Two teams that have defenses near the bottom of the Football Bowl Subdivision rankings will battle it out at Bobcat Stadium Saturday.
Those teams are the Texas State Bobcats and the New Mexico State Aggies.
The Bobcats allow 553 yards per game, ranking them number 124 in the country. However, the Aggies average 561 yards allowed per game and are right behind Texas State at number 125.
“They don’t play or look like a bad defense,” Schultz said. “They play with a lot of energy, they chase the ball hard and their staff has done a great job. If you wouldn’t have told me where they rank, I would have never have guessed it by watching their film.”
Texas State has not played against a team this season that allows more yards or points per game than New Mexico State.
This game could not have come at a better time for Tyler Jones, junior quarterback, who has put up low numbers over the last two games.
In those last two games, Jones completed 23 of 48 passes with one touchdown and two interceptions through the air. Jones ran for 98 yards and a touchdown.
“His problem, probably there for a week or two, was that he wanted to do too much,” said Coach Dennis Franchione. “I’ve often said, ‘You’re a lot better as a quarterback if you can hand off to that tailback and have second-and-four, rather than second-and-nine.”
Against New Mexico State last year, Jones did not put up big numbers but still played well. He completed 17 of 30 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown, as well as running nine times for 88 yards.
Texas State won 37-29 in Las Cruces.
It could be another tough game for the quarterback, but not because of the Aggies’ defense.
The weather forecast is predicting heavy amounts of rain, and controlling wet footballs is a challenge for any quarterback.
Two weeks ago against South Alabama, rain poured on the Bobcats at home, but they played through it and won 36-18 against the Jaguars.
Jones totaled 176 total yards of offense that night.
Coach Schultz said the team is not too concerned with the weather, but will practice with wet balls and jerseys before the game.
However, Robert Lowe, senior running back, rushed for 251 yards on 30 carries against South Alabama. This was the first game Lowe became the workhorse running back after Chris Nutall, senior running back, went down for the season with an ankle injury.
Lowe carried the ball 50 times over the last two games, but with no other running back to carry the load, and the weather, the trend might continue.
“I’ve coached some great running backs, and not one of them that was worth a flip didn’t want the ball,” Schultz said. “He might tap out and come out for a play or two, but he wants to be out there as much as possible.”
On the other side of the ball, Larry Rose III, Aggies sophomore running back, is the second leading rusher in the conference with 1,079 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“He’s good,” Franchione said. “Tough to stop. He gets his yardage week in and week out. He’ll go for three or four (yards), three or four, and then he’ll break a couple. They keep feeding it to him pretty good.”
Rose will face a run defense that ranks last in the Sun Belt. Texas State averages 293 yards allowed on the ground, and the team allowed 524 yards rushing to Georgia Southern in their last game.
But Georgia Southern does lead the nation in rushing yards.
This matchup could be a major factor in the game. You can’t win if you can’t defend.
Homecoming is also this weekend for the Bobcats. The team will begin a three-game home stand starting this weekend.
“We’ve got three straight at home, so that’s nice,” Franchione said. “We look forward to that. (It’s an) opportunity to get back in front of our crowd and play in our place. This is a good time for us to have something like this.”
Texas State will do their best to turn the game into their third win of the season and prevent New Mexico State from getting its second win..
“New Mexico State got a big win on Saturday night. They were down 30-7 at one time and came back to win the game,” Franchione said. “That’s a heck of a job. If you look at their schedule, they could be 4-4. They lost in overtime to UTEP. They lost a close game to Georgia State, and they could have beat New Mexico. They played us really tough last year.”