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Rutgers Football Week 1 Opponent At A Glance: Texas State Bobcats

Find out more on the season opening game for the Scarlet Knights, plus a podcast episode preview

NCAA Football: Texas State at Wyoming Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers head coach Chris Ash, who expects to announce the starting quarterback for the season opener very soon, also said after Saturday’s scrimmage that the team will begin to prepare for its first opponent in Texas State later this week. I figured it was time for the fans to prep for the Bobcats out of the Sun Belt Conference as well. Here is an overview of Texas State a little less than two weeks out from the season opening game on September 1st.

Texas State hasn’t had a winning season since they went 7-5 in 2014. They’ve gone 3-9, 2-10, and 2-10 the past three seasons, but only the last two with current head coach Everett Withers. His name may sound familiar, as he came from FCS power James Madison, where, take a seat before reading this, Drew Mehringer coached before becoming offensive coordinator during Chris Ash’s first season at Rutgers. We all know how that went. In their last game of the 2017 season, Texas State lost to Troy, a team that went 11-2 and won the New Orleans Bowl, by the score of 62-9 on the road. However, it’s fair to note that Withers had less than 65 scholarship players on the roster at the start of last season. It’s a big rebuild that he is undertaking and year three is an important one for him. Overall, Texas State is a very young team that is still searching for an identity.

Football Study Hall Profile

SB Nation’s Bill Connelly does an amazing job at Football Study Hall, which is the premier site for advanced statistics in college football. He put together an in-depth preview for Texas State for this season a few months ago here.

Here are the rankings from last season and projected S&P+ for this season:

With a 2-10 record last season, Texas State finished ranked 117th in S&P+ out of 130 FBS teams. Their offense was ranked 115th, while the defense was ranked 95th. The Texas State defense was solid in two statistical categories: passing downs efficiency and limiting big rushing plays. They also have a strong linebacking core.

For 2018, Connelly projects Texas State to finish with a 4-8 record and S&P+ ranking of 123rd.

You can read Connelly’s Rutgers preview here, where he gives the Scarlet Knights a 79% chance to beat Texas State on September 1st.

Media Day Presser

Third-year head coach Everett Withers spoke at Texas State Media Day recently about the improved talent and depth on the roster, as well as how the team is off to its best start in training camp since his arrival. Here is the entire press conference that lasts just under ten minutes.

Starting Quarterback

Withers touches on who will start in his presser and it appears sophomore Willie Jones III is the favorite to line up under center against Rutgers. He is a dual threat quarterback, which is ideal for the spread offense that Texas State runs. Last season, Jones completed 18 of 37 pass attempts for a 48.6% completion percentage, as well as for 281 yards, a 7.6 yard average per attempt, 0 touchdowns and 1 interception. On the ground, Jones rushed 43 times for 168 yards, which is a rushing average of 3.9 yards including a long rush of 34 yards. He was the backup last season but played in 10 games as a true freshman. His only extensive action was in a 24-7 loss to Louisiana in a game he was 12 of 18 for 197 yards passing and 1 INT, while running 14 times for 58 yards for a 4.1 yards per rush average.

Texas State Scrimmage Recap

Here is an article on a intrasquad scrimmage that Texas State held on August 11th. Withers mentions several young players that stuck out to him in a positive way.

Did You Know

Texas State’s offensive coordinator and running backs coach is Zak Kuhr, who was the running backs coach at Rutgers in Chris Ash’s first season and also coached with Mehringer at James Madison under Withers.

More To Come

For all of our preseason coverage of Rutgers Football, click here.

We will have more coverage of Texas State as game week begins on August 27th, including our podcast host Lance Glinn having Bobcats play-by-play radio announcer Brant Freeman on the episode, as well as Rutgers’ play-by-play man, the great Chris Carlin.