SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Texas State kicked off a historic football season at Bobcat Stadium on Saturday afternoon, playing their first game of a season surrounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bobcats were close to pulling off a surprising upset over SMU, but fell just short of making the start of the 2020 football season even more unpredictable than it already is. SMU leaves San Marcos with a 31-24 win for its first win of the season.
Attendance for Saturday’s season opener against SMU appeared to be sparse, but socially distanced. Texas State was limiting capacity to 25%, not selling general admission tickets and assigning seats to fans who wanted to attend.
On the field, SMU, with former Longhorns quarterback Shane Buechele back for another year, was a big favorite to win, but Texas State and SMU were tied at 14 at halftime. Buechele finished the game with 367 passing yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Bobcats quarterback Brady McBride manufactured a nine play, 75-yard drive in the closing minutes of the second quarter highlighted by a great touchdown grab from Jeremiah Haydel to even the score at 14 at the break.
In the third quarter, SMU took their first drive of the half in for the 21-14 lead on a nine-yard TJ McDaniel touchdown run. Buechele played well for SMU, throwing only seven incompletions with 361 passing yards and a touchdown.
Texas State evened the score again on a 19-yard touchdown pass from McBride to Chandler Speights with six minutes to go in the third quarter. Buechele notched his first touchdown pass of the season on the ensuing possession, going deep to top target Reggie Roberson for a 51-yard score and a 28-21 lead.
SMU gave the Bobcats every chance to tie it at 28.
SMU’s following three possessions resulted in a fumble near the Bobcats’ goal line, a turnover on downs and a Buechele interception. Texas State couldn’t capitalize on the Mustangs’ miscues.
Former Longhorns kicker Chris Naggar nailed his first college field goal for SMU with a 31-yard kick late in the fourth quarter to give the Mustangs a 31-21 lead.
Texas State faces UTSA next week. SMU’s rivalry game with TCU has been postponed after positive COVID-19 results within the Horned Frogs program.
Texas State just beat the deadline for Saturday’s game in terms of uniforms. The program’s equipment staff tweeted that they picked up the uniforms from UPS just hours before kickoff.