With a touchdown on the final drive, the offense beat the defense 104-102 in Texas State’s annual Maroon and Gold game Saturday.
The offense scored seven touchdowns — four of them from graduate transfer quarterback Damian Williams, who was 14 of 22 for 172 yards with no interceptions.
“He played fine,” Bobcats coach Everett Withers said. “He’s progressing in the offense. It’s going to take this summer for him to really know the nuances of what we want to do and get it done. Mechanics are still all over the place with his feet. He still missed some throws that he shouldn’t. He’s got a long way to go.
“From a quarterback, we expect an awful lot. It’s probably not fair what we expect of the quarterback, but it is what it is.”
Though the offense won the game, Withers said there are still a number of issues the Bobcats need to clean up on that side of the ball, specifically getting into better shape along the line to run a wider range of tempos.
When asked to compare where his team is at right now with this time last spring, Withers said, “I didn’t like those guys last year.”
“Are we more talented? No, we’re not,” he said. “But I like being around them. I like being around our guys. They are good people. Generally, I feel they have a better care for each other than a year ago. I want to be around them; I want my son to be around them. I want our coaches’ families to be around. … Last year, I didn’t bring my kids over here because I didn’t want them to be infested with what was going on.
“No disrespect to last year’s group; they didn’t know us; they didn’t know the expectations. We came in here swinging at them last year. We came here absolutely swinging at everybody in the athletic department because our standards were high.”
Running back Anthony Taylor scored two touchdowns, finishing with 72 yards on 20 carries. He split time on the first unit with Robert Brown, who gained 47 yards on 17 rushes.
Receiver Mason Hays had four catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns, including a 45-yard score on a deep pass from Williams. Thurman Morbley led the team in receptions with five, gaining 45 yards.
Despite not playing starting middle linebackers Bryan London and Gabe Loyd, Withers had high praise for his linebacker group.
“I like our four linebackers — I really do,” Withers said. “I’m excited about them. … We’ve got some guys on that side of the ball that are playing better.”
Outside linebacker Hal Vinson led the team in tackles with eight; he had a sack and a tackle for a loss. Nikolas Daniels, who played in place of London, had four tackles, with a sack and a tackle for a loss.
Defensive ends Ishmael Davis and Dean Taylor had solid outings, with Davis recording two sacks and Taylor getting six tackles and a sack. Nose tackle John Lilly had three tackles, including two for a loss.
Safety Quinn Tiggs had four tackles and an interception, the only pick of the game, on a pass thrown by Joseph Gonzales.