Here is The University Star sports staff’s storylines to watch from Texas State’s matchup against Louisiana-Lafayette tonight.
Quixem Ramirez, sports editor: Looking for a signature win
With eight games remaining in the season, each win is at a premium for the Texas State football team.
Especially against Louisiana-Lafayette, which would represent a signature win for a program in search of credibility.
Last season, Texas State’s 45-27 win over Arkansas State in front of a nationally televised audience seemed like a major breakthrough. A bowl game felt in reach but the Bobcats finished the season watching bowl games on the couch – again.
The win total itself remains the most important objective, but beating talented teams on the road should improve the Bobcats’ resume in the eyes of the bowl selection committee.
Texas State just has to knock off the monkey on their backs – Louisiana-Lafayette – to claim an important victory.
Paul Livengood, assistant sports editor: Brad Franchione in the spotlight
The big news for the team how the defense will perform in Brad Franchione’s first game as interim defensive coordinator.
Franchione takes over for John Thompson, who earned the job before the 2014 season.
The Bobcats went with Thompson and two seasons later, with one of the worst ranked defenses in the country, he resigned in the open week.
Franchione was the other choice for the job. Two seasons later, it’s his time. The team has talked the talk in the past two weeks – there seems to be more energy and optimism under Franchione – but now it’s time to walk the walk.
Matt Gurevitz, senior sports reporter: Louisiana-Lafayette in a similar position
The desperation level for both teams is identical. For the second straight season, Louisiana-Lafayette enters the conference season with a 1-3 record.
This time, the Ragin’ Cajuns will be without Terrance Broadway, who started at quarterback for the past three seasons.
The Ragin’ Cajuns run a high-tempo zone read option offense, but Jalen Nixon and Brooks Haack are not having much success early on in Broadway’s spot.
Donavan Jackson, sports reporter: Opening conference season with a bang
Coach Dennis Franchione and the Texas State football team are set to play Louisiana-Lafayette following a less then impressive non-conference season.
The Bobcats are currently 1-3 but Louisiana-Lafayette is an identical situation with a 1-3 record.
Texas State opened Sun Belt Conference play last season with a win that sparked a run at the opportunity to play in a bowl game. The Bobcats are 2-1 in their last three conference openers. The only loss, of course, was to Louisiana-Lafayette.
If last season shows anything, it is that every games counts. A positive start to conference play is essential with a sub .500 record.
Jose Campos, sports reporter: Defense in need of a bounce back
The defense this season has been sketchy – to put it nicely.
Opponents have outscored them 115-64 in the last two games, allowing opposing team to average 49.5 points per game.
With defensive coordinator John Thompson resigning, we’ll see how the Bobcats respond when matchup against Louisiana-Lafayette, a team that is ranked eighth in the conference in scoring offense.
Garrett Caywood, sports reporter: Tyler Jones reaching a new level
After a 1-3 start, things seem bleak for the team.
The consistent play of Tyler Jones, junior quarterback, is a silver lining for a team lacking anything positive.
Jones has steadily improved each year and is now the face of the program. The stats are indicative of his improvement. He’s first in the Sun Belt Conference with a 144.0 passer efficiency rating and second in the conference in total offense (315 yards per game).
Maybe it’s time to try Jones on defense.