Touchdown Greg Ward Jr.
Texas State players, coaches, and fans heard that sentence six times Saturday night. Count them: one, two, three, four, five, six.
Greg Ward Jr., Cougars junior quarterback, was unstoppable in this game. He displayed speed to get around the edge on numerous scrambling plays that recquired improvisation. Ward Jr. finished the game with 375 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns.
“He’s a special athlete,” said Coach Dennis Franchione. “We had trouble getting him on the ground. His athleticism and speed was certainly prevalent. He threw a good ball. He’s a really good player.”
Questions about the Bobcat defense remain. Did Ward Jr. blow up because the defense is so bad? Or did Texas State just get exposed by a talent quarterback firing on all cylinders?
The trend of a non-existent defense seems to be the case here.
Texas State has allowed 1,702 total yards in the last three games, amounting to 567.3 yards per game. The Bobcats have allowed more than 50 points in three of the four games thus far this season.
“Disappointed, surprised a little,” Franchione said. “We’ve done it four games in a row now. Sometimes you get to point to where you are what you are. We’re going to try to fix that.”
The game got away from the Bobcats in the second quarter. Houston outscored Texas State 28-0, with two costly fumbles in the red zone and an interception return for a touchdown putting the Bobcats in a hole that they could never dig themselves out of.
Texas State didn’t score again until the fourth quarter.
“Tough night, it seemed like what could go wrong did,” Franchione said. “We just couldn’t get any stops and offensively we turned it over inside the 20 twice.”
Houston outplayed Texas State on all sides of the ball. The Cougars rushed for 366 yards and threw for 323 yards.
Before Saturday, Tyler Jones, junior quarterback, had zero interceptions on the season. After Saturday’s game, Jones snapped his streak of 233 consecutive passes without throwing an interception.
There definitely could be an argument that the talent difference attributed to Jones’ first interceptions of the season. Houston is just outside the top-25 teams in the nation with 22 votes in the AP coaches poll.
Moving forward, Texas State has a bye week to recuperate from a 1-3 record in non-conference.
The Bobcats open conference play against Louisiana-Lafayette, who seem to have the Bobcats number. The Ragin’ Cajuns have beaten the Bobcats a combined score of 82-34 the past two years.
Texas State will have to win five of their next eight games just to be bowl eligible. Facing Georgia Southern, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette all on the road gives the Bobcats a tough journey ahead.
In 2013, six wins wasn’t enough. In 2014, seven wins wasn’t enough. 8-4 may give the Bobcats a strong case, but that would take a 7-1 conference record to accomplish.
Perhaps this bye week comes at the perfect time.
“We need to have a good week of work,” Franchione said. “At least we don’t have to gameplan, we can work on ourself. We need to figure what we can fix and try to fix it.”