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Texas State Battles the Devil

This year's Bobcats might be doomed for mediocrity
Joe O'Connell, 11:03am, Fri. Oct. 18, 2013

In the film Broadcast News, Albert Brooks’ character talks about the devil as being not a harbinger of evil, but of mediocrity: “He will be attractive! He'll be nice and helpful. He'll get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation. He'll never do an evil thing!

“He'll never deliberately hurt a living thing... he will just bit by little bit lower our standards where they are important. Just a tiny little bit.”

That’s the problem most of us face day to day: how can we rise above average? I contend it’s also why we worship sports like football: We root for our team – thus ourselves – to create art, to be something better. It’s why, when I wrote optimistically here a couple of weeks ago about Texas State’s football squad after a strong showing in a loss at Texas Tech and a convincing win at Wyoming, my post got two strong reactions: massive readership by fans who want the Texas State Bobcats – themselves – to be better, and naysaying by the jaded devils expecting the big fall.

And fall the Bobcats did. They were pummeled by an excellent Ragin’ Cajuns squad, then lost a game they shouldn’t have last Saturday against University of Louisiana-Monroe, 21-14. It’s what we do in San Marcos, said the grumps. It’s what we’ve always done (save those national titles in some bygone era). The Bobcats are manic depressives who get your hopes up one week only to slug you in the face the next. I get that. But it’s the devil.

The Bobcat defense remains a beast. They held Monroe’s offense to 192 total yards and one back-breaking late touchdown.  But quarterback Tyler Jones – the savior, the freshman who could – couldn’t this day. Two passes intercepted by the same guy and returned for touchdowns.  Some good running by Robert Lowe, but lots of punts.

The Texas State defense tried its own hand at scoring when David Mayo’s interception gave the Bobcats the ball eight yards out. The offense – with Jones pulled out and replaced by senior Tyler Arndt – had to settle for a field goal. Then another.  In the fourth quarter, fiery Andy Erickson returned a punt to Monroe’s 21-yard line. Lowe punched it in, and Erickson caught a 2-point pass to tie the game with less than six minutes to go. Hope. But Monroe QB Brayle Brown started completing a few passes and ball carrier Centarius Donald powered it in from 10 yards out to seal a win.

The Bobcats are 3-3 at midseason. Mediocre, with six games to go. This week they face the biggest loser in the Sunbelt Conference: a truly horrible Georgia State team that’s still winless and should provide a make-nice comeback for Tyler Jones at home.  (The Georgia State sports web page opens to info on basketball. Nuff said.) In fact, the Bobcats should win their next three games. The following week’s opponent, South Alabama – just playing football since 2009 – is the sort of sad sack team you save for your Homecoming patsy, but they are playing close in their losses, including a recent one to Tennessee. The last three Bobcat games are tossups.

Conventional wisdom is the Bobcats finish the season either 6-6 or 5-7. Mediocre. Average. The devil got right to ‘em. But they could easily be a 9-3 squad if they beat that devil back. The next couple of weeks will give a taste of their desire to rise above.

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