With a stifling defensive performance and an effective offense, the Bobcats defeated Prairie View A&M 28-3 Saturday in front of 20,135 fans for their first 2-0 start since 2005.
“It was a good win,” said Coach Dennis Franchione. “We’re 2-0. We played good enough to win—we haven’t been 2-0 in a long time. I’m proud of my team. There’s a lot of people who would like to be two and 0 tonight. They aren’t, we are. We need to take this and build on it.”
The running game was led by sophomore running back Chris Nutall, who broke out for a 77-yard touchdown, the longest Bobcat run since junior running back Terrance Franks in 2011 ran for an 82-yard touchdown against Northwestern State.
“Chris deserves a lot of credit,” Franchione said. “He was one of those guys last year at this time or in the past who made mistakes that would make you a little crazy. And he came in in August and had a mission and a purpose. He’s practiced well, he’s had a great camp. He’s done well and run hard in the two games, he deserves to be the started right now.”
The Bobcats capitalized on their first two possessions to take an early 14-0 lead. Their first drive was eight plays going for 67 yards. Due to penalties, the Bobcats had to overcome two third down conversions that were 15 yards or more. Nutall finished the drive from four yards out to give Texas State their first touchdown in Bobcat Stadium.
Following a defensive three and out, senior quarterback Tyler Arndt and the offense kept on rolling with a 10-play, 61-yard drive where the Bobcats converted on two more crucial third downs to keep the drive alive. Sophomore running back Robert Lowe powered through the goal line from one yard out to give the Bobcats a 14-0 lead.
Texas State rushed for 242 yards, including Nutall who averaged 16.5 yards per carry. Nutall finished with 231 yards, his first game of rushing for more then 100 yards in a single game.
“Offensively I thought Chris Nutall had a good game,” Franchione said. “The big 77-yard run was huge. It’s the longest run from scrimmage we’ve had in a while. That was good to see,
When the Bobcats played against the Panthers two years ago, Texas State gave up 300 rushing yards. This year the Bobcat defense held the running game to 45 yards on 25 carries.
Junior linebacker Mike Orakpo recorded eight tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Senior linebacker Damion McMiller led the Bobcats with nine tackles. After a 34-26 battle two years ago, Texas State limited the Panther offense to a field goal.
The panther offense was 0-3 in red zone opportunities, failed to convert their two fourth down plays and accumulated a total of 227 yards.
“I feel like the first couple of games we have been pressing hard on stopping the runs,” Orakpo said. “It all starts up front. These linemen have been doing a great job, stopping the run and being aggressive up front. Giving up just two touchdowns in two games, that’s good. That means that we are keeping them out of the end zone. I think we’ve been doing a great job.”