Aggies BTHO Texas State

Linebacker+Frankie+Griffin+lunges+to+take+down+an+A%26M+running+back.+Photo+credit%3A+Kate+Connors
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Aggies BTHO Texas State

Linebacker Frankie Griffin lunges to take down an A&M running back. Photo credit: Kate Connors

Linebacker Frankie Griffin lunges to take down an A&M running back. Photo credit: Kate Connors

Kate Connors

Linebacker Frankie Griffin lunges to take down an A&M running back. Photo credit: Kate Connors

Kate Connors

Kate Connors

Linebacker Frankie Griffin lunges to take down an A&M running back. Photo credit: Kate Connors

Sean Anchondo

a Texas State linebacker lunges to take down an A&M running back.

Kate Connors
Linebacker Frankie Griffin lunges to take down an A&M running back. Photo credit: Kate Connors

The 12th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies did what they were supposed to do at Kyle Field on Thursday- they dominated. The Bobcats went into the fourth-largest college stadium as heavy underdogs, playing under the gaze of the biggest crowd the program has ever seen. With 98,000 fans screaming, the Bobcats were shaky out of the gate, culminating in a 41-7 blowout loss which first-year head coach Jake Spavital chalked up to mental errors.

Starting quarterback Tyler Vitt threw two early interceptions and never looked comfortable in the pocket. Spavital and offensive coordinator Bob Stitt made the decision to bench Vitt for backup Gresch Jensen, a quarterback who has competed with Vitt for the starting title since the spring game.

Spavital said the decision to bench Vitt came after the second interception at Kyle Field.

“We talked about putting Gresch in the second quarter at some point,” Spavital said. “After a couple of interceptions and a couple of missed throws, you know, let’s get him one series before the half ended and just go from there to see where we are at.”

Jensen’s first pass was completed at 11 yards, but the next play was intercepted. The two quarterbacks combined for four interceptions in the game.

Jensen finished the night 20-31 passing for 160 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, while Vitt finished with 9-15 and 51 yards passing with two interceptions.

The experience of the offensive line was one of the perceived strengths of Texas State which would have bolstered their running game.

That was not the case on Thursday night. The Bobcats ran for just 36 yards on 15 attempts for an average of 0.5 yards per carry. Anthony D. Taylor finished the game with 19 rushing yards on seven carries.

The quarterbacks for the Bobcats also put the defense in bad spots throughout the game. The Aggies capitalized on turnovers and turned them into points after points on the board. Spavital linked the loss to the team’s inability to solidify an offensive identity.

“We still have a long way to go offensively,” Spavital said. “We are still trying to figure out our quarterback situation. I think a lot of the mistakes made were self-inflicted.”

It wasn’t all bad for Texas State offense. As the clock ticked down in the last minute of play, Jensen was able to throw a last-ditch touchdown to deny the Aggies a shutout. Jensen connected with sophomore wide receiver Trevis Graham for a 27-yard touchdown with 36 seconds left in the game. The lone touchdown for the Bobcats came off of an 84-yard drive led by Jensen.

Despite being in bad situations all game, the defense did show grit and were able to force two red zone turnovers. Another glimpse of optimism shone through with a nifty one-handed interception by senior linebacker Bryan London II in the end zone, who then returned the ball 13 yards.

“It was my first interception,” London II said. “We were just in a drop eight and I just read the quarterback’s eyes and he just gave me a freebee and I decided to make the play.”

The Aggies scored 28 points in the first half but were only able to score 13 in the second half including just three points in the third quarter. Overall, Spavital was proud of how the team battled in the environment.

“I’m pleased with the fight they didn’t give up and they are not giving up on anything,” Spavital said. ”I think in the long run if we keep getting better and we keep stacking days like we talk about, by the end of the year I think we will be playing our best football.”

The Bobcats will play their first home game of the season at 6 p.m. on Saturday against Wyoming at Bobcat Stadium.

 

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