In its second season as a Football Bowl Subdivision school, Texas State came to Robertson Stadium and took home a decisive 30-13 victory over the University of Houston.
For every time the Cougars scored in the first half, the Bobcats responded in kind.
After UH senior Matt Hogan booted a 50-yard field goal, bringing the score to 7-3, TXST senior Marcus Curry ran a 73-yard touchdown only one play later.
After UH quarterback David Piland converted on a strike to Larry McDuffey for 64 yards with 3:09 remaining in the first quarter, TXST quarterback Rutherford led a drive that culminated in another Curry touchdown, bringing the score to 24-10.
The second half fared no better for the Cougars — never threatening the Bobcats with their offense.
Piland said the team could find neither rhythm nor cohesion.
“We can’t turn the ball over,” Piland said.
“We had chances and didn’t exploit them as we should’ve. We should have made more easy throws. We needed to move the ball down the field and in the middle of the field, and we didn’t.”
Piland completed 17 of 44 passes for 211 yards. Despite the performance, head coach Tony Levine said Piland would still be his starting quarterback during the post-game press conference.
Charles Sims found holes and made explosive plays, rushing for 77 yards on 13 carries. Hogan was another source of Cougar scoring with two field goals.
UH’s defense showed an inability to stop the run, in particular, Curry, who finished with 131 rushing yards on 14 carries, averaging more than nine yards per carry.
Curry dashed and slashed his way through the Cougar defense, scoring runs of 73 and 2 yards. Curry had three touchdowns, two rushing, and one 21-yard receiving score.
Strong safety Chris Cermin, in his first career start, had 13 tackles, indicating a bad day by the Cougar front seven. Though Derrick Mathews and Phillip Steward racked up 14 tackles each, Curry consistently got to the second level of the defense.
Steward said the defense was expecting the offense to keep up the momentum started by the Bobcats from the start of the game.
“In the first half, we were waiting on the offense to do something and the offense didn’t and (TXST) kept scoring on us. We needed to do a better job in the first half,” Steward said.
The Cougar’s defense played with notably increased energy in the second half, working to suppress the potent runners of Texas State, surrendering only three points.
But, the offense could not match the defense in momentum and repeatedly sputtered on Piland’s incomplete passes and botched runs.
Despite several Bobcat miscues, the defense could not keep up its energy throughout the second half. The results were quality rushes by Texas State running backs and quarterback Shawn Rutherford, and an escalating chorus of boos from the UH audience — the largest home-opening gate of all-time at Robertson Stadium with 32,207 fans.
It was the second lowest total points scored by UH since 2007, and the Bobcat’s first FBS victory since defeating the University of Louisiana-Monroe in 2000.
Levine said there were still many necessary steps to be taken to get through the growing pains of the still young season.
“I said going into this game that after tonight we will know where we are at as a 2012 football team. I told the kids and everyone in the locker room that we have work to do, and they know that.”