Lunch with Coach Fran

Heading into a matchup with the Illinois Fighting Illini, the Texas State football team took an unfortunate hit.

Michael Orakpo, senior linebacker, will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL and MCL suffered in the first quarter of the Bobcats’ 35-21 loss to the Navy Midshipmen.

The injury pushes Jerrid Jeter-Gilmon, junior linebacker, Trey McGowen, junior linebacker,, and Stephen Smith, sophomore linebacker, into immediate starting roles for the rest of the season. If they can’t replicate Orakpo’s production—he led the team in tackles for loss and sacks loss last year—it will have a trickle-down effect on defensive coordinator John Thompson’s defense. Thompson’s strategy excels when the defense and linebackers pressure the quarterback.

Team prepares to face Illinois after injury of senior linebacker

Following a 14-point loss to the Navy Midshipmen at home, the Texas State football team is viewing its matchup with the Illinois Fighting Illini as a new opportunity to turn the season around.

Coach Dennis Franchione utilized Sunday’s practice to switch gears in preparation for the Illini, who prefer to attack with their quarterback instead of their running back.

The defense faces a different test this week. Illinois sophomore quarterback Wes Lunt is 11th in Division I with 971 passing yards and sixth in passing touchdowns. The transfer from Oklahoma State has the most passing yards and touchdowns in his first three career starts in Illinois history.

Orakpo to miss season with torn ACL, MCL

The Texas State football team will be without Michael Orakpo, senior linebacker, for the rest of the season. Orakpo will have surgery Sept. 17 to repair his torn ACL and MCL.

Orakpo exited the game with 2:54 remaining in the first quarter in the Bobcats' 35-21 loss to the Navy Midshipmen. He left the field with assistance, before returning to the sidelines with crutches.

Orakpo, named to the Butkus preseason watch list, led the team in tackles for loss and sacks last year. Trey McGowen, junior linebacker, finished with nine total tackles in his first career start against Navy. McGowen, David Mayo, senior linebacker, and Jerid Jeter-Gilmon, junior linebacker, will replace Orakpo in the linebacker rotation.


Notebook: Navy 35, Texas State 21

What the loss means: The Texas State football team lost its first game of the season, bringing their overall record to 1-1. The defense allowed several big plays against Navy’s top-ranked rushing offense and the offense stalled in the first half. Both units improved in the second half, as they limited Navy’s big plays, cutting the deficit to two possessions early in the fourth quarter.

Midshipmen Sail Past Bobcats

The ball was on Navy’s two-yard line when the possession unraveled.

Coach Dennis Franchione ran onto the field, gesticulating at the referees. The officials tacked on another 15 yard penalty for delay of game, setting up a 3rd-and-39 at Navy’s 42 yard line.

The Bobcats preceded the delay of game penalty with a 15 yard facemask penalty and a 14 yard penalty for unnecessary roughness.

Tyler Jones, sophomore quarterback, completed a 27-yard pass to Jafus Gaines, junior wide receiver, on third down to set up a field goal attempt for Jason Dann, senior kicker.

Dann missed the 32-yard field goal off the right goalpost, as the ball caromed back onto the field.

Live updates: Texas State loses first game of season


4th quarter: The Texas State football team lost its first game of the season against the Navy Midshipmen, 35-21

Navy sophomore wide receiver Jamir Tilman tacked on the team’s fifth touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter — a 67-yard reception from sophomore quarterback Tago Smith with 12:43 remaining. Tago Smith finished with 212 total yards and four total touchdowns in junior quarterback Keenan Reynolds' absence.

Navy game will be ‘tremendous test’ for Bobcats


The Texas State Bobcats will take on the No. 1-ranked rushing offense in the NCAA Saturday when they face the Navy Midshipmen.

“I am excited about the challenge,” Coach Dennis Franchione said. “We will find out a lot about our team this matchup. It’s good for us to have a traditional program like the Naval Academy come to Texas State.”

The Bobcats set a school record in the home opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, totaling 697 yards of total offense.

Jafus Gaines, junior wide receiver, led the Bobcats in receiving yards and touchdowns. He scored the first two touchdowns of his collegiate career in the game.

Lunch with Coach Fran

Texas State’s up-tempo offense stretched the Arkansas-Pine Bluff defense to its limits, scoring 65 points in 27 minutes of possession.

Scoring two points per minute is not going to happen against the Navy Midshipmen. The Bobcats didn’t adjust to Arkansas-Pine Bluff. They ran their base plays with a few variations and gradually exerted their massive advantage in talent. Coach Dennis Franchione didn’t unveil the full extent of his new offense in the first game.

“We aren’t going to leave anything in our pocket this week,” Franchione said. “We are going to shoot all of the guns we have left. These guys are good, and the next couple weeks will be like that.”

Practice Report: Texas State prepares to face Navy


The Texas State football team will soon experience an offense the Bobcats have not seen since 2012.

The Navy Midshipmen lead the FBS with 857 rushing yards in two games.

“We have been working on discipline and not making mistakes in the triple option,” secondary coach Jason Washington said. “Those guys (Navy) have a mindset that they are going to do things right all the time, and that is what we having been trying to emphasize.”

Texas State has utilized two weeks of preparation for Navy’s offense.

“Having two weeks of practice is huge,” defensive line coach Mike Hudson said. “You can’t prepare for the option in one week. It’s a two-week deal or longer.”

Beyond the Game: Jafus Gaines

Vacations are for people who want to get away, but Jafus Gaines, junior wide receiver, just wanted to come back.

Gaines worked tirelessly to return to the field after incurring back-to-back injuries last year. His goals finally came about when he finished his first game as a starting wide receiver with 119 yards, two touchdowns and 29.8 yards per reception in Texas State’s 65-0 victory against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

His feat, however, was not possible without trekking the road to recovery.

“I knew sooner or later it was going to be my time,” Gaines said. “I knew for a fact that this couldn’t last forever. Nothing lasts forever.”


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