Late rally comes up short as Texas State falls to Georgia Southern

The Bobcats scored 13 unanswered points and had a chance to tie the game with two minutes left


SAN MARCOS  Thursday night's loss to Georgia Southern perfectly encapsulated the state of the program at Texas State. 

There were flashes for the Bobcats, specifically two second-half touchdowns, including one that got the Bobcats within a 2-point conversion of tying the game with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter. 

But it wasn't enough as the heavily favored Eagles handed Texas State a 15-13 loss.

"The hardest thing about when you take something and blow it up and start over is when do you get over the hump," Texas State head coach Everett Withers said. "That's where we are right now - we're kind of stuck. I think it's coming soon, I hope next week. 

"It's as frustrating now as it was year one when we didn't have a chance to win. Now we're talking about trying to win games. We're close, but close only matter in horseshoes and hand grenades."

Withers is 5-25 with the Bobcats since taking over as head coach in 2016.

Texas State tight end Keenen Brown was a major bright spot when he rushed for a 61-yard gain in the third quarter  the longest rush of the season for the Bobcats  and scored on a 3-yard rush three plays later. 

"I got a little tired at the end," the 6-foot-3 Oklahoma State graduate transfer said. "I think that was my first handoff since little league."

Texas State rotated quarterbacks throughout the game, with freshman Tyler Vitt getting the start and sophomore Willie Jones playing most of the second half. Vitt finished 13-of-21 passing for 132 yards and one touchdown, while Jones finished 1-of-6 for three through the air and 37 yards on the ground. 

The 61-yard run and a 29-yard touchdown pass from Vitt to receiver Jeremiah Haydel in the fourth quarter accounted for nearly 40 percent of Texas State's 242 total yards of offense. 

Withers praised the Bobcats' defense after they held Georgia Southern and its unique triple option to 164 yards on 52 attempts. The Eagles came into Thursday game with the second-best rushing attack in the Sun Belt, averaging 321.5 yards per game. 

"You can't get all the components of stopping the triple option in four days," Withers said. "Last spring, we took two days to devote to Georgia Southern, we took two days of training camp and we took a day a half during the bye week to get ready for this game and I think it paid off."

Georgia Southern went 77 yards in 13 plays and took more than six minutes off the clock early in the second quarter to jump out a 7-0 lead. The Eagles then banked in a 24-yard field goal as the first half ended. 

Jones was sacked in the end zone for a Georgia Southern safety and the Eagles made their second field goal of the game in the third quarter. 

Brown got the Bobcats on the board with less than a minute to play in the third quarter. 

Vitt found Haydel in the front corner of the end zone with 2:20 left in the game to get Texas State within striking defense, but the ensuing 2-point conversion that would have tied things up fell incomplete.

The Bobcats have a few extra days to get ready for their trip to face Louisiana-Monroe next Saturday at 6 p.m. before they return to San Marcos to host New Mexico State on Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. 

"Football is not fun. Winning football is fun," Withers said. "Life's not fun if you're not winning at it. We have to find a way to win at football and life."

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