The Bobcats continued their theme of getting shutout in the second half of games in their Saturday 31-20 loss to San Jose State University.
“It’s frustrating because we had chances to win that game,” said Coach Dennis Franchione. “We had a lead at halftime, and as you know I’m really proud of my kids. They’re disgusted, dejected, down, (and) they’ll bounce back.”
The Bobcats were led by junior wide receiver Andy Erickson, who contributed 53 receiving yards. Additionally, he made a 54-yard punt return. Texas State allowed 571 yards of total offense, the second most the team has conceded this season. The Bobcats allowed 591 to Texas Tech University.
Texas State was shut out in the second half for the fourth time this season. The season’s shutouts have come in losses to Texas Tech, the University of Nevada-Reno, the University of New Mexico and most recently San Jose State University. Texas State has been outscored 55-0 in those second halves. All of Texas State’s losses this season have been second-half shutouts (3-4 overall).
A couple of the Bobcats’ losses this season were closer than the score indicated. Going into halftime, the Bobcats led twice against Nevada and San Jose State. In the other two losses, Texas Tech had a 38-10 advantage, and the Bobcats trailed 28-14 against New Mexico at the half.
Against the University of Idaho, the Bobcats played contrary to their season norm: they did almost all of their damage following intermission, scoring 24 of 38 points. They ultimately won the contest 38-7.
The Bobcat offense has struggled in second halves, averaging 91.5 yards in its two games against Nevada and San Jose State. The defense has been pushed back at times. Texas Tech and Stephen F. Austin State University gained an average of 275.5 yards.
Possessions were stalled or ended by interception or penalty in four of the six drives in the second half against the Spartans. Two stalls were because of penalties, both of them holding. One of the holding calls was on a second and long play. The other was on a third and short near midfield. Of the two interceptions, one came on the opening drive, the other on the final.
“When you got to drive the field every snap, we have a hard time doing that,” Franchione said. “We hurt ourselves with the penalties and a turnover. They put together two scoring drives and kind of got us a little out of rhythm.”
Against Nevada, the Bobcats had drives that ended abruptly because of several factors. The Bobcats reached the first down marker on the initial series of the second half before ultimately having to punt after a third down penalty. Senior quarterback Shaun Rutherford was sacked twice in a row leading to a punt after crossing into Nevada territory in the fourth quarter.
The opponents scored a touchdown on their opening drive of the second half in three of the Bobcats’ four losses. San Jose State was the only team not to score on its initial drive. It tossed a 78-yard touchdown pass on the first play of its second drive, the fifth of the third quarter. Texas Tech scored on four of its five drives in the second half.
“We made a few corrections at halftime and we talked about how good of a second-half football team we have been and are,” said San Jose State Coach Mike MacIntyre. “Texas State was ready to come back in the second half, but we are in phenomenal shape and have a lot of heart.”
Repetitive issues have remained in the third quarter for the most part. The University of Houston, Nevada, New Mexico, Idaho and San Jose State were held out of the end zone during the fourth quarter. Texas Tech scored on a field goal in the final period. Stephen F. Austin State University was the only team to reach the end zone against the Bobcats in the final 12 minutes.
“I don’t know what happens in the second half,” Erickson said. “It’s a mystery to me. We need to fix it. We need to come out and execute. We had some penalties, and (San Jose State) made some adjustments.”
The Bobcats have a tough three-week span of Utah State University (7-2), Louisiana Tech University (7-1) and the United States Naval Academy (5-3) approaching.