Location: Hancock Whitney Stadium, Mobile, AL
Kickoff: Saturday, October 17th 11:00 am CST
Radio: San Marcos: AM 1300, 930 AM, 89.9 FM. Mobile: WRKH 96.1 FM
Series Record: TXST leads the series, 3-2
Last Meeting: Bobcats won last season’s meeting 30-28.
Betting Line: USA -3, O/U: 59 1⁄2
It’s been a tough 2020 in some aspects for both squads.
South Alabama hasn’t played since September 24th against UAB. The rust and restlessness have the players and fans hungry. The Jaguars’ October 3rd game against Troy was postponed because of COVID-19. Texas State had been running on the fumes of moral victories, reaping the praise from the college football community for taking now undefeated SMU & Boston College to the brink of defeat. Last week’s loss to Troy seemed to deflate the fanbase. It took them from devoted to destitute in a matter of one game...but I exaggerate. Both the Jaguar and Bobcat fans are excited for game day; a victory would erase doubt and raise optimism.
Jaguars Spot Progress
The unexpected delays due to COVID-19 had some upside for South Alabama. Extra time off has helped heal injuries across the board. Most of the offensive line has been injured off and on through the first three games, but now the Jags should have some depth in the trenches.
Quarterback Desmond Trotter had also been out with injury in their loss to UAB and has been practicing all week, but will have to compete with last game’s starter Chance Lovertich.
After the first two games produced an impressive win over Southern Miss and a close loss to Tulane, the Jaguars fell flat against UAB. USA only allowed 2.6 yards per rush against Southern Mississippi and 191 yards passing on a 47% completion rate. Against the Golden Eagles, the Jags totaled 509 yards of offense and six touchdowns.
For the Jaguars to win, they have to exploit the Texas State defense which has given up over 466 yards a game. The Texas State secondary has given up over a 70% completion rate. The Jags must get the pass game going to get past the Bobcats.
“That was something of a very uncharacteristic game of ourselves,” head coach Jake Spavital said of his team’s loss to Troy, “You look at the first four games and we’re flying around and we’re playing physical.”
Spavital went on to explain how the elements played a grand part in the loss as downpours continued throughout the afternoon.
“We put our head down and went back to work,” continued Spav, “that’s the only thing we can do in these moments. I think these kids are kinda anxious to get out there Saturday and kind of redeem ourselves.”
Last week, the game plan originally was to play Brady McBride and Tyler Vitt equally but bad weather forced Spavital to play the McBride hand. No starter has been named for Saturday, pending any positive COVID-19 tests.
Regardless, the ‘Cats need to get their passing game back on track. Against Troy, the Bobcats only mustered 93 yards passing, mainly due to the rain.
Texas State has been in slugfests all year and will have to be firing on all cylinders to keep up. The defense also must make some key stops and force some turnovers. South Alabama may have some rust but have a chance to break even and start Sun Belt play at 1-0. Texas State has the firepower and with a sunny 77 degree forecast, there will be no acts of nature to disrupt the Bobcat flow. Gimme the Texas State win, 34-31.