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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Texas State concludes historic season with first bowl victory in program history

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  • Texas State senior cornerback Kaleb Ford Dement is congratulated by president Kelly Damphousse during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game versus Rice, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State Head Coach G.J. Kinne walks out of the tunnel alongside reshirt sophomore quarterback T.J. Finley (7) ahead of the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game versus Rice, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State head coach G.J. Kinne awaits the field alongside sophomore quarterback T.J. Finley prior to the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game versus Rice, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State sophomore quarterback T.J. Finley walks onto the field alongside senior linebacker Brian Holloway, prior to the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game versus Rice, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State sophomore running back Ismail Mahdi splits the Rice defense during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State redshirt senior running back Jahmyl Jeter (28) carries the ball against Rice during the First Responder Bowl, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas.

  • Texas State junior wide receiver Ashtyn Hawkins puts the moves on his defender after the catch versus Rice University in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State junior wide receiver Ashtyn Hawkins attacks the Rice defense in red zone territory during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State junior wide receiver Ashtyn Hawkins (1) barks at his defender during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game versus Rice, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State redshirt sophomore quarterback T.J. Finley (7) discusses the play call with senior running back Jahmyl Jeter, during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game versus Rice, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State sophomore quarterback T.J. Finley discusses the play call with senior running back Jahmyl Jeter, during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game versus Rice, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State redshirt sophomore quarterback T.J. Finley (7) prepares to snap the ball versus Rice during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game versus Rice, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Senior linebacker Brian Holloway celebrates with the turnover chain after a pick-six versus Rice during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game, Tuesday, dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State junior offensive lineman Nash Jones scores a touchdown off the trick play versus Rice during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Sophomore quarterback T.J. Finley (7) celebrates a second pick-six for senior linebacker Brian Holloway (0) during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game versus Rice, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State senior safety Shaun Holton is congratulated with the turnover chain during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game versus Rice, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State senior cornerback Kaleb Ford-Dement is congratulated with the turnover chain during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game versus Rice, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State redshirt senior linebacker Brian Holloway (0) hypes the crowd after a defensive stop versus Rice during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State senior cornerback Kaleb Ford-Dement greets a young fan after the victory over Rice University in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State senior linebacker Brian Holloway celebrates with his teammates after securing a victory over Rice during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State football celebrates its first bowl game victory in school history after defeating Rice University in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Bobcats won 45-21.

  • Texas State freshman punter Darius Green celebrates the Bobcats’ first bowl game victory over Rice in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl game, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas.

  • Texas State sophomore cornerback Joshua Eaton celebrates the Bobcats’ first ever bowl game victory after defeating Rice in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl Game, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Junior defensive tackle Christian Rorie lifts the 2023 SERVPRO First Responder Bowl Trophy after the victory over Rice University, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

  • Texas State redshirt senior running back Jahmyl Jeter (28) carries the ball against Rice during the First Responder Bowl, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas.

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It was a sea of maroon and gold Tuesday night at Gerald J. Ford Stadium as Texas State football (8-5, 4-4 Sun Belt Conference) defeated Rice University (6-7, 4-4 American Athletic Conference) 45-21 in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl in Dallas.

It was a historic win for Texas State as the Bobcats won their first bowl game in program history, an achievement eleven years in the making.

“That was the message,” Texas State Head Coach G.J. Kinne said. “Going to a bowl game is great, but winning a bowl game is what matters. They went out there and performed. I thought the gameplan was really well put together.”

Texas State started the game strong, going on a quick six-play drive on its first offensive possession, capped off by a 29-yard rushing touchdown from redshirt senior running back Jahmyl Jeter. Jeter finished with 36 rushing yards on eight carries and a team-high three rushing touchdowns.

The Owls responded later in the first quarter after a Texas State special teams penalty set them up in Bobcat territory. Redshirt freshman quarterback A.J. Padgett connected with redshirt junior wide receiver Luke McCaffrey for a seven-yard touchdown pass. Padgett finished 10-21 for 85 yards, one touchdown pass and two pick-sixes, both to Texas State redshirt senior linebacker Brian Holloway.

Holloway, who was playing in the final game of his collegiate career, finished with four solo tackles and the two-pick sixes. Holloway is the first player in Texas State program history to have two interceptions returned for touchdowns in one game.

“The way [Brian Holloway] played and performed this year, he didn’t miss very many snaps,” Kinne said. “For him to come out and have those interceptions and touchdowns and to end his college career like that, you couldn’t ask for a better ending.”

Holloway’s first pick-six put Texas State up 21-7 in the second quarter. Rice responded with a pair of touchdown drives to tie the score at 21-21 late in the quarter.

Redshirt sophomore kicker Mason Shipley drilled a 31-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to give Texas State a 24-21 halftime lead.

“I told the team to just control your emotions,” Kinne said. “You’re the better team. Just go out there and perform.”

Texas State outscored the Owls 21-0 in the second half, with two of the scores coming in the third quarter en route to the historic 45-21 victory.
The Texas State defense terrorized the Owls’ offense all game, combining for four sacks and seven total turnovers. Two sacks came from junior defensive end Ben Bell.

“Tonight [the defense] was locked in,” Holloway said. “We’ve had four weeks of preparation, so guys were ready to go out and execute.”

Tuesday’s win gives Texas State its eighth of the season, marking the first time the program has won eight games since joining the FBS in 2012.

“I feel like when I took [the Texas State] job, everyone talked about the sleeping giant,” Kinne said. “Well, it’s awake. The way we played [tonight], getting eight wins, getting a bowl victory in Texas against an in-state opponent. I think this is just the beginning.”

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