JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – A 48-yard field goal attempt by Blake Grupe fell to the turf at Allison Field in the dying seconds on Saturday as the Arkansas State football team gave up a game of 24 -22 against Texas State at Centennial Bank Stadium.
Quarterback Layne Hatcher led A-State (2-10, 1-7 SBC) down the field with less than a minute left and set the potential winner in a whipping 15 mph wind. However, a flurry overturned the ball, sealing the victory for the Bobcats (4-8, 3-5).
“I’m really proud of our players in the second half,” said head coach Butch Jones. “They showed courage and I was proud of them for that. Overall, I’m extremely disappointed. I was disappointed with our performance in the first half. Everyone wants to remember the second half and the end of the game, but football is an accumulation of repetitions and situations that occur. For some reason, we were not ready to play mentally, physically and all of the above, and we got out and got into a hole.
A-State outscored Texas State offensively 471-333, including 277 yards through the air and 194 rushing, tied for the most in a single game this season. Defensively, the Red Wolves limited the Bobcats to just 130 passing yards, while giving up 203 rushing yards. A-State had 25 first downs, while Texas State had 14.
Hatcher completed 25 of 37 passes for 277 yards and touchdowns to Dahu Green and Corey Rucker. Rucker led A-State with 85 yards on 8 catches, while Green caught 5 balls for 81 yards.
Alan Lamar led A-State’s rushing offense with 88 yards on 12 attempts, while Lincoln Pare rushed for 75 yards on 14 attempts. Johnnie Lang Jr. rushed three times for 35 yards.
Texas State quarterback Tyler Vitt completed 11 of 25 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown, to receiver Trevis Graham, Jr., who led with 67 yards on 4 catches. Calvin Hill rushed 12 times for 123 yards and a 78-yard touchdown, while Jahmyl Jeter also found the end zone, rushing 10 times for 36 yards.
Jeter’s score put the Bobcats ahead at 10:38 in the first quarter to make it 7-0 before A-State responded with Hatcher’s 39-yard throw to Green to tie it at 7-all. With 5:47 left in the quarter, Vitt hit Graham for a 31-yard strike to give Texas State a 14-7 lead after one period.
The teams traded field goals in the second quarter, with Grupe hitting a 23-yard kick to make it 14-10. Texas State’s Seth Killer then netted a 46-yard field goal with 3:09 left in the half, giving the Bobcats a 17-10 halftime lead.
Hill dove into the net with 8:06 left in the third to give the Bobcats a 24-13 two-point advantage. However, A-State didn’t start in their final game of the season, Grupe sending a 22-yard kick through the uprights with 12:17 remaining to make it 24-16.
The A-State defense held firm, forcing back-to-back punts to give the offense a chance to tie the contest. That chance came when Hatcher found Rucker for a 26-yard touchdown pass with 2:12 to go, but the 2-point conversion try was no good to make it 24-22.
Texas State’s offense stalled, going 3 and out to give the ball back to the Red Wolves with 55 seconds and two timeouts. Back-to-back first downs put the Scarlet and Black in Bobcat territory, then a 9-yard pass to Green made it third and first, when A-State called a timeout with 26 seconds left. After a 1-yard loss on a rush, Red Wolves called their final timeout with 3 seconds left. The Bobcats then used a timeout before the kick from Grupe, who met a gust of wind to send the ball and end the fight.
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