Texas State football (2-10, 2-6 Sun Belt) lost to No. 20 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 49-14 in the Bobcats’ season finale on Nov. 28.
On the rainy afternoon, football was not the only thing on the Bobcats’ mind. On Nov. 24, sophomore defensive back Khambrail Winters was shot and killed in San Marcos. He was 20 years old.
Head Coach Jake Spavital was told of Winters' passing on the night of the shooting and delivered the news to his players the following morning.
“You’re sitting in this team room and you’re looking in their faces,” Spavital said. “It’s a very blank stare. I think that everybody grieves in different ways, and I think that initially on Wednesday [the players] were in shock.”
The Bobcats canceled all of their football activities on Nov. 25 but came back for an early Thanksgiving dinner that night.
“They seemed to be a little bit better, but that was kind of where more of the anger and the denial, and the finding answers, and all the questions and uncertainty of things started to kind of come about,” Spavital said.
Winters did not play during the 2020 season due to an ACL tear he suffered in fall camp. Spavital says Winters joked about playing this week, despite rehabbing the injury.
“[I had] a conversation with him Tuesday during practice,” Spavital said. “He was always joking with us...He told me he was ready to play this week even though he would have had four more months to be cleared by the doctors before he could play.”
There was a moment of silence before kick-off. To honor their fallen teammate, the Maroon and Gold players fashioned their helmets with decals that read “KW 1” symbolizing Winters’ initials and jersey number. Several Bobcats marched, with arms linked, onto the field holding Winters’ jersey.
Last week, Texas State got its second win of the season against Arkansas State. Sophomore quarterback Brady McBride went on a tear going 32 of 45 with 443 yards and five touchdown passes.
On the other side of the ball, Coastal Carolina came into the matchup heavily favored. The Chanticleers brought their undefeated record and the No. 1 defense in the Sun Belt Conference to Bobcat Stadium.
In the first quarter, Coastal got off to a hot start running the football. The rushing attack was led by senior running back CJ Marable, who had seven attempts for 100 yards and two touchdowns to put the Chanticleers up 14-0 midway through the quarter.
The Bobcats managed to score in the following drive. McBride had five completions for 69 yards, capped off by a 14-yard touchdown reception to senior receiver Javen Banks. The score cut into the Chanticleer lead 14-7.
Coastal took control in the second quarter. A rushing touchdown by sophomore running back Reese White and two passing touchdowns from redshirt freshman quarterback Grayson McCall to junior receiver Jaivon Heiligh pushed the score 35-7 at halftime.
In the second quarter, the Chanticleers led with 208 total yards while the ‘Cats only managed a mere 42 yards. Coastal Carolina also dominated the time of possession in the quarter with 9:50.
After the half, the Coastal Carolina put up another drive capped off by a 23-yard touchdown run for Marable, which was his third of the day. The score extended the team's lead to 42-7.
The Bobcats ended both of their drives in the third quarter with failed attempts on fourth down.
During the fourth quarter, the Coastal Carolina methodically went down the field and finished off its 7:11 drive with a touchdown by junior running back Baden Pinson to extend the lead to 49-7.
On the Bobcats' following possession, redshirt freshman running back Calvin Hill ran for 53 yards on third down and put Texas State at the eight yard-line. The Bobcats scored a touchdown on a five-yard run by sophomore running back Jahmyl Jeter. The final score was 49-14.
The Chanticleers rushing attack wreaked havoc on the Bobcats, going for 406 yards on the day, the most Texas State has allowed since Oct. 29, 2015. Marable led the way with 16 carries for 157 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Coastal Carolina kept McBride at bay, as he went 20-26 for 202 yards with a touchdown while being sacked three times on the day. Texas State also lost in the time of possession as the Chanticleers held on for 37:31 while the Bobcats only had the remaining 22:29.
“[Coastal Carolina] dominated all three phases of the game,” Spavital said. “Where it was really shown was in the trenches. Their offensive line got after us very well and their defensive line got after us extremely well. From a play-calling standpoint on my part, I struggled buying enough time for Brady to throw the ball.”
For Coastal Carolina, the win will mark its first Sun Belt East Division Championship since joining the conference in 2017. The Chanticleers will go on to play Liberty on Dec. 5.
As for the Bobcats, the game marked their 12th of the season. Texas State is the first FBS team to play 12 games this season.
The Bobcats will end their season 2-10. Despite the poor record, Texas State managed to have many nationally televised games. Spavital believes the exposure helped the Bobcats’ program.
“We put our university on the map, especially to people outside the state of Texas,” Spavital said. “I’ve had a lot of people texting us and calling us, they always enjoy watching the Bobcats play on T.V.”