Kickoff: November 12th, 3:00 pm CST
Location: Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos, TX
Stream: ESPN 3
Radio: AM1300/AM930/89.9 FM
Series Record: 4-1 Texas State
Betting Line: Idaho -8, O/U 61 1/2
Last Meeting: 38-31 Idaho (2015)
After a humble beat-down in North Carolina at the hands of Appalachian State the Texas State Bobcats host the Idaho Vandals at Bobcat Stadium in a crucial game for both teams with the Bobcats playing for their first Sun Belt win and Idaho (gasp!) looking to continue their winning season.
A stagnant offense and undersized defense has plagued Texas State. Since their win over Incarnate Word the Bobcats have been turning their lemons into lemonade by using these games as a learning experience for their young squad. First year coach Everett Withers has been rebuilding the Bobcats from the ground up while utilizing the veteran talent as leadership in a program on the rise despite not having much time to recruit since his hiring back on January 6th of this year.
Meanwhile the FCS-bound Vandals of Idaho are headed in a winning direction (see above gasp) while patiently awaiting their jettison from the Sun Belt conference to the much greener and cheaper pastures of the Big Sky Conference.
You’re living in your own private Idaho
Idaho has been very consistent and productive this year with junior quarterback Matt Linehan throwing for 2110 yards and 9 touchdowns including a 476 yard 4 touchdown performance in a win against New Mexico State. Running back Aaron Duckworth has been a workhorse out of the backfield. Their defense is ranked #90 in the country while allowing 272.8 passing yards per game which may be exploited in Texas State’s favor.
Cat scratch fever
Although the staff in San Marcos is looking for the optimistic side, the overhaul of the program has been stalling like an old Buick. With only one win over a FBS opponent, the hurry up offense has lost its steam early over the last four games. And whether it’s been because of game-plan abandonment or defensive adjustments it’s plagued their scoring drives. Senior quarterback Tyler Jones continues to be their source for production in the air and the ground game as he has piloted both facets. Outside of sophomore Stedman Mayberry and Jones, the ground game, which has been mostly one dimensional, needs to get rolling to set a pace in the game if the Bobcats get a fast start. Hopefully the communication between the receivers and Tyler Jones develops into the hurry up juggernaut that the Bobcats are capable of.
This spud’s for you
Historically Texas State has had Idaho’s number. They first met in 1996 when I-AA Southwest Texas State (home of Spergon Wynn and President Lyndon B. Johnson) upset recently upgraded I-A Idaho (home of John “Sub-Zero” Friesz and the guy who voices Spongebob Squarepants) in a 27-21 win at the since-upgraded Bobcat Stadium. Since Texas State’s jump to FCS they beat up the Vandals in 2012, ‘13 and ‘14 but last year during Texas State’s disappointing 2015 season Idaho handed the ‘Cats a 38-31 season-ending loss.
Well, last week was relentless to say the least with App State’s offense bullying the Bobcat defense. But hey it’s a rebuilding season and there’s plenty of football to right the ship and end the season on a winning streak. If you’re a fan of Bobcat football you kinda have to. I look for the ‘Cats to play with the proverbial ball of yarn that is the Vandal’s porous defense and finally get a complete game out both sides of the ball (special teams is fine, punter Lumi Kaba is good). Tyler Jones throws for 4 touchdowns, Mayberry runs for over a hundred, Idaho only scores like 34. Prediction 41-34 Texas State.