Self-inflicted mistakes, a slow start and a lacking defense plagued the Bobcats in the biggest home game in Texas State history.
The defeat took place in front of a record 33,006 fans Saturday, dropping Texas State to 1-1. However, Coach Dennis Franchione believes even a solid showing from Texas State might not have gotten a different result.
“I’m not sure how much (a lack of mistakes) would have mattered,” Franchione said. “I think we got beat by a much better team tonight. We contested a lot of balls and a lot of plays. I don’t think we will play a better offensive team (this year). As good as our defensive performance was last week, we had no answers for this week.”.
The Red Raiders were stopped and forced into a fourth down situation on their first drive in Bobcat territory but fumbled away an attempted reverse, their only miscue of the night. Texas Tech’s offense was unstoppable the rest of the game. The Red Raiders did not punt and did not give up a sack.
Efficiency and balance were in Texas Tech’s corner. Raider quarterback Seth Doege completed 25-32 passes for 319 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The real danger for Texas State was not necessarily the high-power passing attack of Texas Tech. Instead, it was the running game that allowed Doege and his receivers to leave the Bobcats unbalanced.
“I feel like we had a lot of errors inflicted on ourselves,” senior linebacker Brian Lilly said. “They are a great team and Doege is a great quarterback, but the errors at the start of the game on defense, offense and special teams hurt us.”
Tech running back Eric Stephens Jr. was effective with the draw run play, which was successful with the pass. Stephens averaged 10.3 yards per rush, carrying the ball six times for a total of 62 yards.
Raider running back Kenny Williams had similar numbers, gaining 62 yards on five carries with an average of 12.4 yards each, adding a touchdown. Another Red Raider athlete, SaDale Foster, logged the most touches with 10-for-56 yards.
Tech was balanced in their distribution of the ball. Besides using three tail backs, 10 different wide outs caught passes, with Javon Bell (5 receptions, 81 yards, 1 touchdowns), Jakeem Grant (5 receptions, 78 yards) and Darrin Moore (5 rec, 73 yards, 2 touchdowns).
“(After the fumble) I liked how our offense responded,” Texas Tech Coach Tommy Tuberville said. “We really moved the ball well. I did not really like how (the offense) played a week ago but they made up for it this week.”
The Bobcats’ aggression and big play capabilities were not present against the Red Raiders Senior quarterback Shaun Rutherford finished the first quarter 0-7 passing.
Trailing 21-0, junior quarterback Tyler Arndt came out passing on his first three attempts. It was his third attempt where the Bobcats finally completed a pass to sophomore running back Terrence Franks for 13 yards and a first down. Arndt then completed his next five passes en route to a 25-yard touchdown pass to Franks, Texas State’s lone trip to the end zone.
The third quarter brought more struggles, however. The Bobcats gained just 29 yards on 12 plays, while Texas Tech gained 167 on 20 plays to open up the second half.
“I thought (Arndt) did some good things, but he missed a couple of things too,” Franchione said.
Arndt finished 12-22 for 130 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Rutherford finished 1-9. Rutherford lead in rushing for the Bobcats with 35 yards on nine carries.
Franks caught Texas State’s only touchdown of the game and hauled in two receptions for 38 yards. While taking over for the injured senior running back Marcus Curry, Franks had trouble finding running room on his six carries, mustering 31 yards at 5.2 yards-per-carry.
Texas State will get a much–needed bye week after a up-and-down start to the season. Stephen F. Austin, former Southland Conference foe, will visit Texas State on Sept. 22, as the Bobcats look to get back on track with the WAC conference slate looming.
“We have a lot to work on and that bye-week is going to help us out,” Lilly said. “We’ve gone from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low, so we’ve seen both ends of the spectrum. We’ve got to be … more consistent, more resilient.”