GAMEWEEK: Inside the Texas State Bobcats

SATURDAY AFTERNOON THE VANDALS HEAD TO SAN MARCOS to take on a rugged Texas State team in Bobcat Stadium at 4pm PST (televised LIVE on ESPN3). This is the first Sun Belt game of the season for the Bobcats (2-2, 0-0 SBC), and they will undoubtedly give the Vandals (0-4, 0-2 SBC) all they can handle. This is the 7th meeting between the teams (series tied at 3-3), with TSU winning the last three.

This Saturday’s game between Idaho and Texas State, by the numbers (i.e. statistical rankings), should be somewhat daunting for the Vandals. Texas State, which is 2-2 on the season, jump started 2014 with a 65-0 blowout of FCS Arkansas Pine Bluff. They next hosted Navy and lost to the Midshipmen 35-21 in a closer-than-the-final-score game. Then the Bobcats hit the road to take on Illinois out of the Big Ten. Unfazed by the task of taking down the Fightin’ Illini, TSU led throughout the first half and well into the third quarter before eventually falling 42-35 in the slugfest.

Last week the Bobcats traveled to Tulsa and walked away with the 37-34 three-overtime non-conference win over an American Athletic Conference team.

Statistically the Bobcats are off to a good start in the national rankings:
- Passing Yards: 39th (278.5 yards per game)
- Rushing Yards: 30th (227.3 yards per game)
- Points For: 29th (scoring 39.5 points per game)
- Points Against: 79th (giving up 27.8 points per game)

All of which amounts to an enormous challenge for an Idaho (0-4, 0-2 SBC) team struggling to right the ship under second year head coach Paul Petrino.

This week we partnered with Bobcat Illustrated publisher Antonio Castillo to get some first-hand information about this year’s Texas State club. Below is a quick Q&A with the Bobcat insider.

PAT HAUGE: Can you provide a brief overview of the Texas State season so far? Are they meeting expectations? And are there any surprises or wrinkles that weren't expected going into the season?
ANTONIO CASTILLO: “The season has been good so far and I'd have to say right at expectation. In all honesty, the Bobcats are potentially one 2 hour weather delay from being 3-1 and upsetting Illinois of the Big Ten. They were up 21-6 on the Fightin' Illini before a near 2 hour delay and a completely different Texas State team emerged. As for surprises, the defense has played above expectations. Although they ended up surrendering 34 pts to Tulsa last week, 17 of which came in overtime, they've done well. Only allowed three points in three quarters to TU and had multiple goal-line and 4th down stands.”

PH: Who are the top three Bobcat performers on offense?
AC: “On offense, the leader of the group is sophomore QB Tyler Jones. He can hurt you with his arm and feet. He's shown great improvement when in the pocket and has been accurate hitting on 70% of his passes for 11TD's and 1073 yards. On the ground he has another 3 scores. Junior RB Robert Lowe who will be back after missing last week with an ankle injury, is averaging 119yds a game and has 2 TD's. Every time he touches the ball he's picking up 6+ yards a carry. Senior TE has a good rapport with QB Tyler Jones. He's yet to log a TD, but leads the team with 20 catches for 225 yards.”

PH: Who are the top three Texas State defenders?
AC: “Leader of the group is senior LB David Mayo. He's coming off a 20 tackle performance against Tulsa. DE Michael Odiari has really stepped up his game and although a bit undersize, provides great speed off the edge. Safety Colby Targun patrols the secondary and can also play the box. Has 18 tackles and a pick six from earlier this year.”

PH: Who is the top performing newcomer?
AC: “He saw spot time last year as a true freshman, but sophomore "Rover" safety Germod Williams has had an impact in the secondary. He's got a certain swag that first year DC John Thompson really likes. He can drop back in coverage, has a couple of PBU's and can also play close to the line and lay the wood.”

PH: What are your expectations for the Bobcats for the rest of the season?
AC: “With tough conference games left against the likes of Louisiana Lafayette, Arkansas State, and Louisiana-Monroe, it's not going to be easy, but it's definitely within reach to finish 7-5 and go bowling for the Bobcats. A slip up here or there and that chance could right down the drain. The next step is to take care of business against Idaho, and I expect Texas State to do so. The combo of the Bobcat Offense & Defense both playing well right now, will be too much.”

To read more about what's happening with the Bobcats click HERE!

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