Game Review: La. Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns vs. Texas State Bobcats, 10/22/16, 6pm
Final Score: Lafayette 27 Texas State 3; Attendance 18,278
Weather: Beautiful, Low 70’s; Ticket Price $10, StubHub; Parking $10
“Underestimated” by Tree
Had I known that Texas State is the fourth largest university in Texas, I might have planned my arrival at Bobcat Stadium a little earlier. I had assumed that with a small school, I could roll in a couple of hours before kickoff to the tailgate lot. Perhaps because it was homecoming or maybe it was the great weather, but when my friend Stuart and I approached the cash lot for tailgating it was clearly full. The steady stream of students walking that way should have been a clue that we weren’t parking there. We did manage to find another parking lot (read empty field) where Stuart and I had the saddest tailgate you have ever seen. It was us and a bunch of cars. We tried to improve the situation by utilizing WatchESPN on my laptop. However, a very laggy connection made watching the burgers on the grill a much more exciting option. We ate our burgers quickly and then headed to the cash lot to take in the scene.
And it was a scene. It was packed with students dancing away under large tents of various sizes. An apparent tradition is for the students to bring old couches to spruce up the tailgating. And as any WVU Mountaineer will tell you, they make great fires for celebrating post big game wins. The whole environment was friendly and inviting. I cursed my poor planning several times regretting that we had to park in Salem’s lot while this party was going on. The best part is that the lot only costs $10 bucks to park and open to everyone – or at least until it is filled. Another factor contributing to my false assumption on tailgating arrival time was that I was able to buy our tickets on Stubhub for all of $10 each. These seats were not in peanut heaven either. They were on the 45 yard line, 4 rows up. These seats were about as good as they get. Not surprisingly, we saw no scalpers prior to the game. The scoreboards for Bobcat Stadium are pretty small, so small that they put two of them in. How small were they? It felt like my silly 65” in my man cave was bigger. And at times, I was wishing I could change the channel. There are a couple of video ribbons with reasonable stats, although it seemed like it was stuck on a loop of about six games of a random order. It wasn’t like all Sun Belt games or all southern schools; it was just six random games. Despite being on the 45 yard line and four rows up, we had bench seating. Only on the middle sections of the home side of the field had seatbacks. The concessions were very average with standard fare. I am not sure what qualifies as local delicacy in San Marcos – armadillo maybe? I couldn’t even see a souvenir cup being offered. I was extremely disappointed and compensated by indulging in a guilty pleasure of a funnel cake and large lemonade. When I returned to my seat, I was complaining to Stuart about the lack of a souvenir cup. One of the Bobcat faithful thankfully corrected me and I trudged back up to get the second tier souvenir cup. The highlight of the stadium was the unique trough design in the men’s room. My description will probably not do it justice, but taking a picture of a trough at a stadium will often get you thrown out and that’s the best result you can hope for. Essentially, it was a concrete gutter against the wall but with the added security of dividers. It was a masterful design assuming you aren’t wearing suede shoes.
The fans were in pretty good attendance at the game although the upper deck was sparsely populated. The folks sitting directly around us were very friendly. I would say the students were fairly well represented, up until half time when they left like rats on a sinking ship. The mascot, Boko the Bobcat was out doing his thing. The Texas State battle cry is a pretty good one: “Eat ‘em up, Eat ‘em Up, Go Cats Go”. I think there was a hand gesture that supposed their hand sign although the main proponent of said sign admitted to having somewhere between 6 and 20 beers while hanging with her buddies from the Ragin’ Cajuns. This made Stuart and I question the authenticity of the sign. It turns out there is a Texas State hand sign. You make the state of Texas by holding up your thumb, index and middle fingers up. The other two curl down into your palm supposedly showing where the university resides in the state. In your right hand, you make a bobcat claw. It seems too complicated to catch on because we didn’t see it anywhere else. The band was okay but was overshadowed by the oldest precision dance team in existence. It is also currently the largest one in the nation, the Texas State Strutters. The Strutters have performed all over the world and at various televised events. I guess they were pretty good if you are into that kind of thing. Unfortunately, I was knee deep into that funnel cake and was unable to snap a photo of them in action.
The home of Texas State, San Marcos, is located in between San Antonio and Austin and is an equally easy three hour drive from Houston. When traveling on the highways to San Marcos, you will likely come across a Buc-ee’s – massive gas station true to the saying that everything is bigger in Texas. It is worth a stop, if only to see all the Texas decorations you won’t be buying. Tubing on the San Marcos River is a favorite pastime in these parts. Other than that, I’d venture a guess that’s there not much else to do. But, the tubing does seem to get rave reviews. Driving to the stadium was fairly simple although the signage was limited. In fact, with the stadium cash lot full, we really just lucked into finding the other lot.
Texas State started out well enough, driving down the field and kicking a field goal. The Bobcat defense then made a nice interception to end the Ragin’ Cajuns first drive. Texas State couldn’t capitalize and punted over to Lafayette who put together a nice long drive to tie the game at 3 -3. It looked like we were in for a competitive game. We were not. An inability to stop the Ragin’ Cajuns run game coupled with too many turnovers doomed the Bobcats. The biggest issue was the inability of the defense to answer the sudden change, with Lafayette scoring touchdowns after each turnover. The shortened field was deadly to the Bobcat defense. They managed to limit Lafayette to field goals on all other scoring drives. The Ragin’ Cajuns also just seemed to be a bit bigger. In any case, the game slowly but surely worked its way into being a blowout. So much for winning on homecoming.
Texas State started out as a teachers college and was known as Southwest Texas State University. It counts President Lyndon B. Johnson as an alum. During the game, they ran a promotion called Gumby’s Pizza Big Play. For every play over 20 yards by the Bobcat offense, a letter would be given out with the goal of spelling Gumby. If the Gumby goal was met, every ticket holder would get two free pepperoni rolls at Gumby’s on Monday. Alas, we only got to Gum. The other item to note was that we got to see another moron heckling the opposing team (see Iowa). There was a twenty-something Texas State fan who would come down to the end the stands and yell at the second stringers from Lafayette. It was a classless move and the guy’s act got cruder and lewder despite young kids being around. This mook ignored the on-field ushers and eventually a police man had to escort him out. I would not characterize him as representative of the fan base. Nor would I include our drunken Bobcat fan that fell asleep on the bleacher in front us. Her biggest mistake was trying to hang with the Cajun fans. You need a very high tolerance to match drinks with the folks from Louisiana.
I am not sure I would put Texas State on my visit list of stadiums, particularly with the current state of the football team’s competitiveness. However, if my school was playing them, I would definitely make plans to attend the game. I would recommend making a weekend of it. Tubing in the morning and tailgating in the afternoon. You could make it one big Saturday party, and that’s certainly not a bad thing.