Before the start of the season, general consensus was that Texas State and Georgia State weren't on an equal footing as football programs. Everyone and their dog picked this game as an easy Bobcat win in front of a friendly home crowd, even weeks into the season as Texas State's composure started to fray.
Well, those prognostications were right in one sense: they're not on an equal footing as programs right now. Georgia State now looks to be the superior team, as evidenced by a 41-19 walloping at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos that was even less competitive than the final score might suggest. After building a 14-6 lead, the Panthers exploded in the 2nd quarter--usually the quarter reserved for Bobcat successes--and raced to a 31-12 halftime advantage that had already felt like a knockout blow at the break.
Texas State's defense continued their 2015 campaign of infamy by giving up a career record for the third straight week. First it was Matt Breida turning on the jets at Georgia Southern, then it was Larry Rose last week slipping past Bobcat defenders. This week, GSU QB Nick Arbuckle went absolutely berzerk. I predicted that he would throw four touchdowns, and he certainly did just that. He also threw for a hell of a lot more than that.
Arbuckle's 471 yards and Georgia State's 636 yards of total offense are both school records for the program.— Joe Vozzelli (@smdrjoe) November 14, 2015
If there was any doubt left that Texas State's secondary was better than they'd previously looked, then Georgia State's receivers erased all of it. Robert Davis and Penny Hart ran rampant past Bobcat corners and safeties for 290 combined receiving yards and 2 touchdowns, while Donovan Harden added 2 touchdowns on 58 receiving yards of his own. Texas State's David Mims II and Brandon McDowell were beaten again and again, and safety help was slow in coming.
Texas State did finally secure two interceptions from a couple of errant throws by Arbuckle, including one tip drill that was absolutely bonkers.
Those were the biggest highlights of Texas State's day.
Georgia State's defense, hot off of a near miss against a UL Lafayette team that's far superior to the Bobcats, locked down Texas State by forcing them to settle for field goals and pressuring QB Tyler Jones into two interceptions of his own. Robert Lowe was also contained to a very quiet 88 yards, a single touchdown, and 5.2 yards per carry. Jones and his receivers were able to move the ball methodically at times (267 total passing yards), but the 'Cats did most of their offensive damage between the opposing 20s and couldn't cash in for points.
Make no mistake, Georgia State absolutely earned this victory and played the part of a superior team. They dominated Texas State in nearly every facet of the game. They absolutely humiliated the Bobcats on their home turf, so much so that even Texas State's own radio crew made comments that Franchione's team looked as if they just wanted to get the game overwith as quickly as possible.
Calls for Fran's dismissal continued to climb at Bobcat Stadium and on #TXST twitter after the game. For his part, Coach Fran sounded ambivalent about his job status for the future, as he deflected questions about his future to say that his only focus is on his players.
Those questions will continue about Fran's job security throughout the rest of the season. GSU head coach Trent Miles, however, may have just secured his own job with his program's biggest win against an FBS program, ever. Although at this point, it's hard to argue that Texas State is playing like an FBS program.
Georgia State improves to 3-6, 2-3 Sun Belt while Texas State's postseason hopes are officially dead at 2-7, 1-4 SBC. The Panthers will face an inconsistent South Alabama team in the Georgia Dome on Saturday, and Texas State will get another short turnaround to face an equally moribund (and now coachless) ULM team in a Thursday night ESPNU game that ESPN execs will likely regret scheduling for national television.