Start Time: 8:30 PM Central
Location: Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos, Texas
Records: TXST 2-7 (1-4), ULM 1-9, (0-6)
Live Stats: Here
Line: TXST -6.5, O/U 63.
Presenting the game that ESPN will badly regret scheduling for ESPNU on Thursday night national television!
Texas State Bobcats Outlook
This has been one hell of an unpleasant, albeit thankfully short week. First there was the prerequisite (and entirely deserved) fan meltdown for losing to New Mexico State and Georgia State in a row, not to mention getting blown out in a completely listless effort at home by the latter in order to secure a losing season. It was such an awful performance that there was reportedly a representative for athletic director Larry Teis (but of course, not the man himself) in the press room in case Dennis Franchione decided to quit on the spot.
Next, Jerry Fields put his finger in the eye of the collective fan rebellion that had started to foment by giving him a strong vote of confidence that will more than likely guarantee Franchione's return next season barring some unseen political machinations behind the scenes. Oh, and Teis still hasn't made a single comment on Fields's e-mail. The term "fiddling while
San Marcos Rome burns" would appear to be appropriate here.
Finally, Texas State twitter (and some national media folks) fell hook, line, and sinker for a rumor tweeted out by a Baylor law student posing as a Bobcat insider that Dennis Franchione came to an agreement with the Texas State Board of Regents to resign. It was simultaneously sad because of how quickly multiple journalists took the fake tweet seriously and somewhat hilarious because of just how damn badly the fanbase wanted to believe it. Then Texas State had two running backs decommit within an hour of each other. Fun times, y'all.
As for talking about the football-like substance that'll darken Jim Wacker Field this evening, we know QB Tyler Jones and RB Robert Lowe will get steady if unspectacular rushing numbers. But if receivers CJ Best, Brandon Smith, and Jafus Gaines are going to get open against an FBS team, it'll be against this Warhawk defense.
That's not necessarily because they give up gaudy numbers--ULM has "only" given up averages of 219 yards passing and 441 yards total per game, but because the Warhawks have gotten absolutely torched the past two games by resurgent Troy and conference title favorite Arkansas State. Their secondary is even more inept at creating havoc than Texas State, suggesting an incredibly soft cushion for the receivers and Tyler Jones to work with.
ULM Warhawks Outlook
Somehow, ULM's situation might be even more awkward than Texas State's. Head coach Todd Berry was fired almost instantly after Arkansas State blew the Warhawks out (this is the part where many Texas State fans shake their heads with jealousy), leaving interim head coach John Mumford a short week to gameplan.
Meanwhile, Berry left a not so veiled shot at ULM President Nick Bruno in his final statement, which would certainly play towards the longstanding narrative among some Warhawk faithful that the president doesn't care about building a good football program. Almost on cue, athletic director Brian Wickstrom was named a finalist for the Tulane AD position, meaning there's a decent chance he'll leave his successor to clean up the mess he had a role in. At this point, both of these fanbases will need therapy by season's end.
If ULM learned anything from watching the film of last week's Georgia State game, it's that they'll need to air it out repeatedly and hope standout receivers Rashon Ceaser, Ajalen Holley (if healthy), and Marcus Green can make big plays. Unfortunately for them, freshman QB and starter Garrett Smith will likely be out with an injury, and these are their two backup options.
That said, if anyone can make a completely unproven backup quarterback look great, it's Texas State. Just ask Nick Jeanty!
Meanwhile, here's a look at ULM's running game.
Official Texas State Athletic Department/Jerry Fields Approved Spin of the Week
If Texas State wins:
Athletic Department: "As we already knew, all you armchair quarterbacks have absolutely no idea how football works. The Bobcats beat the mighty #Funroe offense! The Warhawks beat Arkansas!"
Fans: "We're happy the seniors won on Senior Day, but you do know that Arkansas win was three years ago rig--"
AD: "LOOK, SQUIRREL!"
If Texas State loses:
AD: "INJURIES. Stop being so negative. Brayle Brown's gonna be one hell of a CFL quarterback. United We Fran."
Fans: "Jones, Lowe, Ryan Melton, Adrian Bellard, the tight ends and the top 3 returning receivers are all still upright. Punter Lumi Kaba is still the best player on this team. We threw twenty three yard screens on 3rd and long."
AD: "Yes well ULM played very inspired after having a needed coaching change."
Fans: "DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THE TREMENDOUS IRONY OF THAT STATEME--"
Theme song Dirge of the week
As previously mentioned by our resident college football disaster tourist CBG, this game is going to be a lifeless affair between two virulently sick programs on the verge of being the worst team in FBS. Which, in a way, is almost a program death sentence in itself (at least for recruiting and your bowl hopes for the next 3-5 years or so).
So without further ado, take it away Satchmo.
This one's all mental. If ULM plays inspired after getting rid of the toxic air around the end of Todd Berry's tenure, they'll dive bomb Texas State for a 10+ point win. If they continue to be completely inept on all sides of the ball and Texas State musters enough pride to play with some dignity on Senior Day, the 'Cats might have another repeat of their South Alabama performance.
I'm inclined to rely on the former. There's nothing more invigorating than a fresh start after your unpopular boss gets canned.
ULM 28, Texas State 17