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‘Cats claw out third win of season against Warhawks

Texas+State+junior+defensive+lineman+Nico+Ezidore+%2895%29+holds+back+a+ULM+offensive+lineman+during+the+second+half+of+the+game%2C+Saturday%2C+Nov.+6%2C+2021%2C+at+Bobcat+Stadium.+The+Bobcats+won+27-19.

Texas State junior defensive lineman Nico Ezidore (95) holds back a ULM offensive lineman during the second half of the game, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, at Bobcat Stadium. The Bobcats won 27-19.

After suffering a 45-0 shutout against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, Texas State football (3-6 overall, 2-3 Sun Belt) bounced back with a 27-19 win against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (4-5 overall, 2-4 Sun Belt) on Nov. 6.
The victory snapped the Bobcats’ three-game losing streak, all of which came against Sun Belt opponents.
Junior quarterback Tyler Vitt took his second start of the season under center as sophomore quarterback Brady McBride was nursing an ankle injury.
“We had thoughts of playing them both,” Head Coach Jake Spavital said. “You’re probably going to see them both in the future. Brady’s played a lot of ball and he’s done some really good things for us. Unfortunately, his injury has been one of those nagging deals, but with time he’s gonna be healthier … I think he’s ready to roll. He had a good week of practice.”
Despite Vitt’s lack of snaps this season, the offense came out aggressive early in the game. In the Bobcats’ second drive, they were pinned back at their two-yard line, yet a 42-yard completion from Vitt to junior wide receiver Marcell Barbee helped set up a 42-yard field by sophomore kicker Seth Keller, taking an early 3-0 lead.
ULM responded the following drive, going down the field to score a one-yard touchdown by sophomore running back Andrew Henry (23 ATT, 82 YDs, 1 TD), taking the lead 6-3.
The Bobcats came back more aggressive as they traveled 75 yards in 1:11, capped off by a 49-yard touchdown pass from Vitt to junior wide receiver Javen Banks, going ahead 10-6 late in the first quarter.
The Warhawks followed with a run-heavy drive, capped off by a 52-yard field goal by senior kicker Calum Sutherland, making the score 10-9.
With a chance to increase their lead, Texas State relied on its passing game for 65 yards, leading to a one-yard touchdown by senior running back Caleb Twyford (2 ATT, 11 YDs, 1 TD), bringing the score to 17-9.
The Warhawks responded with a drive, which included a 43-yard completion on a third down and a 10-yard touchdown run by freshman quarterback Chandler Rogers on fourth down, making the score 17-16. Keller made a 43-yard field goal on Texas State’s next drive, giving the team a 20-16 lead going into halftime.
The Warhawks came back on the first drive of the second half with a 45-yard field goal by Sutherland, to put them down by one point again, 20-19. However, both offenses became relatively stagnant for the remainder of the contest as the Bobcats were left to protect their one-point lead.
With a slim margin of victory, both teams took their shots to score in the fourth quarter. Early in the period, Sutherland attempted a 51-yard field goal to take the lead yet missed wide right.
Midway through the period, both teams attempted a total of three successive fourth-down attempts, yet each failed.
With 2:42 left in the contest, the Bobcats had the ball with expectations to run out the clock. However, after the Warhawks were forced to burn two timeouts, they allowed sophomore running back Jahmyl Jeter to score a 26-yard touchdown, putting them down 27-19, but still giving themselves 1:43 on the clock.
Despite the tactic as well as one timeout left, ULM had another failed fourth-down attempt.
Looking at the stat sheet, the Bobcats’ victory looks slightly improbable as they performed worse than the Warhawks in multiple categories. Texas State committed six offensive penalties in the game, costing them 51 yards. They were also dominated in time of possession, having the ball for only 21:58 compared to ULM’s 38:02. Additionally, Texas State could not convert on third down (3-12) while ULM consistently capitalized on those same opportunities (11-22).
Despite the pitfalls, Texas State’s defense held the Warhawks to only 4.4 yards per play for the contest, crucially defending a one-point lead for the majority of the second half.
“We had more explosive plays in the first half and played team football in the second half,” Spavital said. “That’s what it comes down to … stats can be skewed in a lot of ways. Time of possession was bad for us in the second half. It was actually bad for us in the entire game, but we were scoring pretty quickly in the first half. [The Warhawks] never had a drive where they went right down the field and scored … you gotta end up looking at how the game played out … however the stats are, we ended up coming out with the win and that’s all that matters.”
Vitt finished the game with 16-of-31 passes for 262 yards, 37 yards on the ground and one touchdown. His performance earned him Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week honors.
“Vitt’s awesome,” Spavital said. “He’s a great teammate. He’s one of our team captains … just proud that he got a win.”
Jeter led all rushers with a season-high of 92 net yards on 16 carries, scoring one touchdown. Barbee nabbed five receptions for 102 yards on the day followed by Banks with two catches, 62 yards and one touchdown.
On defense, senior inside linebacker Markeveon Coleman led the team with 14 tackles. The safety pair of freshman Zion Childress and sophomore DeJordan Mask followed up 11 tackles apiece. Freshman linebacker Issiah Nixon finished with nine tackles, two of which were for loss, along with one of the Bobcats’ three sacks.
With three games left in the season, Texas State must win all three to remain bowl-eligible, yet, according to Spavital, that is not the team’s focus.
“It’s one game at a time with us,” Spavital said. “I think every Sun Belt game takes two years off my life … every week’s a new season. Every week’s a new process.”
The Bobcats will defend home field for a final time this season against the Georgia Southern Eagles at 2 p.m. on Nov. 13 at Bobcat Stadium. This game will air on ESPN+.

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  • Texas State freshman running back Calvin Hill (22) holds onto the ball as he runs down field away from ULM defense, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, at Bobcat Stadium. The Bobcats won 27-19.

  • Texas State head coach Jake Spavital talks to offensive coordinator Jacob Peeler and offensive lines coach Jim Tuner during a timeout of the game against ULM, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, at Bobcat Stadium. The Bobcats won 27-19.

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