Take a look at this stat line. Let's call the team in the leftmost column Team A, and the rightmost column Team B.
Now if I showed you this stat line, and told you that Team B forced Team A into six three-and-outs and two interceptions in their thirteen total offensive drives, you'd assume that Team B would've won comfortably at the very least, yes?
This game. All the defense in the world and two passing attacks that could be charitably characterized as dumpster fires.
THIS F-ING GAME.
Texas State had a serviceable running game in 2013, but opposing defenses knew this. They also knew that Dennis Franchione had essentially stripped down the Texas State passing game into a hellish package of short slants, curls, and sideline passes that only Greg Davis could love. So the Bobcat offense got one dimensional faster than you can say bubble screen.
ULM's Todd Berry knew that Texas State had no deep aerial threat, and once he trained his bazooka of a secondary on Tyler Jones and his receivers, well...
I had trouble finding footage of this game on the internet, which I attributed to Youtube not allowing uploads of gore and explicit material to their website. Then I searched "Isaiah Newsome ULM" and three hours later realized I'd curled up in a ball and been monotonously chanting "the universe is an unfeeling vacuum" to nobody in particular.
This first pick six wasn't so much on Tyler Jones as it was Jafus Gaines missing his route. But still, the horror. THE HORROR.
Before Jones became a poised dual threat offensive dynamo, he was a true freshman thrown into the middle of the then-typical Dennis Franchione manufactured quarterback controversy. Which means he did about as well as you would expect: 75% game manager and 25% oh god no no no NO THERE'S LIKE FIVE DEFENDERS THERE THINK OF THE CHILDRE--*sigh* somebody pass the damn Wild Turkey again.
By the third quarter everyone in the stadium knew what Franchione and co-OC Mike Schulz were running. Still, two curl routes with two blocking backs was especially easy for ULM's patient defense to defend.
Overly simplistic play call + freshman QB making bad read instead of throwing ball away = time slows down as 15,000 fans scream "NOOOOOOOOOOOO" in a horrifying chorus as they watch their lives flash before their eyes while the college football gods appear and blast instant rap airhorns incessantly, blissfully uncaring towards the chaos and destruction they hath wrought.
Franchione's history at Texas State in recent years tell a story of his teams struggling to coalesce into a consistent identity; for every good offense there's been a mediocre to bad defense, and vice versa. But occasionally, sheer incompetence pops into the picture.
The ULM game was when Texas State essentially drank a handle of cheap vodka and turned into a big lumbering defense-oriented beast that was almost incapable of feeling pain, but when it did get hurt it was mostly by stumbling over a tree and falling straight on its face. Take the first Bobcat play from scrimmage for example:
"MAN WHATTH THE HAY-ULL IS A WARHAWK ANYWAYSCH I DON'TTH FEEL ANYTHI--" *falls off dock into lake*
By the way, Texas State had one hundred and fifty six yards of penalties in this game.
This would've been the longest play from scrimmage, because of course.
There was also this drive, which was a masterpiece of offensive ineptitude and genuine NFL-brand cowardice. The following happened in less than a minute of game play:
- David Mayo intercepts a terribly thrown pass on the ULM 8 midway through the third quarter.
- Franchione pulls Jones, brings in equally inconsistent senior QB Tyler Arndt.
- On 2nd and 3rd down Fran/Schulz have Arndt throw two Greg Davis specials to the sidelines instead of running with Robert "6.4 YPC" Lowe or Chris Nutall or hitting tight end Bradley Miller over the middle (the passing game's only consistent vertical threat).
- Arndt, coming off the bench cold, misses both throws.
- Todd Berry declines an offensive pass interference on Texas State because he just knows Fran is gonna take the points despite being down 14-0 midway through the third.
- Fran takes the points, turning a two possession game into...a two possession game.
The most baffling thing about this game was that ULM didn't even play all that well. The Bobcats still managed to tie the game at 14 in the final quarter, Mike Orakpo and David Mayo outright slaughtered their offense up until the final backbreaking ULM drive, and the Warhawks let Lowe and Jones run all over them for 186 yards. Hell, you could make a case that Texas State might've won if they'd never passed at all. It's not impossible: Kansas State nearly did it to Texas once.
Dennis Franchione's Texas State teams have often been good for one surprisingly excellent game per season and one vomit-inducing maelstrom of self-destruction. Those latter self-immolations are what sends projectiles flying across my room and puts my postgame reaction at about this level of rage:
Erase. This. Game.