Bobcats prepare to face 'explosive offense' in must-win matchup

The next two games are critical for the Texas State football team.

Coach Dennis Franchione wouldn’t want it any other way.

Arkansas State is already bowl eligible. Texas State will enter tonight’s matchup fighting for an opportunity at a bowl game.

Franchione said the Red Wolves, who are coming off of a 37-32 loss against Appalachian State, will see some of their players return from injury.

The NCAA report lists three injured athletes as probable to play against Texas State, the most notable of whom is Arkansas State junior running back Michael Gordon, who has 844 rushing yards this season.

Colby Targun, senior safety, says the defense is expecting a versatile opponent with three receivers who each have over 400 receiving yards.

Storylines to watch: Texas State vs. Arkansas State

Coach Dennis Franchione, the fourth winningest active Division I coach, said he hasn’t been a part of a season like this.

Two games remain, and this season is teetering on the brink.


Colby Targun, senior safety, and defensive coordinator John Thompson echoed the same sentiment: this team excels in adverse situations.

Targun called it “playing with our backs against the wall.” The mentality, Targun says, is a credit to Thompson’s coaching staff.

Beyond the game: Craig Mager, senior cornerback

Cindy Mager’s phone rang early one Friday morning.

On the other end of the line was her frantic 15-year-old nephew, Craig Mager, now a senior cornerback.

Craig’s mother wasn’t waking up.

Cindy said she could hear Craig punch the wall in a panic. His mother, who had visited the emergency room with a severe headache a day before, was unresponsive.

Just two days after Craig turned 15, plans for his birthday party quickly turned into plans for a funeral.

With two younger sisters, Craig was in a position that called for his maturity well before it was due. Adversity however, is the foundation of Craig’s character.

“It helped mold me into the person I am today,” Craig said. “I probably wouldn’t be the same without going through it.”

Lunch with Coach Fran

Finish or be finished.

That is the sentiment Coach Dennis Franchione and his staff should be echoing throughout the Bobcat locker room heading into their Thursday night matchup against Arkansas State.

The Bobcats have consistently come up short this season. Texas State should have eight wins right now, with losses to Illinois, Georgia Southern and South Alabama by one possession. The Bobcats held the lead at halftime against Illinois and South Alabama but blew those games late in the fourth quarters, putting them in the predicament they are in now. 

Six players to watch

Sports reporter Paul Livengood focuses on six Bobcats to watch prior to the Texas State football teams' matchup against Arkansas State.

Trey McGowan, junior linebacker: One of the keys to beating the Red Wolves this Thursday will be stopping the run. Good play from the linebackers is crucial. McGowan has had 12 or more total tackles in three of his last four games. McGowan needs to step up in this game—aside from the obvious leader in David Mayo, senior linebacker—if the Bobcats hope to pull off the upset.

Coach Franchione press conference recap: Arkansas State, senior night, bowl eligibility

Coach Dennis Franchione’s frustration with yet another close game resulting in a loss was evident at his Tuesday press conference.

“Have you ever seen a team have so many close games and close plays?” Franchione said. “I don't believe I’ve ever had a season quite like this one. I don’t  really know what else to say about that one.”

The 24-20 loss to South Alabama on Saturday was the second week in a row that the Bobcats fell short by less then five points. Franchione did not have much to say about the nail-biter and quickly jumped into this week’s matchup against Arkansas State.

Quick Five

Quick Five is a University Star segment in which Sports Editor Quixem Ramirez and Paul Livengood tackle five quick-hitting questions regarding the Texas State football team.

The Bobcats either led or tied the Jaguars the entire game until the fourth quarter. What led to the Bobcats losing the game?

South Alabama downs Texas State, 24-20

For South Alabama, it was nearly a case of deja vu. 

Texas State set up the game-winning field goal as time expired in last year’s meeting. The Bobcats were in a similar situation this year. Trailing, with the ball, and the clock ticking down.

South Alabama entered Saturday’s matchup with the conference’s stingiest red zone defense.

The game, fittingly, came down to one final red zone possession. Five seconds remained in the fourth quarter, with the Bobcats stationed inside the five-yard line. 

Time for one last play. Did sophomore quarterback Tyler Jones, accustomed to late game heroics, have one more big play left in him? 

Notebook: South Alabama 24, Texas State 20

Notebook from the Texas State football teams' 24-20 loss to South Alabama.
The Bobcats can't go bowling—well, not literally. After failing to earn their sixth win against South Alabama with a score of 24-20, the Bobcats are not yet bowl game eligible. Last year, Texas State acquired their sixth win, but finished the season with three consecutive losses. Craig Mager, senior cornerback, says he wants to make that right this season as the Bobcats look for a bowl game invitation. 

Live blog: Texas State vs. South Alabama

FULL RECAP: South Alabama downs Texas State, 24-20.
NOTEBOOK: Mariah Medina breaks down Texas State's loss.
STATS: See the final TXST vs. South Alabama box score.

FINAL: South Alabama 24, Texas State 20

Tyler Jones, sophomore quarterback, and Ben Ijah, senior wide receiver, couldn't connect for a pass in the end zone as time expired. They wanted pass interference.


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