Texas State wanted to make an impression during its home debut Saturday.
The Bobcats did what they set ought to do in record-breaking fashion by soaring to a 63-24 victory over Prairie View A&M at Bobcat Stadium.
Texas State (1-1) shattered three records, including churning out 418 of its 649 offensive yards during the building of a 56-17 halftime lead, which set the mark for the most points in a half. The other came on special teams with Brandon McDowell’s 95-yard touchdown punt return.
Texas State’s offensive show was warmly-welcomed by coach Dennis Franchione after the Bobcats sputtered throughout last week’s 59-16 opening loss to Florida State.
Execution was not an issue this time as Texas State put the game out of reach in the first half by scoring on every possession but the last. That almost led to another record-breaker but Lumi Kaba’s 60-yard field goal attempt fell short.
Balance was present. Quarterback Tyler Jones, who completed 12 of 14 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns. Texas State’s running game was also efficient with Robert Lowe rambling for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Chris Nutall proved to be a dual threat, romping for 94 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts, while hauling in two passes for 46 yards and a score.
“We a good first half,” Franchione said. “We were efficient offensively. We had balance and that’s what we’re striving for. Our line did an heck of a job. It’s hard to find any flaws other than we missed a 60-something yard field goal. To our credit we never let them breathe. I think we got better.”
It took Texas State less than two minutes to strike for its first score. Lowe capped the drive with a 1-yard-run plunge and began things with gallops of 13 and 5 yards. However, the big play of the march came from Jones, who hurled a 45-yard pass to an open Jafus Gaines.
Prairie View (1-1) had a promising first possession as the passing of Trey Green and a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty put the Panthers at Texas State’s 35. Texas State closed the door when Damani Alexcee’s sack of Green forced a fumble. Trey McGowan fell on the loose ball and the Bobcats were back in business for another quick strike.
Jones provided the big lift by flinging a 34-yard pass to L.G. Williams. Two plays later, Nutall capped the drive when he bounced off a Prairie View defender, rolled to his right and galloped the end zone from 9 yards out for the 14-0 lead.
Minutes later, Jones was on the mark again, connecting with Brandon Smith on a 65-yard touchdown pass for a 20-0 advantage.
Prairie View managed to get in a field goal during Texas State’s scoring spree. After the 30-yard boot from Owen Hoolihan, the Bobcats retaliated with Nutnall’s 7-yard TD run before McDowell added the special teams’ play of the game when he fielded a punt at Texas State 5 and zig-zagged through Prairie View’s defenders for the 95-yard return and 35-3 advantage.
Prairie View hit the end zone twice in the second quarter, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with Texas State, which added Jones’1-yard scoring dive and 22-yard pass to Gaines, along with Lowe’s 1-yard run.
The fireworks show wasn’t as lively in the second half as the Bobcats’ lone score came on Jones’ 21-yard TD pass to Nutall.
Prairie View also got a touchdown on Green’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Demarque LeStrappe that came after Texas State fumbled a punt.
“I wasn’t pleased with giving up the last score,” Franchione said. “Brandon had a great punt return and then fumbled one. We had three roughing the passer penalties. Those things didn’t hurt us (Saturday), but they could be catastrophic in most games. We have to clean that up.”