Football

He's coming home: Mercer returns to his own 'backyard'

On Saturday night, one of Houston’s own had the first homecoming of his collegiate career.

That someone was Demun Mercer, sophomore wide receiver.

Mercer was born in Louisiana, but has lived in Houston since he was in fifth grade. His uncle is a pastor at a church on Francis Street, which is just a few blocks away from the University of Houston and across the street from the football stadium.

“Growing up, I’ve seen the stadium,” Mercer said. “Basically like being in the backyard, hearing the announcers announce other guys before my time. It’s a good experience living in that area.”

John Thompson resigns as defensive coordinator

In the face of another blowout, John Thompson has resigned as Texas State's defensive coordinator. 

Thompson's resignation was first reported by College Football Talk. 

Texas State has not appointed an interim defensive coordinator to replace Thompson, who accepted the job prior to the 2014 season. 

Last season, Texas State finished seventh in the Sun Belt Conference in total defense. 

This season has been a different story. The Bobcats are allowing 49.5 points per game, ranking the team last in the entire country. Only one team in Division I (SMU) is giving up more yards per game than Texas State. 

Notebook: Defensive miscues flare up again in loss to Cougars

Texas State’s defense had already set the bar low.

Somehow, the unit found a way to reach a new low in the 59-14 loss to Houston at TDECU Stadium.

Recurring issues resurfaced against the Cougars – missed tackles, inability to contain the quarterback, allowing too many long-yardage plays, remaining on the field for too long. The list goes on and on.

The only thing that has remained consistent over four games is the opposition putting up points.

Greg Ward Jr., Cougars junior quarterback, skirted defenders from sideline to sideline. He nimbly contorted the defense into doing what he wanted them to do. In all, he averaged 11.8 yards per play.

Five key plays from Texas State's 59-14 loss to Houston

The Texas State football team allowed an opponent to score more than 50 points for the third time this season. Here are the five key plays from the 59-14 loss to Houston Saturday night.

1. So it begins

On the second play of the game, Greg Ward Jr. ran to the left side for 35 yards. While the play wasn’t game-changing in a microcosm, Ward Jr. set the tone for the rest of the game after his first carry. He made sure to dictate the action and not the other way around. Texas State’s defense chased him around the field for the entire game to no avail.

2. Not the Best play

Ward Jr., Cougars expose Bobcats in 59-14 victory

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.”

Analyzing the loss: Houston 59, Texas State 14

What the loss means: The Texas State football team is in trouble. Six wins wasn’t enough to get a bowl game in 2013. Seven wins wasn’t enough last year.

You’d think eight wins would leave no doubt. To realistically accomplish that, Texas State needs to win seven of their eight conference games to make the 8-4 threshold. At this point, beating Georgia Southern, Arkansas State, and Louisiana-Lafayette all on the road seems unlikely.

Why the Bobcats lost: Houston is too good. The talent difference was extremely prevalent. There is a reason this team has 22 votes in the AP coaches poll. Houston finished with 366 rushing yards and 323 passing yards. Enough said. 

First half analysis: Houston 42, Texas State 7

Here are four takeaways from the Texas State football teams' first half against Houston. The Bobcats are losing 42-7.

BREAK, DON’T BEND

It’s been more of the same for the Texas State defense – break, don’t bend. In the first quarter alone, Houston rang up 200 total yards and 14 points. Nothing changed in the second quarter. The Cougars finished the half with 35 points and 428 yards. Everything was working for the Cougars from an offensive standpoint.

IT’S GREG WARD JR.’S WORLD

Live analysis: Texas State vs. Houston

FOURTH QUARTER

Texas State: Chris Nutall 1-yard touchdown run, 12:57.
Drive summary: 13 plays, 85 yards, 4:07.

Key play: Texas State drove down the field methodically with no huge bursts. Just solid gain after solid gain. Can't ask for more offensively. 

Houston: 25-yard touchdown run by Ryan Jackson, 03:52.
Drive summary: 7 plays, 57 yards, 3:50.

Houston 59, Texas State 14: Greg Ward Jr. took over the game, favoring his Demarcus Ayers. He threw him the ball for eight catches, 126 yards, and two touchdowns. Ward totalled for 375 all-purpose yards and six total touchdowns. 

THIRD QUARTER

Behind Enemy Lines: Breaking down Texas State vs. Houston

(Editor’s note: Behind Enemy Lines is a weekly University Star feature, where sports editor Quixem Ramirez will discuss this week’s football matchup with a member of the opposing team’s media to get a better look at the opposition. This week he’s talking to Efren Diosdado, assistant sports editor for Houston's student newspaper The Daily Cougar.)

Quixem Ramirez: First question and it's a simple one. How good is this Houston team?

Pregame questions for the Bobcats

Here are five questions relevant to the Texas State football teams’ game against Houston. The sports staff will answer these questions following the game.

1. WILL THE TEXAS STATE DEFENSE GET BACK ON TRACK?

To say the Texas State’s defense struggled last week would be an understatement. The Bobcats allowed 56 points and 613 yards against Southern Miss. Now Texas State is traveling to Houston to face off against another high-octane offense. Houston is led by the dual-threat Greg Ward Jr., Cougars junior quarterback, who averages 355 total yards per game, ninth in the nation. The Cougars are averaging 246 rushing yards, which is ranked 17th in the NCAA. This Saturday Texas State’s defense will have another challenge.

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