While there are a few good come-from-behind rallies in the history of Southern Miss football, Saturday did not end up as one of them.
The Golden Eagles went off for 26 second-half points after being down 42-10 against Texas State but could not get it done at the end, falling to the Bobcats 50-36.
“Really disappointing night and lack of execution in the first half,” Southern Miss head coach Will Hall said. “Defensively, we were just not very good in the first half. The second half was a complete flip-flop of that, but we got behind by a lot to a really good football team.”
To start the game off in the wrong direction, the opening kickoff was returned for a 100-yard touchdown by Texas State’s Ismail Mahdi. Golden Eagles quarterback Billy Wiles then threw an interception on the first offensive play of the game, which set the Bobcats up for another touchdown.
Texas State then held Southern Miss to a three-and-out before Mahdi scored on a three-yard touchdown run with 6:57 left in the first quarter to make the score 21-0.
The Southern Miss offense finally got on the scoreboard with a 38-yard field goal from Andrew Stein followed by a one-yard touchdown sneak from Frank Gore, Jr. on the next possession. However, the Bobcats exploded for three more touchdowns before going into the locker room with a 42-10 lead.
Coming out of halftime, Wiles gathered some control and led the Golden Eagles to four consecutive touchdown drives that put together a huge comeback attempt. The first two were to receivers Taquelin Mims and Jakarius Caston. Both Wiles and Gore then found scores on the ground to make it a 42-36 game with 6:16 remaining in the fourth quarter.
On Texas State’s next possession, Mahdi exploded for a 90-yard run, but the Golden Eagles defense was able to strip the ball on the one-yard line resulting in a touchback. However, this would be the end of Southern Miss’ comeback attempt as the offense was stopped on the very next drive. The Bobcats then put together an insurance touchdown and two-point conversion to go home with a 50-36 conference victory.
Wiles finished with 257 yards on 19 of 35 passing with three total touchdowns. Gore rushed for 123 yards on 24 attempts with two touchdowns. Latreal Jones led the receivers’ room with six catches for 124 yards.
Even though the defense had three sacks and three fumble recoveries, Southern Miss gave up 517 total yards of offense to Texas State (4-1, 1-0 Sun Belt).
Southern Miss (1-4, 0-2), who is now on a four-game losing streak, will host homecoming next Saturday, Oct. 7 against Sun Belt foe Old Dominion, at 6 p.m.