After a month away from home, the Texas State Bobcats (2-4,1-1) made their return to Bobcat Stadium in style, beating the South Alabama Jaguars (3-4, 1-2), 36-18.
The night was highlighted by one of the rarest plays in football, the elusive kick-six.
On a last ditch effort to score before the half; South Alabama attempted a 53-yard field goal with seconds left in the second quarter. After a timeout just before the kick, TXST head coach Dennis Franchione sent McDowell deep just in case the kick was short.
"That was huge,” said Franchione. “Glad I thought to put him back there. He made me look smart. Guys did a great job blocking for him and he did a great job returning. That was a huge play of the game."
Fran’s hunch paid off as McDowell fielded the ball three yards deep in the end zone and ran it all the way back for the touchdown with no time left in the first half. It’s officially counted as a 100-yard “kick-six.” McDowell’s miraculous play gave the Bobcats a 19-3 advantage at halftime.
"I kind of had a feeling when they told me to go back there,” said McDowell. They kicked it short, I caught it and I knew there were a lot of linemen on the field so I just tried to get to the sideline."
Rob Lowe had himself a phenomenal night, with 241 yards rushing off 30 attempts and three touchdowns. It was Lowe’s second 100-yard rushing game of the season. He also moved to sixth all time in career rushing yards and fourth all time in career rushing touchdowns for Texas State.
" Makes you wonder why I even run the ball. When in doubt, give it to (Lowe),” said Franchione.
Lumi Kaba had a career day. He had five punts land inside the 20, including a career-long 69-yard punt that died at the one-yard line. His performance shouldn’t be understated as he took pressure off the defense while setting up the offense with great field position. Not too mention he nailed a career-best 36-yard field goal.
"Got to point out Lumi Kaba, what a game he had,” said Franchione. “He kicked it out of the end zone on every kick off, I believe."
The Bobcats forced the Jaguars to punt on their first possession of the game. It marked the first time this season that Bobcats have held their opponent to punt on their first drive.
After allowing a field goal in the first quarter, the Bobcats’ first drive of the second quarter went 12 plays for 95 yards, ending with a three-yard score by Tyler Jones. The Bobcats picked up five first downs, including three by Jones.
Rob Lowe found the end zone on the Bobcats’ next drive, off a three-yard run. A missed PAT on the first score and failed two-point conversion on the next gave them a 12-3 score.
McDowell’s kick-six gave the Bobcats a 19-3 lead going into halftime.
After both teams went three and out on their opening drives of the second half, the Bobcats needed just three plays to find the end zone again. An 18-yard run by Jones, followed by back-to-back 16-yard runs by Lowe, the second one going for a score.
After allowing a touchdown in the third quarter, the Bobcats led, 26-10, going into the fourth quarter.
Lowe set up a field goal with a 34-yard run. Kaba nailed the 36-yard attempt to give TXST a 29-10 lead in the fourth quarter.
The Jags scored again in the fourth quarter, ending a long drive on two-yard run by the QB.
Lowe finished the game off with 54-yard touchdown run with three minutes left in the game, securing the final score of 36-18.
Tyler Jones finished went 13-23 with 105 yards passing and one interception. The Bobcats also had 11 penalties for 111 yards, “"Our lack of passing could be attributed to the weather but I feel our running game doing so well had a lot to do with it as well,” said Franchione. “We had some penalties, holds and things, that drove me crazy. Easy to forget those after a win."
The Bobcats have a short turn around, as they travel to Georgia Southern to play Eagles this Thursday night.