Mistakes plague Bobcats in first conference loss

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Mistakes plague Bobcats in first conference loss

Freshman defensive back Khambrail Winters gets a pep talk from head Coach Jake Spavital against University Louisiana-Monroe Oct 10 2019 at Bobcat Stadium. Photo credit: Jamie Dorsey

Freshman defensive back Khambrail Winters gets a pep talk from head Coach Jake Spavital against University Louisiana-Monroe Oct 10 2019 at Bobcat Stadium. Photo credit: Jamie Dorsey

Jamie Dorsey

Freshman defensive back Khambrail Winters gets a pep talk from head Coach Jake Spavital against University Louisiana-Monroe Oct 10 2019 at Bobcat Stadium. Photo credit: Jamie Dorsey

Jamie Dorsey

Jamie Dorsey

Freshman defensive back Khambrail Winters gets a pep talk from head Coach Jake Spavital against University Louisiana-Monroe Oct 10 2019 at Bobcat Stadium. Photo credit: Jamie Dorsey

Dedrick Johnson

After two straight wins and a week of rest, the Bobcats were unable to tie for first in conference, losing 24-14 at home against the University of Louisiana-Monroe late Thursday night.

Texas State lost their win streak on a nationally-televised stage and took a step back to 1-1 in conference play with a 2-4 overall record.

ULM wasted no time getting points on the board, kicking off the game with an easy 75-yard march down the field to put them up 7-0.

Monroe running back Josh Johnson finished this drive off by punching it in from the goal line on a 1-yard touchdown run. Johnson entered this game leading the Sun Belt in rushing and kept his momentum with 114 yards and two touchdowns against the ‘Cats.

Offensively, the Bobcats were able to put together solid drives but couldn’t find ways to get the ball in the endzone. The ‘Cats ended their first drive with a turnover on downs after an incomplete pass. Throughout the course of the game the offense had several issues with the snap, pass protection problems and costly dropped passes.

The offense still needs to step up and find ways to put the ball in the endzone, Head Coach Jake Spavital said.

“We have to figure out how to move the football,” Spavital said. “Offensively we are playing pretty poor right now, so we have to get back to the drawing boards.”

The Bobcats’ first touchdown came in the second quarter from true freshman running back Calvin Hill, who hit the outside and got in the endzone from three yards out to making the score 14-7. The touchdown was Hill’s second collegiate carry.

A surprise came for the ‘Cats as the time ran out of the third quarter when starting quarterback Gresch Jensen was replaced by sophomore Tyler Vitt. In his first snap of the game, Vitt threw a dot to sophomore receiver Trevis Graham Jr. across the middle for a 62-yard touchdown to tighten the score at 17-14.

Graham said the play was a huge momentum swing for the team and says that the play was even more special because he and Vitt were previously roommates.

“We’ve been working this play all week and when I got the call, I knew it was going to be a big play,” Graham said. “We are so close, and we are always hanging out, (so) it just felt like we were playing backyard football.

The game was sealed late in the 4th quarter after Vitt threw an interception and the Warhawks ran the clock out to conclude the game 24-14.

The Bobcats were plagued with injuries throughout the game, with several of their key players on both sides of the ball missing crucial game time. Starting quarterback Gresch Jensen was benched after one too many sacks caused him to miss the second half for concussion protocol, shaking up the entire lineup of the game. Sophomore running back Caleb Twyford also left the game after the first half, but not before leading the team in rushing with 78 yards off of 10 carries.

It was challenging to get into a groove with many important players hurt, according to Spavital.

“It was tough to get into a rhythm when we are moving and shuffling so many guys,” Spavital said.

Texas State’s defense kept up their reputation with another solid performance, coming up with two key turnovers to keep the ball out of Warhawk hands. Senior Jashon Waddy caught his second straight interception in two games off of a deep ball early in the game. Another turnover came from a stripped fumble forced by sophomore defensive lineman Nico Ezidore, which was quickly scooped by senior linebacker Clifton Lewis for a 26-yard run.

Senior linebacker Bryan London III, who was out last game due to minor injuries, came back with a vengeance Thursday night to pace the team with 11 tackles. London also made history by recording his 400th career tackle during the game, putting him in the Texas State record books as only the third Bobcat to reach this mark.

Lewis said that he enjoys playing alongside London and believes he makes a big impact on the team.

“Bryan has been the captain for our team for 4 years,” Lewis said. “When he steps on the field it gives our team a boost.”

The ‘Cats will go on a 16-day break with another bye week, giving them time to get everyone healthy once again as they look to turn things around on the road against Arkansas State on October 26.

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