On Friday I wrote about how in order to win this game, Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione had to win halftime. At halftime, ULM held a 276-76 yardage advantage over the Bobcats and a 13-0 lead. Texas State sophomore QB Tyler Jones was getting just 3.5 yards per attempt, the Warhawks defense looked ferocious in completely shutting down the Bobcats option attack, and Pete Thomas was putting together a respectable game leading the ULM offense.
And, once again, the Warhawks came out of halftime looking like a completely different team. It was as if the ULM coaching staff took a nap at halftime instead of anticipating the adjustments Texas State was likely to make, and the Bobcats rushed for close to 200 yards in the second half and outscored the Warhawks 22-5 after the break.
Texas State RBs Robert Lowe and CJ Best combined for 23 carries for 177 yards and two touchdowns to demoralize a Warhawks defense that, all told, played pretty well. There's only so much that unit can do when the offense is putting up less than 17 points per game.
ULM RBs Centarius Donald and Tyler Cain paced the offense for head coach Todd Berry, both on the ground and through the air. Donald looked explosive coming back from injury and Cain had 169 total yards (39 rushing, 64 receiving on 7 catches, 66 returning). But it seemed like every time they had a chance to break a 10+ yard play, David Mayo was there to make the stop. The junior linebacker had 21 tackles and a sack to lead the Texas State defense in shutting down the Warhawks.
It seemed like the Bobcats had missed their chance at a win early in the fourth quarter when, down 18-7, Franchione decided to go for a 4th-and-2 from the Warhawks 12-yard line (the undisputably correct call) and didn't get it. If Pete Thomas can lead his offense to even just a field goal after that, the game is over. But he couldn't and Texas State WR Terrance Franks took a short pass from Jones 40 yards into the endzone halfway through the 4th quarter to cut the Warhawks lead to 3.
On the corresponding ULM drive Donald ran for 1 yard, Thomas threw an incompletion, and then scrambled for no gain and the offense had to punt it away. Texas State took three minutes off the clock on their way to the endzone via a 21-yard run by Robert Lowe to make it 22-18, taking the lead for the first time all night. ULM had a chance to drive and win with two minutes remaining, but I don't think anyone in the country believed that the Warhawks offense would actually drive the 72 yards it needed. They didn't.
Texas State (4-3, 2-1) travel to New Mexico State next weekend, while ULM (3-4, 2-2) will take on Texas A&M.