Bobcats climb past So. Miss
HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Senior quarterback Tyler Arndt waited two years for his chance.
When it finally presented itself Saturday night in Texas State’s season-opening 22-15 win over Southern Mississippi, Arndt didn’t let it go. Arndt led a seven-play, 75-yard game-winning drive that was capped by his 17-yard touchdown run and an ensuing completion on a two-point conversion to junior tight end Bradley Miller in the corner of the end zone.
“I knew we were due for a good drive,” said Arndt, who last started a game in 2011 when the Bobcats faced Sam Houston State. “On the offensive side of the ball, we let the defense down pretty much all night and I knew we were due. I just tried to lead them and open it up a little bit.”
Prior to Arndt’s heroics, Texas State (1-0) struggled to move the ball against the Golden Eagles. Through three quarters, the Bobcats had 118 yards of total offense (60 through the air and 58 on the ground).
It wasn’t like Texas State’s defense failed to give the offense enough chances. Behind a vicious defensive effort, the Bobcats nabbed six turnovers — three of which came in the first quarter, including a 44-yard fumble return for a touchdown by junior cornerback Craig Mager that he ripped right out of USM wide receiver Tyre’oune Holmes’ hands.
“They probably haven’t been hit all week, so we came in hitting and trying to be a physical defense,” Mager said. “Coach Fran (Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione) has been telling us all offseason that we aren’t physical, that we aren’t ready, that we aren’t hitting anybody and that we aren’t getting any takeaways. We pulled them out today.”
It was the Bobcats who pulled a victory out of the jaws of defeat inside M.M. Roberts Stadium, also known as “The Rock,” after they faced a fourth-and-19 at their own 16-yard line late in the fourth quarter.
Instead of folding, Arndt connected with senior wide receiver Andy Erickson on a first down to extend the drive. Four plays later, Arndt kept the ball on a zone read and split the middle of the Golden Eagles’ defense.
“That play had been a hand-off all night and the guy chased the back,” Arndt said. “I saw a hole and took it.”
With the win, Texas State clinched its second consecutive win in a season opener against a team from Conference USA. Last year the Bobcats upset the University of Houston on the road.
“This game was a little harder fought,” said Texas State junior linebacker David Mayo, who had two interceptions. “Our offense had a tough time at times and our defense stepped up, then our offense stepped up when we needed them. It was a big win for us.”