Texas State scored a 37-34 triple overtime win for the ages, and both sets of fans likely suffered a collective heart attack along the way. Neither team looked their best, but the Bobcats pulled out a gutsy win that they likely would've dropped in years past.
Ugly First Half
This was far from the prettiest game to watch in regulation. Here's what the first half drive chart looked like:
Yep, that's 13 punts in one half.
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane especially couldn't get anything going as they deployed a bubble screen offense only Greg Davis could love. David Mayo and Michael Odiari also made life hell for the big men up front for Tulsa, as Texas State generated a pass rush for the first time in what seemed like a decade. TU quarterback Dane Evans wasn't helped by a few strikes to his receivers that were dropped, including what should've been a sure touchdown to Keevan Lucas.
Texas State Bobcats fans received bad news just before kickoff that dynamic starting running back Robert Lowe was out with a knee injury of unknown severity and hybrid blocking/receiving tight end Ryan Carden was also out with an injury. The lack of playmakers on the Bobcat roster quickly showed as the rushing attack quickly went dormant. Despite the lack of success at moving the ball, punter Will Johnson kept Texas State at an advantage in the field position battle as he pinned two incredible punts inside the Golden Hurricane 5.
The Bobcats were able to bust a 12 play, 91 yard drive in the second quarter that was punctuated by some crisp throws downfield to Bradley Miller, Brice Gunter, and David Lewis, and Tyler Jones capped off the drive by punching it in from inside the five.
Second Half Rollercoaster
Texas State looked like they were about to blow the game open on their first few drives of the half. Jones and Franks were able to get more room to run the zone read, and Tulsa committed a couple of untimely penalties that extended the Bobcats' first touchdown drive of the 3rd quarter. Will Johnson, in for Jason Dann, hit an impressive 49 yard field goal on the next drive to put the 'Cats up 17-3. However, the Golden Hurricane changed up their offensive game plan, and the game shifted.
Bill Blankenship and the Golden Hurricane switched to pounding the ball up the middle incessantly. Bruising junior running back Zack Langer along with starter James Flanders wore down the Bobcat front seven, and Texas State's cause wasn't helped by Jerrid Jeter-Gilmon having to leave the game on a targeting penalty in the 3rd quarter.
The Bobcat offense once again got conservative in their playcalling, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, stalled late in the game as Tulsa keyed on stopping the zone read and short routes. Texas State also, once again, shot itself in the foot with untimely holding and personal foul penalties.
The Golden Hurricane then methodically marched down the field late in the fourth quarter with some laser throws by Evans and some punishing runs by Langer to score two touchdowns and eventually tie the game at 17 with 10 seconds left in regulation.
Overtime, Overtime, and More Overtime
Tulsa started the first OT by taking advantage of a roughing the passer call on the 'Cats and connecting with Keevan Lucas for a 10 yard touchdown strike. Texas State took the longer route, eventually converting on 4th down twice and connecting with Jafus Gaines on a wide open strike in the end zone.
The Bobcats started OT #2 by shooting themselves in the foot with yet another holding penalty, then Tyler Jones connected on an incredible strike to Ben Ijah in the corner of the end zone. Tulsa answered by riding Langer right over the Bobcat front seven to another touchdown. Cue overtime number three.
The Golden Hurricane quickly moved down to the Bobcat 10, then the unexpected happened: backup DE Kris Petersen forced Evans to scramble out to his right and eventually brought him down for a huge sack to force a 3rd and 11. Conner Floyd then dropped a pass thrown outside by Evans, and Tulsa had to settle for a field goal.
Texas State soon found itself in a 3rd and 11 of their own, but then Jones once again pulled out an incredible pass out of nowhere to Bradley Miller as the tight end rumbled down to the Tulsa 2 yard line. Terrence Franks then plunged it in. Game over. Pandemonium. Despite all of the times Texas State looked to be on the verge of giving the game away to Tulsa, they still managed to grasp a vital victory from the jaws of defeat.
The Bobcats move to 2-2 on the season and keep their bowl hopes alive, but Texas State's future success will rely heavily on just how bad Robert Lowe's injury was in practice this week. Tulsa, meanwhile, drops to 1-3 and looks to be en route to a disappointing season for a 2nd straight year.
- Bradley Miller, Texas State: 8 catches, 112 yards
- James Flanders and Zach Langer, Tulsa: 194 combined rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
- Tyler Jones, Texas State: 21 of 31, 228 yards, 2 TDs; 51 rush yards, 1 rush TD
- David Mayo, Texas State: 20 tackles (4 solo)
- Penalties: TXST - 7 for 77 yards; Tulsa - 4 for 34 yards