Bobcats can't shake off mistakes in 24-7 loss to Louisiana

Photo from Texas State Athletics

Texas State Football

LAFAYETTE, Louisiana — An early first-quarter fumble by fifth-year senior quarterback Damian Williams set a tone for Texas State in Thursday’s game against Louisiana — And not a good one.

It wasn’t the only Bobcat turnover, they finished with three, but the Ragin’ Cajuns had already taken a 7-0 lead and they added another touchdown following the fumble. Texas State received a valiant effort from freshman quarterback Willie Jones III and an improved defensive performance throughout the second and third quarters.

But the Bobcats lost 24-7 to Louisiana inside Cajun Field extending their current losing streak to six games.

“We turned it over more than they did,” head coach Everett Withers said. “They won the game.”

Following Williams' second fumble in two weeks, Texas State (1-6, 0-3 Sun Belt) handed the reins to Jones with the Bobcats trailing 14-0 — Both Ragin’ Cajun (3-3, 2-1) touchdowns came from rushes by redshirt freshman running back Trey Ragas.

Jones dazzled at times, but also displayed freshman hiccups.

The 6-foot-3 signal-caller from Silsbee used pass completions to freshman wide receiver Jeremiah Haydel and sophomore wide receiver Hutch White to settle into the passing game in his first drive. Then Texas State deployed a rushing attack of Jones and running backs Anthony D. Taylor and Robert Brown, Jr to get down to the Ragin’ Cajun 30. But Louisiana snuffed out a 4th-and-inches quarterback sneak to force a turnover on downs. .

Late in the second quarter, Jones took the Bobcats all the way down to the Ragin’ Cajun 7 with an 18-yard pass to White and a 40-yard completion to senior wide receiver Elijah King. But Texas State committed its second turnover when Jones threw an interception on 3rd and goal.

The Bobcat defense, which limited Louisiana to 38 yards in the second quarter and didn’t give up another point in the first half after its opponent took a 14-0 lead, forced a turnover on downs to start the third quarter.

“After the first set of drives, we just settled down and started playing our game, playing our assignments,” sophomore defensive end Jordan Mittie said. “But they did a good job the first couple of drives, but after that we came out with a different mentality.”

Texas State finally got on the board when Taylor scored his first rushing touchdown of the season on a 1-yard run.

The Bobcats were within 14-7 but Louisiana stripped Jones later in the third to set up a 27-yard field goal to push its lead to 17-7. Ragin’ Cajun junior quarterback Andre Nunez added the final touchdown to put them up 24-7 when he connected with junior Keenan Barnes on a 7-yard fade.

“It’s just disappointing,” Taylor said. “We gave good effort. It’s just little things that we’ve got to clean up — Mistakes that beat us. And we’re just going to go back to work — That’s all we know how to do is just learn from it and go back to work on Sunday.”

Jones led the Bobcats with 58 rushing yards, and completed 9-of-12 passes for 197 yards. His running ability sparked the offense, but his two turnovers proved costly.

“(Jones’ performance) was up and down, not very consistent,” Withers said. “But it’s something to build on for the future.”

Texas State’s defense only gave up 232 yards in the final three quarters after allowing 135 yards in the first quarter alone.

The Bobcats, however, couldn’t shake the negative tone set by their mistakes.

“At the end of the day, it’s not good enough,” Mittie said. “It’s not what we wanted obviously."

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