Photo by Gerald Castillo
Texas State downs Georgia State for first conference win in 2018
Texas State wanted to begin the month of November off right, and the Bobcats answered the call with a 40-31 win over Georgia State on Saturday.
The Bobcats used a 20-point third quarter to pull away from the Panthers.
Texas State’s 40-31 victory secured the first winning streak since 2014. It was the first road win of the year and first Sun Belt victory in the 2018 campaign.
The Bobcats (3-6, 1-4 Sun Belt), however, were gashed on the Panthers (2-7, 1-4) opening drive.
Georgia State started off fast. The Panthers drove down the field on the opening possession on a 9-play, 75-yard drive. Junior running back Tra Barnett capped of the drive with a 29-yard touchdown run.
But the Bobcats responded with their own 75-yard drive. Sophomore quarterback Willie Jones III, who made his second straight start, scored on a 48-yard scamper to get Texas State to within 7-6 but the PAT was blocked.
The Bobcat defense forced a quick three-and-out and a 17-yard punt return by junior wide receiver Hutch White set up Texas State in Panther territory. The Bobcats capitalized on a 2-yard run by junior running back Anthony D. Taylor to grab a 13-7 lead.
Georgia State cut the Texas State advantage to 13-10 with a 27-yard field goal by redshirt junior placekicker Brandon Wright midway through the second quarter.
The Bobcats drove deep into Georgia State territory late in the first half when Jones connected with senior wide receiver Tyler Watts on a 69-yard reception down to the Panther 6-yard line.
But senior kicker James Sherman’s 19-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
Despite the frustrating end to the half, Texas State took a 13-10 lead into halftime.
The Bobcats answered in the third quarter after Texas State was forced to punt on its opening possession. Panther junior wide receiver Penny Hart muffed the punt and the Bobcats took over deep in Georgia State territory.
Texas State took advantage of the turnover with an 11-yard pass to freshman wide receiver Javen Banks to extend its lead to 20-10
After the defense forced a three-and out, Texas State pushed its out to 26-10 on a 93-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Jeremiah Haydel.
The Bobcats added to their advantage with a 3-yard touchdown run by graduate tight end Keenen Brown.
Georgia State cut Texas State’s lead down to 33-24 early in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Devin Gentry from redshirt junior quarterback Aaron Winchester.
But Texas State pushed its lead to 40-24 on a 13-yard run by sophomore wide receiver/running back Caleb Twyford.
The Panthers scored on the final play of the game on a 4-yard scramble by Winchester to end the game at 40-31.
Jones paced the Bobcat offense by completing 21-of-26 passes for 325 and two touchdowns. The sophomore signal caller from Silsbee added 62 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Twyford led the ground game with 73 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Haydel led the receiving corps with two grabs for 103 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, linebackers Frankie Griffin and Nikolas Daniels tallied a team-high nine tackles each. Junior linebacker Bryan London II finished the day with eight tackles, but was disqualified for a targeting penalty in the third quarter. London will miss the first half of next week’s game.
Texas State returns to action against Appalachian State at Bobcat Stadium on Nov. 9 at 3 p.m.