The Texas State Bobcats (2-4, 1-1 Sun Belt) fell short to the Troy Trojans (4-3, 2-1 Sun Belt) by a final score of 31-28. In what was a back and forth ballgame, the Cats ultimately couldn’t stop the Trojans on the ground, en route to their fourth loss of the season.
“We were playing coverage because of how much skill they (troy) have out there,” Spavital said. “it’s kind of rolling the dice on what you do. we were wanting them to run the ball.”
Troy came into this game averaging just 97 yards per game at under 3.4 yards per carry. The Bobcats lived with the results and the game plan coming into this game was exactly what you’d expect.
Despite not closing this game out in their favor, they made Troy play to their weakness. Even with the loss, the Bobcats were an interception away from bringing home their second conference win of the season.
The Bobcats started this game off with the ball and found themselves in deep waters in a big way. The Cats offensive line gave up two sacks on their first drive, even struggling to execute a screen pass on third and long.
After a Bobcats punt, QB Gunnar Watson drove Troy down into Texas State territory. Picking their way through the Cats defense, they settled for a 34-yard field goal that put them on the board. With a lead of 3-0, Troy found themselves up with 9:47 left in the first frame.
Texas State found hope on their second drive, converting on a 4th down around midfield before attempting yet another 4th down conversion. This time, Jahmyl Jeter was stone-walled at the Trojans 34-yard line, ending the TXST offense’s second drive in its tracks.
The Trojans hit the Cats right in the mouth on the following drive, going 1-play, 66-yards after a Texas State personal foul. The 51-yard rushing score was the longest of the season by a Troy player, scored by RB Kimani Vidal. This put the Trojans up 10 with plenty of time left in the first frame.
“I feel like we gave it to them,” dl jordan revels said. “we just made internal mistakes.”
After a 3-and-out for the Trojans, on their punt attempt, Texas State was able to disrupt the kick and block the attempt. The tipped punt landed the Cats in good field position, as they drove down the Trojans’ side of the field and scored from two yards out. RB Brock Sturges received a direct snap and plowed into the end-zone, closing Troy’s lead to just three points with 18 seconds left in the first quarter. The first frame ended with Troy up by a score of 10-7.
As the second frame began, offense came easier than ever for the Trojans. A 33-yard strike from Watson to Tez Johnson put Troy up by ten once again, by a score of 17-7 with 12:58 left in the second quarter.
But it wasn’t too much for the Cats to overcome, as Brady McBride found Javen Banks for a 75-yard hitter. The score pulled the Maroon and Gold back to within three after the touchdown pass.
After a plethora of short drives from both teams, the first half came to a close by a score of 17-14. Both teams scored through the air and on the ground, with neither team turning the football over through 30 minutes of game-time.
After a 4th down stop by the Bobcats defense to open up the third quarter, Texas State fumbled a snap inside their own 40 yard-line. The fumble gave the Trojans the ball inside of TXST territory with 7:25 left in the third frame.
The Trojans ended up capitalizing off of the turnover, with Vidal finding the end-zone for his second time on the day. From one-yard out, the rushing score put the Trojans up by a score of 24-14 with 6:19 left in the third quarter.
“That defense played hard,” Spavital said. “They played well enough to win the game. on offense, we’ve got to get better.”
The Bobcats fired back offensively, in what has been a great offensive showing as it pertains to playcalling from Coach Spavital and company. McBride and the offense went 7 plays for 70 yards with a touchdown strike from Brady to WR Ashtyn Hawkins, his first of the year. A crucial 7 points brought the Bobcats to within 3 points once again, as with 3:32 left in the third quarter, the Maroon and Gold were down by a score of 24-21.
Texas State one-upped themselves going for an onside kick and recovering it on their own 46-yard line. The Cats roared, driving all the way down to the Trojans 21-yard line. On 1st and 10 from the 21, Brady McBride delivered a dime to WR Trevis Graham Jr. in the corner of the end-zone to put the Bobcats up by a score of 28-24 with under a minute left in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter began with a Bobcats drive that ended with a Brady McBride interception, but Texas State’s defense held Troy to a three-and-out on the ensuing possession with 9:55 left in the 4th.
The Cats next possession ended with a pick-six, after two Texas State wideouts rubbed one another on their crossing routes. The timing was disrupted and ultimately led to an easy pitch and catch to the Trojan DB. The pick-six put Troy up by a score of 31-28 with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Trojans forced another interception on the Cats final drive, en route to winning the ball game. Troy’s offense picked up numerous first downs on the ensuing possession and held the football for the remainder of this game. Picking up their fourth win of the season, their second in conference, the Trojans land at 4-3 on the season.
“Disappointing loss. It comes down to, the effort and the passion that we play with. We’ve been talking about the execution,” Spavital said. “We’ve got to be able to finish games like this”
The Trojans flipped the script and were a run-first team on Saturday, limiting their throws and playing efficient offensive football. Defensively, they took a step back but ultimately played well enough to force three turnovers and win a big game against an in-conference opponent.
For the Bobcats, their fourth loss of the year is their first in-conference defeat in 2021. The Bobcats lost what was a very winnable game, but ultimately couldn’t stop the Trojans rushing attack as they put up over 200 yards on the Maroon and Gold defense.
Texas State will now travel on the road to take on Georgia State, a must-win game against yet another in-conference opponent. Next Saturday’s contest is a must-win for a Cats team that needs to stack wins on top of one another if they’re looking to go bowling at the end of the season.