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Texas State football 2016 season preview

File photo.

With football season right around the corner there are several reasons to be excited for the 2016 season. A young injury ridden Texas State team fought through a three-win season last year, trying to rid the taste of the 2014 bowl bid robbery.

After finishing with a 7-5 record in 2014, the Bobcats first ever would-be bowl invitation was given to an Arkansas State team who had an identical record, yet were dominated by the Bobcats 45-27.

We shouldn’t live in the past however, and a “Remember the Alamo” attitude hovers over the team and town, giving motivation for redemption. As a community, with a new coaching staff and fiery motivation, Texas State marches toward a new chapter in the book of FBS college football.

September 3: Texas State opens up 2016 play with a road game at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. This will be the first official look at the work and progression of Head Coach Everett Withers with the maroon and gold. Bobcat’s have a history of conference stand-out running backs and after the departure of Robert Lowe, Tyler Tutt looks to follow suit.

September 17: Texas State travels to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on a notable contender in the powerhouse SEC. The Razorbacks pulled off impressive underdog wins in 2015 against then No. 19 Ole Miss and No. 9 LSU in back-to-back road games. Arkansas capped off their season with a Liberty Bowl victory over Kansas State and looks to carry this momentum into the 2017 season.

With Texas State’s brand new coaching regime, this will be an early test of the team’s cohesion and the effectiveness of the new offensive and defensive schemes installed over the off season. Facing a team of this stature this early on should prove to be a very tough yet beneficial match up for the Bobcats.

September 24, Home Opener: Texas State follows one big road game with arguably an even bigger home game the next week to open up Bobcat Stadium against Houston. Houston dominated the 2015 regular season and scored a post-season victory over the former National Champion Florida State Seminoles in the Peach Bowl.

Texas State vs. Houston has developed into a nice rivalry with each team serving both knockout wins and nail biters over each other in past matchups. The momentum may be with Houston, but if the Bobcat’s newfound defense, lead by coach Randall McCray, can keep senior returning QB Greg Ward at bay then there’s a chance for a Texas State upset with celebrations in San Marcos.

October 1: Bobcats head to the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio to face the Cardinals who are entering their fourth year of NCAA Division 1 FCS football and look to test out their own progress against the FBS Texas State team. While the UTSA rivalry has lost some steam since the last time they played, this match up with UIW should reignite the spark between the neighboring San Antonio and San Marcos universities while allowing Texas State to work on fundamental execution.

Texas State follows with back to back road games against Georgia State and Louisiana Monroe on October 8 and October 15, respectively. These should be a hard fought games between Sun Belt Rivals trying to make their way up the conference ladder.

October 22, Homecoming: The University of Louisiana-Lafayette comes to San Marcos to face a Texas State team eager to defend their stadium during homecoming weekend. The Ragin Cajuns’ offense will be dependent on workhorse running back Elijah McGuire.

November 5: Appalachian State, one of only 14 teams nationwide to win 11 games in 2015, hosts Texas State. If the Bobcats are looking to make their claim at the top of the Sun Belt Conference, this will be a definitive test of ability.

November 12: We come back home to Bobcat Stadium to host the Idaho Vandals who the Bobcats have defeated three out of the last four meetings.

Texas State’s last road game is in Las Cruces, New Mexico against the New Mexico State Aggies November 19. They then finish up the season in San Marcos against Troy on November 26 and defending Sun Belt Conference Champions, Arkansas State, on December 3 for a hard-hitting final showdown in front of the home crowd.

As the Texas State football team gets mentally and physically prepared for the 2016 kickoff this summer, so should the student body and fan base. With Texas State holding the fourth largest student population in Texas, there should be an equally large crowd of Bobcats at each game.