blitzes forced A-State QB Fredi Knighten to have to throw on the run most of the game.
After two consecutive scores by ASU and a fumble by Rob Lowe early in the third quarter, you could field the momentum starting to shift. The defense would take the field already backed up in their own territory. They forced the Red Wolves to go for it on fourth and six, and squashed the passing play and holding rock solid. Karee Beree would run Knighten out of the pocket and force an inaccurate pass to the sidelines and a turnover on downs, to shift the momentum back in the right direction for the Bobcats.
With the game still in contention (38-27), Lowe would get the ball on third and 13 with 1:42 left to play. He would put an exclamation mark on the end of his night by running up the middle then bouncing the play outside of tackle and straight up the field en route to a 50 yard touchdown. The score would put the 'Cats up 45-27, destroying any visions Arkansas State had of mounting a comeback.
With this win, the Bobcats become "bowl eligible", but still need a win next week to become more attractive for an invite. Texas State travels to Atlanta, Georgia to take on Georgia State in the last game of the regular season. Kick off is set for 1 p.m. kickoff.