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Texas State vs. Arkansas State: Preview & Prediction

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A key Sun Belt matchup between two teams right in the thick of a championship.

Location: Centennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, AR

Kickoff: Saturday, October 26th 6p.m. CST

TV/Radio: ESPN+/San Marcos: AM 1300, 930 AM, 89.9 FM. Jonesboro: The Big KFIN 107.9 FM, 970 AM The Ticket

Series Record: Red Wolves lead series 5-1.

Last Meeting: ARST won in 2018, 33-7.

Betting Line: ARST, -13.5, o/u 52


It’s late October and the race for a Sun Belt title is heating up. Heating up like the appetite of children young and old for candy in this Halloween season, some conjure rituals and some girls dust off their boots for the winter to go with their tights or jeans. All the while us college football fans prepare for conference supremacy and rivalry games that allow the victors to eat the sweets of the win column and the losers left out in horrors of a barren wasteland.

Texas State has had two bye weeks in the last three weeks. A little beat up, the ‘Cats have taken advantage of the off-time to get their squad healed up and ready for an uphill battle in the last half of the season.

Arkansas State has dropped their last two games and aim to use Texas State as their lightning rod on Homecoming night.

The Sun Belt has been very competitive and surprise wins have kept the race for the trophy fresh.

AState Of Mind

Sitting at 3-4 (1-2 in conference play) the Red Wolves’ two early season losses were to ranked opponents in Georgia and SMU. The last two losses have come in a row to Sun Belt foes in Georgia State and Louisiana.

Under center is Alabama transfer Layne Hatcher who in relief of starter Logan Bonner (out for the season with a thumb injury) has gone 1-2 so far. Hatcher’s style is so much different than Bonner’s but head coach Blake Anderson is someone who can right a ship, no matter who is driving.

“We can continue to improve,” Anderson said, “we’re as good as anybody else in our league.”

Before Bonner went down he threw 10 touchdowns to only one interception. Hatcher has 10 TDs as well but to six interceptions. But he’s got a big time weapon on the flank.

Omar Bayless has had a phenomenal 2019 so far. The senior has hauled in 993 yards and 10 touchdowns in only 7 games and has had six 100-yard games out of those 7. He’ll be the offensive catalyst and a hellraiser for the Texas State secondary.

On the defensive side lineman William Bradley-King has tallied 6.0 sacks, 9 tackles for losses and three forced fumbles.

Defensive backs B.J. Edmonds and Darreon Jackson lead the team in tackles with 50 a piece but that’s because opposing squads have been able to get into the second and third tiers of the Red Wolves’ defense on a regular basis.

Cat Carousel

Tyler Vitt will start this Saturday at QB for the Bobcats. Gresch Jensen has started all but the first game of 2019 but is currently in the concussion protocol. Jaylen Gipson and Cedric Case will serve as backups to Vitt. Gipson plays more of a scrambler who extends plays with his feet, while Case is a pocket passer who Head Coach Jake Spavital says isn’t used in the running game.

Running back Caleb Twyford has really come on this year and leads the team with 372 rushing yards and is second on the team with 19 receptions. He was nursing an upper body injury and is listed as “questionable” but Coach Spav says he’s back to full strength.

Texas State’s offense has the potential to go off but it all depends on the patchwork O-line’s ability to make some plays.

Conclusion

The two matchups that are intriguing:

*Omar Bayless vs an ever improving secondary. Can the Bobcat defenders stop his production or will the ‘Wolves’ playmaker eat the corners alive?

*The Bobcat offense will look to feast on a Red Wolf defense that has allowed 531.4 yards of offense a game.

Two great coaches, loads of potential, two backup quarterbacks on homecoming night, gimme the 28-27 Texas State spoiler win.