Texas State Football ends season with 24-22 victory at Arkansas State

Staff Reports

The Texas State football team dramatically closed its 2021 season when the Bobcats held on for a 24-22 victory over Arkansas State in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday afternoon at Centennial Bank Stadium.

Calvin Hill rushed for a career-best 123 yards on 13 carries and scored a game-winning touchdown to lead the Bobcats. Tyler Vitt completed 11 of 25 passes for 121 yards and a TD.

Yet Texas State had to watch Arkansas State miss a 48-yard field goal into the wind before they could celebrate.

The 24-22 victory is the first win in Jonesboro for the Bobcats, who have a pair of two-point victories over the Red Wolves in the past two seasons. Texas State closed a season with a victory for the first time since 2014.

“Today was a solid way to end the season,” said Texas State head coach Jake Spavital. “I’m proud of these seniors and the entire team for fighting this afternoon after all the ups and downs we’ve been through this season. I’m happy to get a victory, even when we do make things interesting at the end.”


Texas State jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on its first offensive possession when Jahmyl Jeter ran four yards off right tackle for a touchdown, and Seth Keller added the extra point.

Arkansas State tied the score when Layne Hatcher threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Dahu Green, and Blake Grupe added the extra point.

The Bobcats came right back on their second possession in the game to regain the lead. This time, Texas State converted a fourth-down play when Sione Tupou threw a nine-yard pass to Caleb Twyford for a first down at ASU’s 31-yard line. On the next play, Vitt threw a 31-yard TD pass to Trevis Graham Jr., and Keller added the extra point, giving the Bobcats a 14-7 lead.

The Red Wolves closed the gap to 14-10 when Grupe kicked a 23-yard field goal with 8:26 left to play in the first half.

Texas State extended its lead to 17-10 after holding the Red Wolves on downs deep in their territory and setting up Keller’s record-setting 46-yard field goal. The successful kick was Keller’s 15th field goal made this season, giving him Texas State’s single-season record for most field goals.

The Red Wolves drove down the field to Texas State’s six-yard line on the opening possession in the second half, but the Bobcats forced them to settle for Grupe’s 22-yard field goal to make the score 17-13.

Texas State answered with its third touchdown drive when Calvin Hill raced up the middle 78 yards to Arkansas State’s five-yard line. After the Bobcats were called for an illegal block in the back at the five-yard line on the play, Texas State was penalized 15 yards to the ASU 20-yard line for a first down. Hill scored the touchdown with a six-yard run five plays later, and Keller kicked the extra point to give Texas State a 24-13 lead.

Grupe kicked a 22-yard field goal to make the score 24-16 with 12:17 left to play.

Arkansas State scored a touchdown to close to within 24-22 when Hatcher threw a 26-yard pass to Corey Rucker for the TD. But D.C. Williams deflected another pass to Rucker on the two-point conversion, allowing Texas State to maintain a 24-22 lead with 2:12 left to play.

The Red Wolves attempted an on-sides kick that Caleb Twyford recovered on Texas State’s 35-yard line.

After the Bobcats punted with 55 seconds remaining, the Red Wolves moved the ball down to Texas State’s 30-yard line with 26 seconds left for a third-and-one play. Caeveon Patton and Eric Sutton tackled Lincoln Pare for a one-yard loss and forced the Red Wolves to attempt a 48-yard field goal into a strong wind. However, the kick was short and wide left, giving Texas State the victory.

“What a wild game today with all the penalties and momentum swings, and then to end it on a missed field goal,” said Spavital. “But it was good to see everyone still playing and fighting until the end. I have to give a lot of credit to this group. Today was just a great way to send those seniors off. That’s a great way to end the season and build momentum going into the offseason for our kids who are coming back next year.” 

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