Game Preview: Arkansas State
The 'Cats travel for their first game after the bye to Arkansas State. The Red Wolves are second in the conference and guaranteed their bowl spot if they stay put, but that's what Texas State plans to change. Coming in as 7 point underdogs, the Bobcats need to pull off what looks to be an upset in order to solidify their own bowl destiny. 1. Red Zone Efficiency Arkansas State is second in red zone offense and defense in the Sun Belt. This is in part by QB Adam Kennedy leading the conference in completion percentage (and 12th in the nation). However, Texas State is third in both categories as well. This should be a vital face off, and like coach Franchione says, "Men are made in the endzone." Take out the Texas Tech game, and Texas State actually has a higher offensive red zone efficiency than Arkansas State but nevertheless will be a big factor. 2. Both Rushing Offenses The Red Wolves are second in Sun Belt rushing offense behind Lafayette. Averaging just under 200 yards a game, the carries were split fairly evenly in their most recent game in Monroe. Kennedy and RB's Thornton and Gordon rushed 56 times for 251 yards and 5 TD's. Texas State's LB Damion McMiller mentioned extra emphasis on their rushing attack this week. He added how much of a threat they can be by hitting the same holes using different formations. Texas State is still 12th in the nation in rushing yards allowed and 1st in the conference. The defense leads the Sun Belt in fumbles recovered as well. On the other side, Texas State will look to build their attack led by Robert Lowe. This is no surprise, but deciding who he will split carries with this time may be difficult. Even Tim Gay, an important but under-appreciated back, landed in the end zone in their last bout against Idaho. For Lowe, he's second in the conference in rushing yards with 769 thus far and has produced at a high rate ever since solidifying his starting role. Arkansas State is giving up 190 yards on the ground each game and looks inviting for Lowe & company. 3. Passing Defenses Texas State is similar to Arkansas State in the sense that they are a run first team with a higher rushing percentage than their opponents on average. The difference though between the two rushing teams is that one is much more efficient at using it to set up their passing game, Arkansas State. They've only thrown 7 picks this season, and as a team are top 10 in the nation in completion percentage. The test here will be which team can open up both facets of offense first. Texas State's secondary leads the Sun Belt in interceptions, and is going to be a test to the efficiency of Adam Kennedy. The Arkansas State secondary is 70th in the nation in passing yards allowed per game and can be taken advantage of similar to Idaho.
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