As Texas State finishes the first half of the season, we are able to reflect on coach Withers’ inaugural season in San Marcos with the Bobcats as we approach the game against his alma mater.
A rough, yet educational, beginning was expected having taken on one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation with a young team and new staff.
The team showed promise and maturity early in a season-opening triple-overtime shootout victory over the University of Ohio. Tyler Jones, senior quarterback, set the high standards by 418 passing yards with 6 total touchdowns.
The record opener was followed by the University of Arkansas and the University of Houston with a combined score total of 106-6. Texas State struggled with only 123.5 total yards averaged on offense and 515 allowed on defense.
These blowouts were not surprising though because outside of having one of those perfect nights with the help of a lot of mojo, the Bobcats’ didn’t have it in them to create an upset. The Bobcats filled the role of a new, growing team, while Arkansas and Houston performed like the top 20 teams they are.
Big losses aside, there was still optimism going into conference play at 2-2 after defeating the University of the Incarnate Word. This optimism was soon put to the test with three straight losses to conference rivals Georgia State, Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana-Lafayette where Texas State averaged 19.3 points a game to their opponents’ 36. In each game the Bobcats started strong then faltered in the second quarter. Texas State started out 14-0 against Georgia State before losing 41-21, and 14-10 over Louisiana-Monroe before allowing 23 unanswered second quarter points and eventually losing a nail biter 40-34.
The Bobcats averaged 351 yards of offensive production a game and allow 498 yards defensively through their first seven weeks of play.
There are 14 freshmen in rotation on both ends of the ball; certain plays and emotions have gotten the best of them at times this season. Coach Withers at his weekly luncheon, on his team’s youth:
“We have got a young team; the moment sometimes can get too big for guys… You can coach them, drill it, but when you have to go out there and do it, it doesn’t always get done.”
The amount of experience this young team is gaining increases exponentially every week against top opponents. The foundation continues to be built by Withers. Texas State continues to work and focus one week at a time.
“The word of the week is focus, obviously we didn’t for the entire game,” Withers said. “We’ve got to continue to get better at that.”
The Bobcats’ biggest conference test awaits them next week against Appalachian State. The Mountaineers are undefeated.
In order to succeed against his alma mater, the Bobcats and Coach Withers will have to increase offensive production through Jones and a young defense, lead by senior Javante O’Roy and sophomore Bryan London.
However, if the Bobcats ignite their game, hypothetically speaking, and upset Appalachian State, they will be on their way to becoming a 7-5 team. That is if they also take down a beatable Idaho and New Mexico State, stun a Sun Belt powerhouse Troy, and finish with a victory at home over Arkansas State in front of thirty-four thousand.