Start Time: Saturday November 24th, at 3 pm
Location: Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos, TX
Spread: -13.5 ARST, 52 1⁄2 O/U
TV: ESPN+, KNVA
Radio: AM 1300/89.9 FM/930AM
Previous Meeting: Arkansas State won in 2017, 30-12.
Series History: ARST leads series 4-1
It’s that time of the year again folks. Conference titles are on the line, rivalry games are drawing near and bowl season will soon be upon us.
For Arkansas State, two of those three are possibilities. Sitting at 7-4 (4-3, Sun Belt) the Red Wolves are tied in the Sun Belt West division with both Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana-Lafayette for that spot in the Sun Belt Championship Game. They have a bowl game in the bag but head coach Blake Anderson has them reaching for a title.
Texas State meanwhile sits at a very precarious spot. Last Sunday head coach Everett Withers was let go after a little less than 3 seasons, a move which was viewed by many as premature and ill-timed. Now defensive coordinator Chris Woods has been called on to be the intern head coach to lead a group of young men bewildered from the dismissal of Withers and prideful in finishing the season on a high note. The 3-8 ‘Cats won’t be headed to the postseason but with momentum for 2019 on the line you bet your ass it’ll feel like a playoff game.
Arkansas State Outlook
Quarterback Justice Hansen has been effective and efficient all season carrying a 25 to 6 touchdown to interception ratio. The 2017 Sun Belt offensive player of the year hasn’t been picked off since late October and has thrown 10 touchdowns during the current three-game winning streak and has only thrown one pick in the seven victories picked up by Arkansas State.
The Red Wolves have been pounding out over 460 yards a game and its moderators are the skill players. Four players have over 500 yards of offense and by Saturday’s end there could be six. Freshman Marcel Murray has been a valuable running back with a 6.0 yards per carry average and in the last five games has a 7.3 yards per carry average and 5 touchdowns, so expect them to test the tough Bobcat run defense.
Speaking of defense; Red Wolves, your defense is exceptional. Senior defensive end Ronheen Bingham has had a breakout season recording 18.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks while anchoring a defense that has racked up 27 sacks tying them for 30th with the likes of Notre Dame and Memphis.
Texas State Outlook
All season I’ve been spitting the same praise or traits about familiar faces. Tyler Vitt if given enough time can really zip it, Bryan London II is relentless, Keenan Brown will run you over, etc, etc. But for my last preview of 2018 I want to focus on some guys I really never highlight.
Aaron Brewer has been a constant on an ever shifting offensive line. The junior has been holding his own as the most talented lineman blockading and absorbing as much work as he can in the trenches for a group that has struggled but improved in the last few years. There is young talent on the line but the leadership of Brewer has these young men in the right direction.
We talk about the line backing corp a lot but its reliability consists of more than Bryan London II. Frankie Griffin has been just as ball hawking as BLII rhas a team-leading 8.0 TFLs. On the other side of those two you have Nikolas Daniels. If you have seen him play this year you’ll notice he is the most aggressive of the LBs. Daniels has had a breakout year and currently is second on team in tackles with some of those takedowns being some spears. As a unit the linebackers have 23 TFLs and 9 forced fumbles,
Arkansas State has a lot riding on this game and they have to go through a Texas State team on a Senior Night where the Bobcats can give their embattled fans and their united team some confidence for whatever the future holds.
Arkansas State is a good team and they have a shot at reaching that Sun Belt title game but the Bobcats are at home with an ever improving defense. TXST wins 18-15.