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Texas State Bobcats Play Pesky

Refuse to roll over and play dead
Joe O'Connell, 11:30am, Fri. Nov. 2, 2012
Texas State has officially joined the ranks of the “pesky.”

That word says it all for the Bobcats as they plow into FBS (Big-Time Football!) competition. As newcomers, they are expected to smile, make with the kissy face, roll over, and play dead. When teams go against that game plan, as Texas State did against San Jose State in the first half last week, they become pesky. Sort of like that swarm of gnats around my back deck. You swat and you swat, but there they are.

Pesky teams lose. They often lose “squeakers.” That’s a fact, Jack. Pesky teams play well in the first half, keep it close, then fold like a cheap umbrella – which is to say it ain’t pretty. I said in this spot last week that San Jose State gave the Bobcats their best shot of a win in a stretch of upcoming tough games, and I was right.

The Bobcats led 20-17 at the half and played like winners in front of a San Jose crowd that looked to number in the hundreds. (Can’t a 6-2 football team at least rent a few fans?) The Bobcats took risks with a fourth-and-goal touchdown run by Marcus Curry and athleticism when quarterback Shaun “No W” Rutherford raced 45 yards for another score. A couple of field goals helped Texas State keep pace with a Spartan offense led by QB David “Nobody’s” Foles who scorched the Bobcats early in the third quarter with a 78-yard screaming-hawk of a TD pass. Then De'Leon Eskridge burned Texas State with a 32-yard dash in the fourth quarter to put it out of reach at 31-20.

Pesky means the Bobcats should’ve, could’ve won. But to accomplish it, they had to continue their explosive first-half ways in the second half. Nada. Scoreless. There were great offensive highlights in the game: Andy “Handy” Erickson’s 54-yard punt return that overshadowed Jafus “No Nickname Needed” Gaines 45-yard return, Tim “Happy” Gay’s 48-yard burst in the second to set up a field goal. But the second half was all pesky.

The Bobcats should’ve. As a 6-2 team, San Jose State looks like the pimply redhead just glad to be asked to the dance. Not so with next opponent Utah State which is already in fully pesky preparation mode, and Saturday’s contest won’t be a squeaker. This quote from head coach Gary Andersen says it all: “This will be a big challenge for us. It’s a good football team we are playing. Texas State is very good in option football.” Translation? Pucker up and start rolling over, Bobcats.

The 7-2 Utah State Aggies allowed UTSA to be pesky briefly in the first quarter last week when the Roadrunners intercepted a deflected pass from Chuckie “Buster” Keeten and eked out a field goal. Then the Aggies piled on the points for a 27-3 halftime lead. Utah State’s defense likes to sack and allow an average of 96 yards rushing a game. Keeten, who hails from Cypress Creek, Texas, is a scrambling QB who has tossed for 2,355 yards this season. He and running back Kerwynn Williams are the offense.

Can Texas State find some defense? Will Rutherford’s feet save the Bobcat offense? Probably not, but here’s hoping for just a dash of pesky before this road lesson ends and the Bobcats come home to host, gulp, the giant-killers of Louisiana Tech.

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