Despite scoring 13 points in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, the Texas State Bobcats could not overcome the rival University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners in a 51-48 double-overtime loss.
It is the fourth straight loss to UTSA in the I-35 series as Texas State falls to 0-2 on the season.
For Head Football Coach Jake Spavital, the devastating loss was disappointing due to the fact the Bobcats had multiple opportunities to win the game.
“I loved the fight of the team, but what I told them, ‘when are we going to change the narrative of this university, and when are we going to be the team that overcomes adversity and wins the game?’ They see it.”
The trouble started before the ball was even snapped. After starting sophomore quarterback Brady McBride was declared inactive due to COVID-19 protocol, junior Tyler Vitt, who missed the Southern Methodist University game also to COVID-19 protocols, was suddenly thrust into the quarterback position.
But the change at quarterback was the least of Texas State’s problems.
The UTSA rushing duo of Frank Harris and Sincere McCormick tore up the Bobcats defensively for 248 yards rushing, between the two, while the offense struggled in the first half despite scoring on a 66-yard touchdown pass from Vitt to running back Brock Sturges in the first series of the game.
“We couldn’t run the ball and we couldn’t pass the ball,” Spavital said. “We were leaning into the run game heading into this game, and they gapped it up and played harder than us, and we couldn’t establish the run. I had to do a reverse play calling of games where I had to just bomb it to get the run to open up.”
The offensive resurgence in the second half propelled the Bobcats to a dramatic comeback that saw Texas State crawl back from a 31-14 deficit.
For Vitt, who threw for his second-highest passing yard total of 346 yards and a career-high in touchdown passes with four, it was the offense that finally clicked during the second half.
“I just felt like we got into a rhythm,” Vitt said. “We were a little bit choppy in the first half, and once we got into the second half we got to be who we really are.”
Trailing 41-28 with 3:24 left in the game after an 81-yard pick-six by UTSA safety Rashad Wisdom, Vitt found Marcell Barbee for a 20-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead down to six with just 1:51 left in the game.
After forcing the Roadrunners to punt, it was Jeremiah Haydel, the same player with a catch of the year candidate in the SMU game, who had the highlight reel once again after a stunning 91-yard punt return to tie the game with just 1:16 remaining.
“It was a great feeling,” Haydel said, “I put my team in a great position to win, I wished I had done more out there tonight; we put everything into that game, but you know the outcome wasn’t on our side, and next time we got to be better.”
A missed extra point led to the game being sent to overtime, the first OT game in the I-35 series.
After scoring touchdowns in the first OT period, a missed field goal by Texas State led to UTSA kicker Hunter Duplessis hitting a 29-yard field goal for the win.
With the conference opener against Louisiana Monroe coming up Sept. 19, Haydel stresses the importance of staying together.
“This week is going to make us or break us, we have to stay together as a team, and go back to the drawing board and fix our mistakes,” Haydel said.
Texas State kicks off a five-game road slate this weekend against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks in the Sun Belt Conference opener.
ULM kicked off its season with a 37-7 loss to Army.