QB issues create trouble for Bobcats in 25-21 loss at UTSA
SAN ANTONIO — Texas State quarterback Willie Jones III was knocked out of the game on the Bobcats’ second drive, and UTSA took home the “I-35 Showdown” for the third time with a 25-21 win Saturday night.
The Bobcats (1-3) used three quarterbacks in all. After Jones left with a shoulder injury, backup Jaylen Gipson played for two series before then being replaced by Tyler Vitt, a freshman.
“You go from a quarterback that’s played some snaps in 2017 to a quarterback that’s only played a handful of snaps in 2018, so you have to think about what you play-call,” Bobcats coach Everett Withers said.
UTSA (1-3) linebacker Josiah Tauaefa stripped Jones on the third play of the game, allowing defensive end Lorenzo Dantzler to scoop it up and return it for a 27-yard touchdown.
The Roadrunners, leading 7-0, took a 14-0 lead on their second drive after a 10-play, 58-yard drive.
Vitt, taking over for Gipson, took the Bobcats 64 yards on a six-play drive, scoring on a 1-yard run to cut the UTSA lead to 14-7. During the drive, wide receiver Hutch White completed a pass to Vitt for 26 yards. White has completed all three of his career pass attempts for 83 yards and two touchdowns.
A 40-yard field goal just before halftime gave the Roadrunners a 17-7 advantage.
The Bobcats narrowed the lead in the third quarter after a 10-play, 82-yard drive ended on 21-yard touchdown pass from Vitt to Keenen Brown, making it 17-14.
Brown, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma State, finished the game with nine catches for 124 yards and a touchdown.
“It feels great to come on this team,” Brown said. “I’m just getting into the game plan and doing everything right to make sure I’m doing whatever it takes for me to make a play to help this team win.”
Another 40-yard field goal by UTSA extended its lead to 20-14 at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
The Roadrunners got the ball back at midfield when they surprised the Bobcats with an onside kick.
The recovery led to a 45-yard field goal for UTSA, giving the Roadrunners a 23-14 lead with 10 minutes left.
Vitt was then stopped in the end zone on a designed run, essentially sealing the game by giving the Roadrunners a safety and possession with 1:49 left in the game.
Vitt completed 15 of 22 passes for 192 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. He also rushed for 11 yards and a touchdown.
Freshman kicker Clayton Stewart, playing in place of senior James Sherman, missed his only field goal attempt from 34 yards out. He made all three of his extrapoints.