Bobcats cruise to 66-28 victory over New Mexico State

Texas State receiver Brandon Smith hauls in an 11-yard pass from quarterback Shaun Rutherford to tie the score at 21 early in the second quarter. It would spark the Bobcats to 35 unanswered points in a 66-28 season-ending win Saturday in San Marcos. The Bobcats, who will join the Sun Belt Conference next year, finished their first season in the Football Bowl Subdivision with a 4-8 record. (Photo Courtesy of Texas State University)

by JASON GORDON

The Texas State football team capped its first season in the Football Bowl Subdivision in style.

The Bobcats turned a first-quarter deficit into a 66-28 blowout win over New Mexico State in San Marcos last Saturday.

Nine different Bobcats scored touchdowns, including two on defense and one on special teams.

“We had a couple of huge plays on turnovers that turned into points for us,” Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione said. “I thought a lot of people played really well. It’s always great for a football team to go in the offensive season with a win.”

Despite trailing 21-14 after one quarter of play, Texas State didn’t sulk. Instead, the Bobcats turned on the jets.

The Bobcats outscored New Mexico State 35-7 in the second quarter to take control of the game and finished the first half with 243 rushing yards.

After Brandon Smith’s 11-yard touchdown reception from Shaun Rutherford knotted the score at 21, Joplo Bartu sacked New Mexico State quarterback Andrew Manley, forcing a fumble that Blake McColloch returned 6 yards for a touchdown, to give the Bobcats the lead.

McColloch then punched the ball loose from Manley three plays later and Jamie Clavell-Head returned 32 yards for another defensive score.

Clavell-Head said the Bobcat defense, which averaged giving up more than 40 points per game this year, certainly showed what it is capable of, heading into the offseason.

“Everyone has been saying that our defense is this and that,” Clavell-Head said. “Tonight, we definitely showed them what we are capable of and what we could really do.”

After Terrence Franks’ 21-yard touchdown run, Craig Mager scored on a 79-yard punt return to give the Bobcats a 49-21 lead and the rout was on.

Texas State ended the game with 446 rushing yards and 518 yards of total offense.

Texas State running back Marcus Curry, who led the team with 685 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns, said he was proud of the way his fellow Bobcat seniors finished their careers.

“It has been a long, fun road,” Curry said. “I’m happy with the way it ended.”

The Bobcats finished their first FBS season with a 4-8 overall record and a 2-4 mark in the Western Athletic Conference. Texas State will become a full-time member of the Sun Belt Conference beginning next season.

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