Bobcats outpaced 56-50 against Golden Eagles

Assistant Sports Editor

Coach Dennis Franchione expected a high scoring game heading into the matchup against Southern Mississippi.

Well, he got that in spades.

“I’m not sure I foresaw this many points,” Franchione said. “I did think that it would be in the thirties or forties.”

Tonight’s total score (106) is the second highest that Texas State has ever had in a game since joining FBS in 2012. The highest was a 62-55 loss to Louisiana Tech in 2012.

Franchione and Tyler Jones, junior quarterback, shared the same thought, but the other team made a couple more plays during the game.

Texas State totaled 591 yards for the game, compared to Southern Mississippi’s 613. There were more big plays that went the Golden Eagles way, especially in the second half. Southern Mississippi scored three touchdowns of 50-plus yards in the last 17 minutes of the game.

The motto all season is that the defense was bend but don’t break. The Golden Eagles happened to break the Bobcats defense Saturday night.

Jalen Richard, Golden Eagles senior running back, had a hand in Southern Mississippi’s offensive breakout.

Richard ran for 230 yards on 27 carries and four rushing touchdowns. Two of the four touchdowns went for 53 and 64 yards. Both occurred in the second half.

Texas State had their fair share of success against the Golden Eagles defense however.

Jones totaled a career-high 470 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns.

Despite his career-breaking performance, Jones was visibly frustrated in the press conference after the game.

“It’s 50-56,” Jones said. “We lost. Those are my emotions.”

In a back and forth game, Texas State entered the second half with a 25-21 lead.

Then all chaos broke loose. An inadvertent whistle on the first possession of the third quarter erased a fumble recovery that would have resulted in a touchdown for the Bobcats.

Instead, the whistle caused Franchione to lose his cool with the refeeres. He was flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty to put the Golden Eagles in their territory. Southern Mississippi  followed with a touchdown moments later to take the 28-25 and the game wasn’t ever quite the same.

“Inadvertent whistles should never happen,” Franchione said. “Officials would say that too. Those are foolish errors. That shouldn’t happen.”

That play opened up the game for Southern Mississippi and the Golden Eagles outscored the Bobcats 28-3 before Texas State found the end zone again.

Texas State was down 49-28 with 13 minutes to go in the game, when Jones brought the Bobcats back to a 49-42 deficit with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Almost immediately, Richard responded with a 64-yard dagger to give the Golden Eagles a 14-point lead again with six minutes to play.

Richard wasn’t even touched on his last rushing touchdown. He ran right by two Texas State defenders and escaped for the back-breaking touchdown.

Franchione said it’s time to go back to the drawing board in reference to the team’s defense in order to make some stops.

Texas State has yet to get an interception through three games, though they have managed to tally seven fumble recoveries.

Where the defense needs to improve is simply stopping the other team’s offense on downs. The Bobcats are giving up 550.33 yards per game.  

Texas State’s final non-conference game is Sept. 26 against Houston. The Bobcats defeated the Cougars 30-13 in their last meeting in 2012.

“I thought we’d play a little bit better than this, but we didn’t,” Franchione said. “We have to keep evaluating and keep working.”