The Bobcat football team is striving for their third win as they travel to play the University of New Mexico, a team that just lost 32-29 to Boise State.
Heading into the game with the Lobos, the Bobcats will look to finish stronger during the fourth quarter and simply “play better,” according to Coach Dennis Franchione.
“I think the bottom line is we need to coach better,” Franchione said. “We need to execute better. We need to do the little things better. We have got to play better. I wish it was something you could put your finger on and just fix, but it’s hard to pinpoint any particular thing.”
A reliable running game is a good asset to have in the second half, especially with a lead.
However, the Bobcats struggled in that area against Nevada with only 18 rushing yards after halftime. Texas State is hoping to execute in the rushing department, starting with this weekend’s matchup.
“We are becoming more physical in practice,” senior running back Marcus Curry said in regards to the running game. “It really is assignment based. We are getting it down and trying to get it right to be ready on Saturday. One of our goals is just to finish. We’ve been good in the first half, but in the second half we haven’t been playing as well.”
Curry has gotten the bulk of the carries this season out of the tail backs with 38. At practice Tuesday, freshman Tim Gay and sophomore Dexter Imade got opportunities to show what they could do.
The Bobcats’ pistol formation relies on the ability to run the read and the veer option plays. Those plays require senior quarterback Shaun Rutherford to continue being effective in the running game. Rutherford is the team’s second leading rusher.
The play-action passes will need to follow suit if the Bobcats’ offense is able to run their option offense to their best ability. The unit was not able to stretch the field with explosive plays against Nevada, besides the open touchdown pass to Andy Erickson.
Both junior quarterback Tyler Arndt and Rutherford continued rotating every play at quarterback during Tuesday’s practice, throwing accurate and strong passes toward the sideline. The tight ends continue to get more involved in the passing offense during practice.
Defensively, the Bobcats had their hands full on Saturday with Nevada, an offensive unit currently ranked second in total offense in the nation. Against New Mexico, the Bobcats will face an offense that likes to run the football. Similarly to Nevada, the Lobos have a quarterback who can tuck the ball and run when he has to. The Lobos have two signal callers who have shown thus far that they can carry the ball effectively.
The Bobcats’ defensive preparations in practice Tuesday included making sure the entire unit is flowing to the ball in every play. The defensive backs will try to do their best to help the Bobcat front, but at the same time, they know they have to remember their coverage assignments.
“There are some situations when we are emphasizing on the run,” safety Justin Iwuji said. “But as (defensive backs), we have to be ready for the pass also. Both (New Mexico) quarterbacks are good athletes. We just want to contain them and not let anything break.”