Bobcats knock off Panthers in triple overtime thriller

Senior+Joshua+Rowland+kicks+the+game-winning+field+goal+during+the+third+overtime+of+the+Georgia+State+game+on+Sept.+21+at+Bobcat+Stadium.+Photo+credit%3A+Kate+Connors
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Bobcats knock off Panthers in triple overtime thriller

Senior Joshua Rowland kicks the game-winning field goal during the third overtime of the Georgia State game on Sept. 21 at Bobcat Stadium. Photo credit: Kate Connors

Senior Joshua Rowland kicks the game-winning field goal during the third overtime of the Georgia State game on Sept. 21 at Bobcat Stadium. Photo credit: Kate Connors

Senior Joshua Rowland kicks the game-winning field goal during the third overtime of the Georgia State game on Sept. 21 at Bobcat Stadium. Photo credit: Kate Connors

Senior Joshua Rowland kicks the game-winning field goal during the third overtime of the Georgia State game on Sept. 21 at Bobcat Stadium. Photo credit: Kate Connors

Colton Mcwilliams

After a controversial call that saw the officials overturn a spiked ball call as the clock struck zero, the Texas State Bobcats toppled the Georgia State Panthers 37-34 in triple overtime to put them at 1-0 in conference.

Not only was this Texas State’s first victory of the season and Jake Spavital’s first win as a head coach, but the win also marked the first time the Bobcats have defeated a conference opponent at home since 2015.

The victory was even sweeter for the team because of their triple overtime struggle, Spavital said.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this team and how they just battled,” Spavital said. “The message all week was who was going to want it more, and who would have known it would have gone into three overtimes.”

Texas State began the back-and-forth scoring effort off an interception from Georgia State’s first drive by kicking a 45-yard field goal from kicker Justin Rowland.

The Panthers responded, however, driving down the field to score on a 17-yard pass.

After trading a couple of possessions, Texas State was forced to punt at the Georgia State 40-yard line. The ‘Cats managed to still utilize the play, recovering a fumble from the Panthers’ punt returner in the end zone to give them a 10-7 lead.

After the muffed punt return, Georgia State landed a touchdown once again to retake the lead at 14-10.

Texas State answered the Panther touchdown with a scoring drive of their own as Anthony D Taylor scored on a two yard touchdown run to retake the lead at 17-14.

In a case of foreshadowing, Georgia State ended the half by kicking a field goal as halftime began to tie the game at 17-17.

After being the sole scorers in the third quarter, the Bobcats recovered a punt but were forced to punt to start the fourth quarter. Georgia State took the opportunity, going on an eight minute drive to take the lead 24-20.

The ‘Cats quickly returned the favor with a near five-minute drive until Taylor ran 20 yards for his second touchdown of the night to bring the score up 27-24.

With less than a minute left in the game, the Panthers went in for the win but failed to punch it after the Bobcat defense held firm in their goal-line stand.

Georgia State settled with a field goal attempt after being stuffed once again to tie the game. The drama wasn’t over yet, however. In a whirlwind of events, the clock hit zero before the Panthers could kick, causing the Bobcats to rush the field amid celebratory fireworks.

However, the officials reviewed the play and controversially overturned the call, giving the Panthers one second left to kick.

Bobcat fans and the team were in shock after the questionable call, Spavital said.

“I thought the ball hit the ground when the clock was all zeroes,” Spavital said. “It was pretty emotional because everyone thought we had won the game.”

The Panthers successfully kicked the 20-yard field goal to send the game into overtime.

With the Bobcats electing to play defense first, Georgia State kicked off overtime with a 13-yard touchdown to go up 34-27.

Facing a fourth-down situation, Bobcats threw an incomplete pass towards the end zone but were bailed out on a pass inference call to put the ball at the 5-yard line.

Texas State capitalized on the penalty as Gresch Jensen scored on the read-option keeper to tie the game at 34-34.

The second overtime period was filled with drama when Texas State missed the field goal attempt, giving the Panthers a chance to win the game. However, Georgia State kicker Brandon Wright, who is considered one of the best kickers in the Sun Belt and in the nation, shockingly missed the game-winning field goal which came up short and sent the game into a third overtime.

In the third OT, Wright again missed the field goal and gave Texas State kicker Justin Rowland another chance. After Georgia State tried icing the kicker, Rowland nailed the field goal from 35 yards out and sent the Bobcats home with their first victory of 2019.

“It’s kind of cool, it’s actually my first game-winner,” Rowland said after the game. “Honestly the left hash was giving me some trouble and has been my Achilles Heel…honestly when we first went out there, I was kind of like ‘crap it’s the left hash and I’ve got to get the job done’, then the ice came and gave me more time to calm down.”

The game was also a historic one for London II, who tied a school record with 22 tackles.

“I’ve been kind of excited about it (tying the school record) since we finished it with a win,” London said. “The tackles are cool but we won too so it makes it not appreciated.”

Texas State wraps up non-conference play next Saturday in San Marcos with the renewal of the Battle of the Paddle rivalry against Nicholls State.

 

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