By JASON GORDON
As the late, great former Texas State football coach Jim Wacker used to say – unbelievable!
In its first official game as a member of the FBS, the Texas State football team beat the University of Houston 30-13 Saturday night at Robertson Stadium. Marcus Curry led the Bobcats offensively with a career-high 131 yards rushing and three total touchdowns.
It was the first time the Bobcats have beat a Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division-I) team since 2000 when they defeated Louisiana Monroe. The victory also gives Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione the signature victory his program needed as the Bobcats move up to play with college football’s elite.
Last season, Houston finished 13-1 overall, including a victory in the TicketCity Bowl, and was ranked No. 14 overall at the end of the year.
Saturday night, the Bobcats got off to a strong start and proved to the Cougars they weren’t going to be a pushover despite being more than a four-touchdown underdog. Texas State forced three Houston incomplete passes and a punt on the Cougars’ first series. Texas State built off the momentum as Shaun Rutherford broke off a 26-yard run on 3rd and 8, to take the ball into Cougar territory.
The Bobcats took a 7-0 lead on a 21-yard swing pass to Curry. As Curry got to the 10-yard line, Chase Harper delivered a big block to spring Curry for the score.
After Houston converted on a 50-yard field goal, Texas State was back in the end zone on its first play from scrimmage as Curry hurdled over a defender and he ripped off a 73-yard scoring run to put the Bobcats up 14-3 midway through the first quarter.
Texas State was forced to respond again after Houston scored on a 64-yard pass to cut the lead to 14-10. It was Curry who had the answer, breaking off a 20-yard run to get down to the Houston 19. He later scored on a 2-yard run to give the Bobcats a 21-10 lead.
After the Bobcats recovered a fumble at the Houston 22-yard line, Texas State’s Will Johnson nailed a 32-yard field goal to make it 24-10.
Right before the half, Rutherford hit freshman Brandon Smith for 22 yards to set up a 45-yard Johnson field goal just as the first half expired and the Bobcats led at intermission 27-10.
Bobcat defensive back Craig Mager prevented Houston from inching closer at the beginning of the third quarter when he undercut a post route in the end zone and intercepted a pass from Cougars quarterback David Piland.
After Johnson connected on his third field goal of the night to put the Bobcats up 30-13, the Cougars made one last gasp to get back into the game. Houston went for it on fourth down from its own 35, but the Piland pass was incomplete and Texas State took over with just over five minutes to go.
Harper put the exclamation point on the game, recording his first career sack on third and 10 with just over four minutes left.
Rutherford finished the game 19-for-25 passing for 194 yards and one touchdown for Texas State.
Texas State will next take on Texas Tech at the renovated Bobcat Stadium on Jim Wacker Field September 8. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.