The Texas State Bobcats needed a convincing win to prove a point to bowl representatives that they're finishing the season on a hot streak. One could argue that they took care of business by pounding a mostly hapless Georgia State Panthers team in the first half and weathered a late comeback attempt to score an impressive 54-31 win in front of dozens of mildly interested fans in the Georgia Dome.
After an exchange of a few field goals, Texas State's defense tightened up and Tyler Jones and the 'Cats kicked it into high gear. Jones worked with speedster CJ Best and, as described by the ESPN3 announcers "not creepy Rob Lowe, not hairy arms Rob Lowe, but Rob Lowe Jr.," to get the Bobcats going.
Craig Mager notched an interception and Michael Odiari stripped Nick Arbuckle for a fumble recovery to shut down the GSU offense. Arbuckle and his receivers couldn't get the short passing game going, but Texas State's Tyler Jones and CJ Best got the green light to air it out by Dennis Franchione, and Jones did just that right before halftime.
At that point Texas State was up 27-3 right before halftime and apparently even Georgia State officials had lost interest.
It's never a good sign in press box when people go to watch end of Georgia-Georgia Tech game and miss final minute of game they're covering.— Joe Vozzelli (@smdrjoe) November 29, 2014
Tyler Jones kept pouring it on after halftime as he hit the B button and broke everyone's ankles as he spun away from the Georgia State defense.
Once the game started getting out of hand in the 3rd quarter, Texas State's defense started taking the game off as the Panthers struck twice for a couple of touchdown passes that were far too wide open. Luckily for the Bobcats, the offense just kept plowing through the GSU defense.
For instance, Terrence Franks outran everyone in the stadium.
However, Georgia State kept fighting. Arbuckle led a couple of touchdown drives down the field late in the fourth under Texas State's prevent defense as Bobcat defenders missed tackles and whiffed on interceptions and Panther receivers ran wild in the secondary. Suddenly, the style points that Texas State accrued seemed to evaporate into thin air as the score was cut to 47-31.
Georgia State then dribbled an onside kick past a pile of 6 Bobcat players and appeared to recover, but the ball bounced off the foot of the Panther kicker before the 10 yard mark and the call was correctly overturned. However, Texas State would drive into GSU territory, stall as has been their habit when needing a late first down, and fail to convert a head-scratching screen pass on 4th and 8.
The Panthers then drove into Bobcat territory, and it looked like GSU was perhaps about to repeat the feats of Idaho and New Mexico State in cutting a double digit Bobcat lead into a much tighter single digit margin. Then, David Mims II struck.
Suddenly, it was 54-31, Trent Miles took off his headset, and the Bobcats moved to 7-5 (5-3 Sun Belt). Now the debate will begin over who will get three Sun Belt bowl spots between UL Lafayette, Arkansas State, South Alabama, and the Bobcats. Texas State finished strong with two straight blowout wins, including one over Arkansas State, so they may have a strong case.
We'll see what the New Orleans, GoDaddy, and Camellia bowls think.
Stats of Note:
- Robert Lowe, Texas State: 20 carries, 143 yards, 1 TD catch
- CJ Best, Texas State: 11 receptions, 120 yards, 1 TD catch
- Tyler Jones, Texas State: 26 of 32 for 267 yards and 2 passing TDs; 9 carries for 65 yards and 2 rushing TDs
- Nick Arbuckle, Georgia State: 32 of 46, 356 yards passing, 4 TD/2 INT
- Robert Davis, Georgia State: 6 receptions, 117 yards, 1 TD catch
- Texas State: 607 total yards (340 yds. rushing), 0 turnovers
- Georgia State: 516 total yards, 1 fumble lost, 2 INTs