LOCATION: Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos, TX
Radio: 105.3 FM (Austin)/89.9 FM (San Marcos)/930 AM (San Antonio)
When: 6:00 PM CT
Weather: 94°F, 50% chance of rain
Know Your Enemy
After winning the SWAC in 2012, UAPB completely cratered in 2013 en route to a 2-9 record. Things were so bad that their only wins were against a Mississippi Valley State team with the same record and Grambling State, who straight up refused to play a football game at one point.
Despite last year's woes and being picked to finish 6th in one of the worst conferences in FCS, Coach Monte Coleman and his players apparently decided that giving Texas State a truckload of locker room material was a good idea. So much for the element of surprise.
The Golden Lions gave up almost 280 yards on the ground per game, which is enough to make Texas State's solid running back corps salivate. On the other side of the ball, UAPB was able to average around 28 points and 255 passing yards per game, but against non-SWAC opponents Arkansas State and McNeese State they were held to 11 and 14 points, respectively.
Players to Watch
- Antonio Jenkins, So. LB - The man of the "(Texas State) won't be able to score more than 14 points on us" prediction is a young leader of the front seven who was second on the team in tackles last season with 94 and also had 6 tackles for loss and 1 interception to his name. He'll need a herculean effort to back up his big talk on Saturday.
- Benjamin Anderson, Jr. QB - The offense completely revolves around Anderson, as he was their main rushing threat (824 yards, 9 TD's, 75 yards per game) as well as a significant passing threat (2787 yards, 19 touchdowns, 11 interceptions). However, he has had issues with accuracy and was shut down against non-SWAC opponents. If he can get some help from his backs and receivers, he could test Texas State's young secondary.
- Troy Goss, Sr. DL - If anyone on the front four of UAPB is to provide a test to Texas State's improving offensive line, it'll be the 6'3" 285 lb. lineman out of Springdale, Arkansas. He was second on the team in sacks (2.5) and tackles for loss (7.5) and is the only returning lineman who made any sort of impact from last season.
- Tyler Jones, So. QB - Everyone will be eager to see what Texas State's up-tempo offense looks like with Jones now having a healthy throwing hand and an offensive line with four returning starters. Will Coach Fran open up the playbook and give Jones more looks downfield, or will he play it safe against an FCS opponent? Given that UAPB's corners are young and vulnerable, it may be time to air it out.
- Robert Lowe, Jr. RB - If UAPB's run defense hasn't vastly improved over the offseason--and given that three of their main contributors in the front seven have graduated it's not crazy to assume they haven't improved much--Lowe should have a field day. The only way he'll be slowed down is if the passing game stalls once again and UAPB sends the house at Lowe on every play.
- Mike Orakpo, Sr. LB - If you're UAPB's offensive line, the last thing you want is to give 'Rak an excuse to go on a rampage. Insulting Texas State--and by extension, Orakpo--is like waking a sleeping bear with a vuvuzela. Look for the Colorado State transfer to produce big numbers and bigger hits.
Stats to Know
- Series Record: First Meeting
- Texas State's Record Against SWAC Opponents: 19-2
- 2013 UAPB Avg. Rushing Yards Allowed: 278.6
- 2013 UAPB Avg. Offensive Yards against non-SWAC opponents: 207
- Reams of paper used to cover Texas State's locker room with UAPB quotes: 207
Benjamin Anderson is talented enough to take advantage of a busted coverage or two in the Texas State secondary and produce points. However, Orakpo and Mayo are fast enough to blow by UAPB's linemen and shut down the run, and the Golden Lions will have a difficult time winning with a one-dimensional offense.
Texas State's offense should eventually be able to go over the top against UAPB's shaky cornerbacks, which will then open up the running game to eventually break the Golden Lions' will. Look for Smith and Ijah to get open early and often, and for Lowe and Franks to combine for 200+ yards.
Thunderstorms could be a major factor in the game, but if anything that should favor Texas State since rain would likely hamper UAPB's passing attack and allow Orakpo and Mayo to key on the run. Bobcats roll, rain or shine.
Texas State 45, UAPB 14