Everything went right for Texas State through 51 minutes of last Saturday’s game against Southeastern Louisiana.
Then, in the blink of an eye and nine minutes of stone-cold silence, the Bobcats collapsed.
Texas State relinquished a 24-point lead in the fourth quarter and eventually lost in overtime to the Lions. The Bobcats’ offense, which had been moving the ball efficiently, stalled and their defense struggled to stop the simplest plays.
“It’s like everything that could have gone wrong – did go wrong,” Texas State senior offensive lineman Alex Luna said. “We went from being comfortably in the lead to barely holding on. It snowballed on us.”
Why couldn’t SLU’s onslaught be stopped?
It wasn’t like the Lions were doing anything special against the Bobcats. SLU just kept with its game plan of running the ball between the tackles and wearing down the Texas State defense.
Once the Bobcats grew tired, Lion quarterback Brian Babin (who had all day in the pocket) picked apart the secondary. SLU’s wide receivers made some great catches, but a bigger and more-experienced defensive backfield could defend those receivers better.
“You keep on believing that your team is going to make a play,” Texas State defensive coordinator Fred Bleil said. “We were 0-for-8 or 0-for-9 on critical plays that they made. That’s a big credit to Southeastern Louisiana, but a discredit to us.”
So where does the blame ultimately fall for the loss?
It was in a lack of leadership on the field by the Bobcats’ captains and senior class.
Texas State has four captains (Bradley George, Alex Luna, Marcus Clark and Travis Houston) and out of those, only one (Clark) made a vocal plea to the team to stop the madness. Clark got into his teammates’ faces on the Lions’ last two drives, urging them to make a play.
George, on the other hand, sulked on the sideline between offensive series. Luna didn’t command respect on the offensive line and Houston sat on his hands.
“You can try and try to get everybody going,” Houston said, “but when the world seems like it’s falling apart around you, it’s hard to keep a smile up and stay motivated.”
If the Bobcats ever start to fall apart again, Houston said the captains and team learned from last Saturday’s collapse.
“It’s all on us as the captains,” Houston said. “People look toward us to lead the team and we didn’t. It won’t happen again.”