Kickoff: September 2nd, 6:00 pm CST
Location: Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos, TX
T.V.: ESPN 3
Radio: AM1300/AM930/89.9 FM
Series Record: 0-0
Betting Line: N/A
Last Meeting: First Meeting
Despite the recent devastation and destruction of Hurricane Harvey football is back, and although school was closed for Houston Baptist the Huskies of the Southland Conference are able to face off with the Bobcats.
So with the return of football time it will serve as a therapeutic device to get rid of the horrid taste of 2016 and what better way to do that than a opening day win and some confidence going into the optimism of 2017.
Training camp has been overly analyzed, quarterback controversies rose and fell and the youth of Texas State will start to grow but what will it translate to on Saturday?
Cats and (former) Dogs
So in spring practice Texas State fans were introduced to Mississippi State grad transfer Damian Williams. The quarterback was set to replace record-setting four-year starter Tyler Jones and the myriad of backup quarterbacks who jumped off the program’s ship. Williams impressed during the spring providing a breath of fresh air with his great drop passes and fullback-style of running combining power and elusiveness.
Then fall practice started and it was announced that he wouldn’t be practicing due to a outstanding GRE results yet to be graded. That meant until he passed he couldn’t take the field.
So it was time to lean on the four incoming freshman quarterbacks consisting of Willie Jones III, Jalen Gipson, Jalin Nelson and Kishawn Kelley. All have attributes to start but in the end head coach Everett Withers has pegged Jones III and Gipson to possibly start but likely to share time with Williams (who did pass by the way).
Who takes the majority of the snaps will depend on the direction of how Coach Withers wants the team to head. Personally I think Jones III and Gipson share half the time with Williams playing essential two quarters.
It’s a Doggy Dog World
Houston Baptist’s offense has a similar dilemma as Texas State concerning their quarterbacks. The Huskies boast four freshman and two sophomores to put under center and haven’t named a starter. In terms of the two teams it will be more of a test for HBU’s quarterbacks facing an FBS team.
The HBU Huskies offense also have a pair of veteran running backs that haven’t destroyed the record books but they have been consistent. B.J. Kelly is the senior leading the duo in rushing yards and Terrance Parker has proven to be a breakout threat holding three of the four longest runs in Husky history.
Texas State will face a stubborn Baptist defense led by All-American linebacker Garrett Dolan who is on the Buck Buchanan award watch list (FCS top defensive player), cornerback Derek Broussard and defensive end Andre Walker, all of who were All-conference selections.
The Practical Guide to Having Chemistry
During the offseason the Bobcats prided themselves in spending time together and meshing as a unit so much to a point that Coach Withers has the players living in the same apartment complex. It was a subject of interest as it seemed to have been lacking pre-Withers. But it’s a new regime and new season and all the coaches have their players essentially clicking with each other.
The biggest of these melds will be in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Aaron Brewer and Tryston Mizerak will be the leaders of this big and young line who need a very good game to give them confidence going foward. And the defensive line will be anchored by Awad, Davis, Anyama and Mitte or as I hope they become ADAM and heave. These two squads will be the measuring stick and/or the gauge of how the Bobcats as a team will succeed or fail.
For Texas State this is a very important game. Actually this is a MUST win game, even though it’s only week one. Despite this being the “cupcake” game the odds makers and analysts have Texas State winning between one and three games. ESPN’s FPI has this TxSt/HBU game as the Bobcats’ only game where they have a high chance of winning.
Although State is young they are bigger and have more weapons than last year and we should see a Texas State victory on Saturday night. My prediction: 49-19, Texas State.