Texas State Bobcats vs. Incarnate Word Cardinals: Preview, TV, Streaming, Starting Time, Betting Line

[A long, uncomfortable silence]

What, you really thought we wanted ‘Bama?

 

Texas State vs. Incarnate Word

When: 6:30 PM Central

Where: Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos, TX

TV: CBS-KEYE (Austin market only)

Streaming: ESPN3

Radio: Texas State – Here. Incarnate Word – Here

Betting line: Texas State -16.5, O/U 50.5

Texas State Outlook

Well, if anyone had any illusions that the Bobcats were suddenly world beaters after the Ohio game, the last two weeks likely disabused them of that notion. Getting rolled up by Arkansas and Houston by a combined score of 106-6 should provide a cold slap of reality to Texas State on where this program stands. Which is still undersized, low on depth, and overmatched against elite competition. Which is okay to say that at this point without a hint of shame, by the way.

Thankfully, Texas State gets somewhat of a reprieve this week against an FCS squad who is certainly not Arkansas, Houston, or even Ohio. Everett Withers is sandbagging a bit this week by saying that Texas State can’t overlook UIW, and he’s absolutely correct. If they do, the Bobcats could conceivably lose this game. But if they prepare well enough and execute, the Bobcats should be able to work out some of the kinks that have popped up through the first three games.

Namely, Stedman Mayberry (or Tyler Tutt?) will have to find some sort of success on the ground, and the offensive line must get enough of a push to finally open some holes for their backs. Texas State’s rushing numbers will almost certainly rise from 53.7 yards per game and 1.8 yards per carry, but even by the standards of playing Houston and Arkansas, those are awful numbers.

In the passing game, Tyler Jones will need to suppress the yips and old (bad) habits that have popped back up over the past two weeks. Luckily for him, he should not be facing nearly the amount of pressure he saw in his first three games–UIW’s top 10 tacklers are all safeties, corners, or linebackers, and only one of them, Denzel Thomas, has a sack recorded in four games. If all goes as planned, TJ should be able to reestablish some chemistry with his green receiving corps and give the offense some momentum going into the Sun Belt opener at Georgia State.

On defense, Texas State will need to contain the passing game and avoid letting UIW’s speedy receivers get over the top of the secondary. If Dallas McClarty can pressure UIW QB Trent Brittain into making bad throws and Javante O’Roy or Brandon McDowell can position themselves well enough to snag an interception or two, so much the better. Unfortunately, the Bobcats will have to do without talented linebacker Easy Anyama, who tore his ACL against UH and is out for the season.

Incarnate Word Outlook

The Cardinals are one of those maddening teams who have had a bunch of close games against programs that are not definitively good or awful, so it’s difficult to define just how competent they are as well. To wit, UIW laid a stinker of an opener in losing to Division 2 TAMU-Kingsville (that’s hated ‘ol A&I to you SWT partisans), but the Javelinas’ only two losses came by a combined 4 points to two top 15 D2 squads. UIW also lost by a combined 14 points to 1-2 Nicholls, who gave Georgia and South Alabama all they could handle, and 2-2 McNeese State, who gave ULL all they could handle. Their only win came against 0-4 Northwestern State, and that game was also close.

A 1-3 start isn’t ideal for UIW after last year’s 6-5 campaign, but there are reasons for optimism in San Antonio. Their offense has steadily improved in production since Week 1 under junior quarterback Trent Brittain, and their rushing defense has been good enough to hold opponents to 3.7 yards per carry. Their defense has also been solid at forcing fumbles, taking away 6 dropped balls from their opponents thus far. Their offensive production primarily relies on explosive plays, which is something that Texas State’s defense has been vulnerable to giving up in all three of their games. And when it comes to size, UIW won’t be at a major disadvantage in the trenches. Add that to their motivation to upset a nearby opponent just up I-35 and there are enough intangibles in UIW’s corner to make this team a potential pain in the ass to Texas State.

On offense, UIW shares Texas State’s impotence in the running game (90.8 YPG, 2.9 YPC), but against far inferior competition. Their passing game is much more of a threat if by sheer quantity alone, as the Cards will throw 30+ times a game and Jordan Hicks, Kody Edwards, and Jamari Gilbert are all capable of busting receptions of 60 yards or more. However, Brittain’s accuracy is somewhat suspect as he’s completed just under 50% of his passes thus far.

The biggest weakness on the Cardinals’ end appears to be their passing defense. Although it’s far from impotent, opponents have been able to roll up 263 receiving yards per game on UIW and 8.4 yards per reception. Their corners and safeties are experienced but undersized (most of the players listed on the two deep are 6’0″ and under), which should bode well for 6’2″ Elijah King, 6’2″ PJ Anderson, and 6’1″ Eric Luna. So long as Tyler Jones can get his pocket awareness and accuracy back under control, Texas State should be able to crack at least 300 yards passing and could conceivably shoot for 400+.

General Pregame Nonsense Sermon That’s Kind of Important

Hey Texas State students? You’re great. You show up in better numbers than alumni most weeks, and you’re usually much, much louder too. Your efforts are more than appreciated.

But please, for the love of god, stop doing this.

 

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So, no more Texas State chants while the ‘Cats are on offense. No more yelling when Texas State is in the red zone. And get loud as hell on defense. The players will appreciate it, and recruits will note that you know your football.

Prediction

In honor of Incarnate Word week, an old testament bible verse.

Genesis 7: 21-23: 21 Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind.22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died.23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth.

In other words, UIW can play plucky FCS upstart all they want, but the Bobcats are gonna want some Cardinal blood after the last two weeks. And they’re gonna get it.

Texas State 55, Incarnate Word 24

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