4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TEXAS STATE DEFENSE
– Most of the problems were on offense. The defense did a nice job in pass coverage, and it was fifth overall in the Sun Belt, but there wasn’t any pass rush and there wasn’t a lick of help at times from the other side of the ball. Ten of the top 12 tacklers return, starting with the killer linebacking duo of Bryan London and Nikolas Daniels. The two 235 pounders combined for 217 stops and can both get into the backfield.
– There’s good bulk up front, but it’s young. The 290ish tackle combination of Nico Ezidore and Caeveon Patton have to do even more on the inside, but the pass rushers have to emerge on the outside with Ishmael Davis done. The ends are smallish, but the linebackers will do most of the heavy lifting.
– All four starters return to a secondary that came up with just six interceptions and failed to get one in six of the last seven games. 6-0, 200-pound S Josh Newman is one of the team’s leading returning tacklers, and 5-9, 158-pound baller CB Jarron Morris has the upside to grow into an all-star.