Texas State will continue to rely on its defense and running game as starting freshman quarterback Tyler Jones continues to grow in his leadership role heading into Saturday’s Homecoming game against South Alabama.
The Bobcats rank first in the Sun Belt in multiple defensive categories. The defense is allowing 22.6 points a game, 100.3 yards per rush and has a pass efficiency defense rate of 115.3.
“Defensively, (the Bobcats) are number one in the league in points allowed,” said South Alabama Coach Joey Jones. “That’s the only way you can rate a defense to me. They are keeping people out of the end zone, and that’s what matters. They’re doing a great job and have a great scheme.”
Last week, Texas State pulled out a 24-17 victory over a winless Georgia State team that has a 134-point differential on the season.
“I think we are going to have to win ugly—win with defense and win ugly,” said Coach Dennis Franchione. “As we grow offensively, hopefully that’s going to change and get better. I think we did what we needed to do to win last week and that’s the goal.”
Tyler Jones completed five passes for 47 yards in the Bobcats’ most recent game. The Bobcats are ranked last in the conference averaging 128.6 yards per game through the air. The freshman quarterback who started for Texas State in the past four games has accumulated 376 passing yards with one touchdown off of 35 completions.
The sophomore tandem of running backs Robert Lowe and Chris Nutall have aided the freshman quarterback and have helped take pressure off the passing game. Lowe was selected as the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week after his career-high performance of 177 yards and a touchdown. The 177 yards gained by Lowe marks the third highest single game rushing-total for the conference this year.
“I’m just grateful,” Lowe said. “We have four good (running) backs, and I am grateful for being the starter right now. I know it can change at any moment. I have to keep working.”
Nutall had two touchdowns against the Panthers and ran for 90 yards. This is the third game this season Nutall has scored two touchdowns in a single game.
“Offensively, (the Bobcats) run an option scheme, which causes some issues,” Joey Jones said. “We have to be smart about how we play.”
Tyler Jones will look to avoid pressure from South Alabama senior defensive linemen Romelle Jones and Alex Page. The two Jaguars are ranked second and third respectively in sacks per game. Romelle Jones averages 0.75 sacks a game while Page records 0.67 on average.
Junior kicker Will Johnson was awarded Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after the Bobcats’ matchup against Georgia State. Johnson averaged 44 yards on four punts and 65 yards on five kickoffs against the Panthers. All four of his punts landed inside the Georgia State 20-yard line, including his first kick that went 63 yards. Johnson is averaging a conference-best 47.1 yards per punt.