San Marcos, Texas- In the third annual Maroon-Gold game in its current format under head coach Dennis Franchione, the Maroon team came back to win bragging rights with a 28-14 victory in front of 4,608 Bobcat fans on Saturday night at Bobcat Stadium.
The Maroon team was on its way to score a touchdown on its opening drive when Jordan Moore led them down the field to the one-yard line. After gaining four yards on a first-down run up the middle, he completed a pair of passes to Jafus Gaines for 40 yards and another pass to Matthew Perry for a seven-yard gain down to the Gold nine-yard line. However, three plays later, the Maroon team moved the ball down to the one before Moore fumbled the ball and Gold defensive tackle Blake McColloch made the recovery at the one-yard line.
After battling for field position throughout most of the remaining first half, Tyler Arndt broke a scoreless tie with time winding down in the second quarter when he led the Gold team on a seven-play, 70-yard drive in the final two minutes of the first half.
He completed a 30-yard pass to David Lewis down to the Maroon’s 22-yard line. Then on the next play, Arndt threw pass to Ben Ijah on a corner route for the touchdown to give the Gold team a 7-0 lead.
Just before the half, Moore tried to get the Maroon team in scoring position, but Craig Mager intercepted his pass at the Maroon 44-yard line with 11 seconds left. The interception gave Jason Dann an opportunity for a 55-yard field goal attempt, but his kick missed wide to the left.
The Maroon team seemed to regain some momentum coming out of halftime when Moore threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Kris Peterson with a seam route on the third play from scrimmage to tie the score at 7-7.
The team kept the momentum going when the Maroon defense forced a punt on a three-and-out that Jafus Gaines returned 61 yards down to the Gold’s10-yard line. The two teams then exchanged a pair of turnovers with the second turnover coming as Herbert Gonzales knocked the ball out of the hand of Fred Nixon at the nine-yard line, setting up the Maroon team with a first-and-goal nine-yard line. Chris Nutall gave the Maroon team a 14-7 advantage when he scored on a seven-yard touchdown run and Will Johnson kicked the extra point.
Maroon was able to put the game away midway in the fourth quarter on another Gold turnover when they recovered a punt on the Gold’s 34-yard line. Eight plays later, Moore scored on a seven-yard TD run and Johnson added the extra point for a 21-7 lead.
With 3:09 left to play, Arndt led the Gold team on its last chance to get back into contention for a comeback. He drove the squad right down the field, resulting in an 11-yard touchdown reception by Ijah, to make the score, 21-14.
The Maroon team was able to run the clock down after receiving the ensuing kickoff before adding an exclamation touchdown when Terrence Franks scored on an eight-yard run to make the final score, 28-14.
Moore finished the game 5-of-7 passing for 107 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for 43 yards on 11 carries. Chris Nutall led the Maroon team with 63 yards rushing on seven carries, and the aforementioned Gaines and Peterson each had 40 and 54 yards receiving, respectively.
For the Gold team, Arndt completed 12 of his 18 passes for 152 yards two touchdowns. Ben Ijah contributed with four receptions for 46 yards and two touchdowns.
Texas State returns to the gridiron for fall practice in August to continue preparing for the season opener at Southern Mississippi on Aug. 31 in Hattiesburg, Miss. It will be the second straight year the Bobcats have opened the year on the road against a Conference USA school. Last year, the Bobcats upset Houston 30-13 in the opener for its first win against an FBS school since 2002.
Following the Southern Miss season-opener, Texas State plays the first of six home games against Prairie View A&M on Sept. 7. Texas State’s other home games are against Wyoming on Sept. 28, UL-Monroe on Oct. 12, Georgia State on Oct. 19, South Alabama on Oct. 26 and Western Kentucky on Nov. 23.