Despite allowing 556 yards of total offense (457 through the air) and losing a 13-0 lead, Texas State was in prime position to win Saturday’s game at Central Arkansas. All the Bobcats had to do was stop the Bears, namely senior quarterback Nathan Dick.
Well, that was easier said than done.
Dick, who already torched Texas State for 392 yards in the first 56 minutes of the game, shredded Texas State for 65 more on a decisive final drive. He completed two passes for first downs, including a 16-yard rope on fourth-and-8 to put his team in business at the Bobcats‘ 11-yard line with less than two minutes to play. Four snaps later, UCA cut Texas State’s heart out with a 19-yard field goal by senior kicker Eddie Camara to give the host its final lead, 23-22.
The Bobcats had one minute, 2 seconds to get freshman kicker Will Johnson, who was 1-for-3 on field-goal attempts, in range, but failed. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Arndt threw an ill-advised interception, which allowed the Bears to run out the clock.
Arndt and junior slashback Tim Hawkins split time against UCA, but Texas State would have been better off just using the sophomore. Hawkins proved ineffective under center, like a majority of last season with exception of one quarter against Stephen F. Austin, accounting for minus-10 yards of total offense.
As a team, the Bobcats only had 101 yards of total offense through three quarters. Texas State’s momentum, if it had any, on offense was curtailed by predictable play-calling and the Bears’ strong defensive front. The Bobcats’ offense wasn’t able to capitalize on four turnovers created by the defense (three interceptions, two fumbles – but one was returned 64 yards for a touchdown by senior defensive end Michael Ebbitt).
Texas State has a tough task ahead of itself if it wants to finish with a winning season. The Bobcats host Sam Houston State next Saturday, which just might be the No. 1 team in the land when the newest polls are released.