Lone Star Shootout: Arkansas State Challenges Texas State to a Duel.
Nobody is confusing Texas State with a good football team. But the Bobcats have a chance (and maybe even the ability) to destroy the Red Wolves’ hopes and dreams this Saturday.
In 2014, when Texas State last defeated Arkansas State, it felt like the beginning of both a new rivalry and possibly even a shift in the Sun Belt paradigm. Though newbies to FBS football (circa 2011), the Bobcats are located in a football rich state and are supported by a small but fervent following. It appeared that the only trajectory in San Marcos was up.
The illusion didn’t last. Though boasting a 7-5 record, the bowl gods ingloriously snubbed the Bobcats, and Texas State wound up 3-9 the following season – punctuated by a 55-17 evisceration to Arkansas State. The Bobcats have remained in the Sun Belt basement ever since, constantly seeking offensive identity while occasionally flashing brilliance on defense.
On Saturday, the Bobcats aren’t playing for anything but for their seniors and their dignity. Sometimes, that’s enough to win.
When Last These Titans Met
It wasn’t the beatdown the Bobcats have grown accustomed to when facing the Red Wolves. Texas State drew first blood with a first quarter score – and in keeping with as great Sun Belt tradition, missed the XP. Then the Bobcats offense did what usually does: waste a solid defensive effort. The Red Wolves held the Bobcats to just 188 total yards, Warren Wand ran over 138 yards and a score, and Arkansas State took the Sun Belt lead in the standings with a rather flash-less 30-12 victory.
Texas State is, as usual, bad at the O but okay at the D
The Bobcats rank 120th in total offense, which may have something to do with the team’s misfortune at quarterback. Only run heavy Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina have passed for fewer yards in the Sun Belt than Texas State. Willie Jones III, the speedy sophomore quarterback who has led all three of the Bobcats’ wins, is likely out for the season, leaving freshman Tyler Vitt behind center. Vitt has completed better than 60% of his passes, but he’s also accounted for 10 picks.
But at least the run game is terrible! Only the South Bama Jags have fewer yards on the ground, and the injured Jones 3 is the Bobcats’ leading runner.
If you’re looking for a Bobcats bright spot, check out the pass defense, which ranks 29th nationally and surrenders a manageable 190 yards per. Bad news for the Bobcats, tho: productive sophomore cornerback Kordell Rodgers didn’t suit up for Troy last week.
I guess we need to talk about Everett Withers
Yeah, so, uh, Everett Withers isn’t the Bobcats’ head coach anymore, unceremoniously canned/resigned after a not-bad loss to Troy. However, Withers managed all of seven wins in nearly three seasons in San Marcos. That’s horrible even by Bobcats standards.
Withers’ dismissal was not handled with grace. Unpopular Texas State athletic director Larry Teis is in the crosshairs, too. And it’s getting as ugly as a Texas coyote.
Yikes! If you hang out on Twitter, the #FireTeis hashtag is a familiar sight. And apparently it’s a common sight on campus.
More like San CHAOS, am I right? I am right.
Red Wolves really need to win this game
Only a Red Wolves’ victory – and a Ragin Cajuns loss – gives Arkansas State a shot at winning the Sun Belt West. It’s difficult to believe that Blake Anderson & Friends won’t be focused on the Bobcats’ complete and utter destruction on Saturday.
Fortunately, both the defense and the offense are peaking at the right moment. Justice Hansen, cooler than a can of Yoo-Hoo, has completed an insane 77% of his passes his last three games. Sack master Ronheen Bingham has seized the Sun Belt sacks lead after recording his 9th QB dump against ULM last week. And let’s be real hear: punter Cody Grace is a unit this season.
All signs point to an all out stats-padding on Saturday.
How the Bobcats win this game
If this Larry Teis situation is as volatile as it appears, the Bobcats could use it as motivation. Otherwise…eh.
How the Red Wolves win this game
Unless Coach Anderson feels a tinge of mercy, all he has to do is unleash the dogs and watch the hunt. Anderson’s most important function may be curtailing emotions and keeping penalties to a minimum.
What’s Gonna Happen, Cap’n?
Texas State always seems to be witness to Red Wolves championships. With a little help from ULM, Saturday could be another day the Bobcats get to watch Arkansas State celebrate at their expense.
Texas State welcomes Arkansas State to Bobcat Stadium on Saturday, 3:00 PM. The game can be viewed using ESPN3 sorcery.
A former notary public, Jeremy Harper is a professional writer and Chief Instigator for Storm the Castle Creative. He spends much of his free time staring blankly into space.