Texas State added its first ever football game as an FBS member to the win column. The Bobcats will soon get to play what is arguably their most anticipated game of the season at home against Texas Tech Saturday.
“(Texas State) was on the road, and I’ll tell you what, they handled that ballgame in the first half,” Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “They are well coached. We saw them play last year, and they were up-and-down the field on us.”
Just like the Houston game, Saturday’s contest will be another challenge for the Bobcats as they face a top-flight offense that features many key returning players, especially at the offensive skill positions.
Five returning wide outs combine for 48 career starts, including one of last year’s Biletnikoff Award candidates for Nation’s Best Wide Receiver, Eric Ward . A junior standout, Ward caught a team high of 84 receptions for 800 yards, adding 11 touchdowns in 2011. Seniors Alex Torres, Darrin Moore and West Texas A&M transfer Tyson Williams round out the starting receivers.
What stands out about the Texas Tech receiving core members is not only their experience but their size. All four starting wide outs weigh over 200 pounds and three of them are more than 6 feet tall. Their biggest pass catcher, Moore, is six feet four inches, 216 pounds.
“You have to match their physicality,” Texas State cornerback Craig Mager said. “You can out-do size with technique. If you are there, they will have to make the play over you. But that’s their job. They’re big.”
The receivers are just a piece of the high-powered puzzle that is the Texas Tech offense. Last season, the Red Raiders finished 13th in total offense (470 yards/game), seventh in pass offense (345 yards/game) and 22nd in scoring offense (34 points/game).
Leading the charge for Tech is quarterback Seth Doege.
The senior signal caller has made 13 consecutive starts and has a strong grip on the Red Raider attack.
The Bobcats’ defense will look to continue the steady success experienced in their first week. Key third down stops were crucial in stopping Houston’s drives and the story needs to be similar against Texas Tech to secure a victory. Add to that goal staying away from penalties and turnovers, which plagued the Bobcats last season on the road in Lubbock.
“We held (Houston) to 1-16 on third and fourth down conversions and (had) only four penalties,” Coach Dennis Franchione said. “That’s better than what we did last season (against Texas Tech). We still are not where we want to be. We were ready to go play (Tech) last year, but we were not ready to win it.”
The Bobcats will use a balanced attack In order to put points on the board. This worked well against Houston’s defense and kept the Cougars guessing. Senior running back Marcus Curry and quarterback Shaun Rutherford and freshman running back Tim Gay led the rushing attack last week.
“We have to continue to grow as a team and to get better,” Curry said. “We have to just execute our game plan. If we can do that, then we will see some success on Saturday.”
The Texas Tech defense is led by an experienced set of defensive backs who are all seniors. Only five new names appear on the two-deep depth chart stemming from last season’s group, which ranked 114th in the FBS in total defense.
The Red Raiders were able to contain Northwestern State’s offense to just 84 total yards with only 13 of them coming on the ground, under the new leadership of recently hired defensive coordinator Art Kaufman. The Demons were only able to put six points on the board in Lubbock.
Possible distractions and hype surround the first FBS home game at Jim Wacker Field, but the Bobcats are solely focused on executing their game plan. The coaches and players are trying to make the most out of their opportunities, with an expected sellout crowd and a 2-0 record as a possible destination for the Bobcats.
“Everybody asks me about (Texas State),” Tuberville said. “(Many) want to go from FCS to the FBS level. Texas State has done it right. They’re not a wannabe. They’re putting their money where their mouth is, and we are walking into a tough situation. It will be a good experience for us.”
Bobcat Stadium gates open at 4 p.m. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. For live tweets, updated stats and analysis throughout the game, follow @txstcamirvine and @jbrewer32.