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Battle for the Basement: A Light-Hearted Preview of Texas State vs. New Mexico State

Saturday’s game will feature two struggling teams trying their best to avoid being one of the worst in the nation.

NCAA Football: Texas State at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest games of the year will take place on Saturday...if you’re ESPN’s Ryan McGee of ESPN, author of the “Bottom 10” article. Both teams have been on the list at some point this season and they come into this game ranked as the third and 19th worst teams in the country, according to McGee.

While both teams are improving, this game will surely feature some plays that will make you shake your head and let out a pity laugh as you feel for these guys who are just trying their best. Here at UDD, Vidal Espinoza and I have been getting restless with our team’s performances this year and decided to have some fun at each other’s teams expense.

So lets preview this game!

Date: Saturday, October 27th

Game Time: 6:00 CT, 5:00 MT

Location: Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos, Texas


Betting Line: Texas State is somehow a three point favorite

Series History: New Mexico State leads the series 3-2 and has a three game winning streak in the series, including a 45-35 win last season.

How did each team do last week?

Well, they both lost. But a little differently. NM State lost 48-31 to Georgia Southern in a game where they started fast and then petered out during the end while Texas State lost 20-14 to ULM.

At 1-6, Texas State is clearly one of the worst teams in the nation. What, if anything, about the team gives you hope for the rest of the season and prevents you from drinking away all your sorrows?

VE: Well the drinking never stops in San Marcos regardless of the scoreboard though compared to the ‘16 and ‘17 seasons the losses are not as crushing this year (now I sound like Larry Teis).

The Bobcats have been in every game except for the Rutgers matchup and three of those losses ended on the last plays of the game. Stalls and stale play calling have really hurt the Bobcat offense and a couple of first downs, made field goals and cutting the quarterback draw out of the playbook and we may not be having this pseudo-parodical Q&A.

Pending a miracle of Frank Reich-comeback proportions, do you think New Mexico State is suffering a post-bowl hangover or is it business as usual in Las Cruses?

AA: As scared as I am to say it’s business as usual, I think this is just a bowl game hangover. NM State basically lost four captains last year (Rogers, Rose, Scott, and Harrington) and have failed to have guys step up. That’s one of the main issues on defense, which was suppose to be the strength of the team. They’re a shell of what they were last year and injuries have just made things worse.

While a bowl is still technically possible, it won’t happen for that reason. Let’s hope next year is different.

How would you rate the offense on a scale of hopeless to semi-competent? What players don’t make you want to pull your hair out?

VE: I think the talent is there on offense but the O-Line has needed work for years. I would say semi-competent is my ranking for the Bobcat offense but could be fully competent if the play-calling situation can become stable and the focus of their attack is on the strengths of what the offense can do with the abilities they possess.

Keenan Brown. The man is a beast and without him I’d look like Homer Simpson.

Much like Texas State’s quarterback mid-season switch, do you endorse the switch from Matt Romero to Josh Adkins or is it time to see if Tyler Rogers has any eligibility left?

AA: I think I might double check to see if both Rogers and current QB coach Chase Holbrook have eligibility left! I kid. To be honest, I fully endorse the switch to Adkins for congress quarterback. He’s done a great job! He threw for over 500 yards and five TDs with no interceptions in his first two starts. Plus he’s only a redshirt freshman. Oh and he’s from your neck of the woods, Vidal!

Romero may have been a big failure on the part of the Aggies recruiting team. Either he wasn’t as good as they thought and got put in too quickly, or he couldn’t adapt to what they wanted him to do. Either way, I’m glad the future for the Aggies at QB is bright.

Has the defense been able to stop anybody or do defensive stops only happen because the other team that makes mistakes?

VE: Throughout the years I’ve always lovingly referred to the Texas State defense as the “swiss-cheese defense”. They’ve had moments of brilliance but each year the D is usually, eh. But so far in 2018 I’ve been beyond impressed. Texas State leads the Sun Belt in fumble recoveries and the linebackers and secondary have been looking hungry on the run defense. JaShon Waddy and Kordell Rodgers have had some amazing interceptions this year for a secondary that didn’t have one all last year. It also helps that Texas State has a heat-seeking missile at linebacker named Bryan London II.

The Aggies’ run defense has been getting gashed like an emo kid in a razorblade factory. That being said what adjustments if any must the Aggies do to stop the opposing running backs from turning into Heisman watchlist candidates?

AA: There really is no better analogy for the Aggie D than the one you just made. They have been terrible. Which nobody really saw coming. One thing they can do is tackle! They’ve missed on a lot of opportunities that turned into big plays. I can’t remember the exact stat, but NM State’s D is giving up an embarrassing number of plays of 20 yards or more. That can’t happen with this team.

Another thing they can do is gain a little bit of leadership. Dalton Herrington was the MLB last year and a team captain. Since he graduated, nobody has stepped up and the people we thought would (players like Javahn Fergurson) have been injured. Martin and Spazi need to find someone to get everyone where they need to be. Otherwise the Heisman committee and College Gameday might be heading to San Marcos next week.

What’s the deal with Everett Withers? How is his sanity and will he be back next year?

VE: As a coach he seems to rally the players together and really brings out their confidence and the coaching staff has really done a good job in handling off the field issues without garnering a whole lot of negative attention. With his snide comments about former players a couple of years ago, the ability to redirect questions at pressers and his recent rift with Bobcat beat writers it’s kind of hard to get a feel for Coach Withers. Now if we were winning games on the reg these issues wouldn’t be there. But a fanbase frustrated with the program, any bit of negative press gets magnified by the faithful. Personally Withers doesn’t need to placate to fans because it’s not his job but he hasn’t really set himself up as a personality so it’s hard to distinguish his approval or disapproval with the team, at least in the eyes of the public.

I’m not Carl Jung or Harley Quinn so I’m hardly qualified to grade his sanity but I will say he’s headed to finish out his contract to year five but in my professional opinion if he starts his year four like year three has started, he should be out.

Even though in 2017 head coach Doug Martin led the Aggies to their first bowl game since Ike Eisenhower was in office his record sits at a paltry 19-50. Is Martin still the answer or do you guys hire Everett Withers?

AA: I like Ike, so that factoid doesn’t bother me at all. And actually, those 19 wins have Martin as the 7th winningest coach in program history, so that’s actually a big deal. And his .275 winning percentage still has him in the top ten. Ok, it’s still number 10 but I don’t think even the genius-ness of Everett Withers could pull that off.

I have so much respect for Martin because he takes the jobs that nobody wants head on and does amazing things with them. He did it at Kent State (he’s the programs all time winningest head coach with 29 wins) and gave us Julian Edelman. Any man like that deserves so much more than what his record will show.

But I think Martin will always have the memories of the bowl clinching win against USA and the crowd and win at the Arizona Bowl to hold onto and know he is liked as head coach here. San Marcos can keep Mr. Withers; I like Doug.