Bobcats Win Big, Now Bowl Eligible

Riding the shoulders of RB Rob Lowe (Jr.), the Bobcats secured their sixth win of the season to become bowl eligible on Thursday night.

In a must-win game with bowl implications on the line, Junior RB Rob Lowe put together a career night to carry the Bobcats past the Arkansas State Red Wolves 45-27.

"It's a big win for this program," said Texas State Head Coach Dennis Franchione. "We want to move into this upper part of this league and these guys (Arkansas State) have been there."

Lowe's career night consisted of 244 yards on 29 carries with four touchdowns. As a team, the Bobcats were clicking on all cylinders as they amassed 563 yards of total offense.

"This is a great win," Lowe said following his career performance. "But it doesn't matter without the next win."

Texas State improved to 6-5 on the season and 4-3 in Sun Belt Conference play. But more importantly, the sixth win means that the Bobcats are now eligible for a bowl berth.

"We've got win number six," Franchione said about becoming bowl eligible. "History tells us we need seven."

Indeed finishing with just six wins may not be enough for the Bobcats to earn an bowl invitation, a lesson that Texas State learned in 2013.

"I don't know that we can call it a reality yet, we won six last year and didn't get in," said Franchione. "We're bowl eligible but we haven't gotten an invitation yet. There's nothing to take for granted with us."

After a tough loss last week at South Alabama, the Bobcats needed several big-game performances to keep their post-season aspirations alive. And that's exactly what they got Thursday night in all three phases.

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.

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