Bobcats trampled by SMU Mustangs

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Bobcats trampled by SMU Mustangs

Junior wide receiver Caleb Twyford weaves between the SMU defense Sept 14.

Junior wide receiver Caleb Twyford weaves between the SMU defense Sept 14.

Jakob Rodriguez

Junior wide receiver Caleb Twyford weaves between the SMU defense Sept 14.

Jakob Rodriguez

Jakob Rodriguez

Junior wide receiver Caleb Twyford weaves between the SMU defense Sept 14.

Andrew Zimmel, Sports Reporter

When Texas State football headed to the Hilltop for a Southern Methodist matchup on Saturday, the team was in desperate need of an unlikely win to right the ship and propel the team into conference with some momentum. Instead, the ‘Cats fell a step back with a 47-17 blowout loss, marking the first time the program was 0-3 since moving to the Division 1 level.

Bobcat defense was tested quickly against a Mustang offense led by University of Texas transfer quarterback Shane Buechele. Under Buechele’s wing, the team was able to move down the field and score a split second touchdown after a pass to Myron Gailliard put the Mustangs in the red zone early in the first quarter.

The ‘Cats didn’t fall back yet, and after a Buechele interception by sophomore Jarron Morris, the team settled for a field goal to put the score at 7-3 in the first quarter.

A dry spell soon hit the Bobcats, and the team was unable to score again for over 30 minutes of game time while the Mustangs continued to rack up 20 more points. Texas State made it back to the end zone once again into the third quarter with a catch from junior transfer quarterback Gresh Jensen to senior Anthony J. Taylor to cut the lead down to 27-10.

The Bobcats would score one more time after bringing sophomore Tyler Vitt at quarterback. Vitt landed a pass to junior Caleb Twyford with just under six minutes left on the clock to finish with 17 points on the board. The game marked the second time the ‘Cats took a loss of 30 points or more this season.

The Texas State defense, known recently as being one of the better Sun Belt defensive units, was unable to stop SMU’s freshman running back TJ McDaniel, who rushed for 159 yards and three touchdowns on only eight attempts. The defense still performed well but were plagued with issues due to inaction from the offense, Head Coach Jake Spavital said.

“You look at the defense and the way they’re playing, they come out of the first half giving up only 13 points in that first half on eight drives,” Spavital said. “That’s pretty good. Credit to the defense, but (in) the second half the defense was worn down and we couldn’t really get much going on offense.”

There were some high notes on Texas State’s defensive side. The ‘Cats recorded two momentum-changing picks throughout the game, including senior Jalen Smith’s first interception of the season in the second quarter. Another career first came for senior linebacker Frankie Griffin, who successfully blocked a Mustang kick to mark the first block of the season for the Bobcats.

Senior linebacker Bryan London was able to rack up his defensive stats as well, collecting 10 tackles in the loss. Saturday marked the 20th game of London’s career with double-digit tackles. Despite his success, the loss took a toll on the team’s defense, according to London.

“Anytime you don’t win there is frustration,” London said. “I wasn’t recruited here to play offense. At the end of the day, we gave up 47 points. The offense, they did what they did, but we can play better.”

A surprise high note to the game came in the form of former President George W. Bush, who gave the ‘Cats a pep talk and cracked jokes at Spavital in the locker room just before they hit the field. Among the team was Texas State president Denise Trauth, who joined Bush in taking a picture with the team.

The season thus far has marked an offensive low in new head coach Jake Spavital’s career. Under Spavital’s wing as offensive coordinator, West Virginia’s offense failed to score 20 points only four times in his two years as offensive coordinator. By contrast, Texas State has failed to rack up 20 points in any games this season, something the team wants to learn and move on from, according to Spavital.

“We’ve got to put these three games behind us,” Spavital said.“Those were three quality opponents. Now, we’ve got to get back to work tomorrow and keep correcting and getting better as a team.”

The Bobcats hit conference for their second home matchup against Georgia State next week, who successfully defeated SEC team Tennessee earlier this year but lost by 47 points to Western Michigan. The team is ready to play the time after defeating them last year, Spavital said.

“We beat (Georgia State) last year so I think there is some confidence just in terms of knowing we can play with these guys,” Spavital said. “We just have to play better together. That’s what it comes down to.”

As five-point favorites, the ‘Cats are not the underdogs for the first time this season in next week’s home conference matchup against Georgia State on Saturday.

Stay updated on all things Texas State by following the football team on Twitter at @TXSTATEFOOTBALL or visiting txstatebobcats.com.

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