Chuck Cook - USA TODAY SPORTS
Texas State dominates Prairie View A&M
The Texas State Bobcats bounced back from a loss at Florida State last weekend, with a 63-24 win over Prairie View A&M on Saturday evening. The Bobcats jumped all over the Panthers from the get go, surging out to a 20-0 lead, aided by opening up the offense and going deep.
Robert Lowe and Chris Nutall started the scoring finding the end zone through the ground, but were set up on a 49 yard hook up between QB Tyler Jones and WR Jafus Gaines on the first drive. On the ensuing possession, Jones would find Brandon Smith for a 34 yard hook up, putting them into the red zone, and the third score was a bomb, a 65 yard pass and catch between Jones and Smith which made it 20-0. The PAT was botched.
“We never let them breathe, never let them have a chance, and never let them in the game,” said Head Coach Dennis Franchione.
Texas State would add another Chris Nutall score, and Brandon McDowell's spectacular punt return for a TD, making it 35-3 at the end of one. At the half, TXST was in cruise control, leading 56-17.
Jones, was 12 of 14 on the night, completing 86% of his passes, producing 278 yards through the air and 3 touchdowns. On the ground, both Robert Lowe and Chris Nutall made a big impact, combining for 196 yards and 4 TD's. The offense had 649 total yards, 333 yards through the air and 316 on the ground. Drawing the praise and approval of Head Coach Dennis Franchione afterwards.
On defense, Texas State allowed 402 total yards; 79 yards rushing and 320 yards passing. Coach Fran didn’t like the total yards amassed by the Panthers, but stated that the defense didn’t give up too many big plays. Prairie View won the possession battle, holding the ball for 33:10 of the game, so yards were surely going to be gained. Defensive end Rusmin Nikocevic made several plays in the back field to halt offensive drives by the Panthers, and safety Damani Alexcee contributed with a strip of the football from quarterback Trey Green that led to a Bobcat touchdown.
Like we mentioned previously, special teams also played a critical role in tonight’s game. Cornerback Brandon McDowell had a 95 yard punt return for a touchdown, which is the longest punt return in Texas State football history. The record was previously held by Craig Mager, with a 92 yard return in 2012. McDowell said that he actually spoke to Mager about that feat recently.
Overall, this was a strong performance by the Bobcats. The offense put up 56 points in the first half. The timing between Jones and his receivers was good, with several big plays down field.The running backs were able to gain chunks of yardage with ease. Both Chris Nutall and Rob Lowe commended the offensive line on their effort tonight, establishing themselves and opening running lanes.
The defense did allow a considerable amount of yards, but as noted, they stayed away from giving up the big gashing plays. The team did have a lot more penalties in this game, 9 for a total of 113 yards. Compared to only 1 last week against the 'Noles. The Texas State Coaching Staff will be sure to fine tune that in the coming week of practice.
Though the team earned a big win, Coach Franchione did have a few things that he would like for the team to improve upon. He said that the kickoff coverage was not very good, and that Lumi Kaba’s kickoffs were a little erratic at times. He also believes that Nutall is still rusty, which is to be expected after missing a full season, and would like for him to be a little more patient before bouncing his runs to the outside. He wants Nutall to focus on the four to five yard run north and south, then the big play will come from that.
Now the Bobcats prepare for Southern Mississippi (1-1) of Conference USA. The Golden Eagles will definitely be a step up in competition, and a stiff test for the 'Cats next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. from Bobcat Stadium on "Family Weekend."
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