No assignment seems to be easy these days for the Texas State football team, so the fact that the Bobcats are playing winless Northwestern State Saturday is hardly reason to bank a win.
A number of factors make the game at Natchitoches, LA, (7 p.m.) a little less than easy. For one, the Bobcats are traveling to Louisiana for the second straight Saturday after last week’s 34-28 win at Nicholls State.
For another, the Bobcats lost last year’s meeting against Northwestern, 34-31, in overtime at Bobcat Stadium. For another, the Demons, though 0-6, have played a reasonably tough schedule, including among their opponents Houston, Baylor and two nationally ranked Southland Conference teams in Central Arkansas and McNeese State.
For another, the Demons are playing under a new regime, led by first-year head coach Bobby Dale Peveto, just off an engagement as special teams coach at Louisiana State.
“They’re scary,” Texas State head coach Brad Wright said. “They’re going through some growing pains.”
For still another, Wright said the two Northwestern State defensive tackles, especially Al Smith, are the best tandem his team has seen this year.
And, topping off the list, star Texas State running back Karrington Bush is out for the season after tearing three ligaments in his right knee — the medial collateral, the anterior collateral and the lateral collateral — in the fourth quarter last week.
So, if the book says the Bobcats should wrap one up today and return home on Halloween against Stephen F. Austin with a 2-1 record in the Southland Conference, it remains for the game to say if the book is right.
Without Bush, the Bobcats will go with senior Alvin Canady and freshman Frank Reddic to carry the ball. But they will really rely on senior quarterback Bradley George to throw it.
The Bobcats rank tenth in FCS passing with 275.17 yards per game, and third in FCS scoring with 36.83 points per game. They will line up against a Northwestern State defense that has allowed 45.5 points per game.
The Texas State defense hasn’t been much better, allowing 36.5 points and 407 yards per game. The Demons might figure to be a reprieve, as they average only 4.6 yards per passing attempt.
“They throw every screen known to man,” Wright said.
The Bobcats enter the game 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Southland Conference, which ties them with Central Arkansas, McNeese State and Sam Houston State. Stephen F. Austin and Southeastern Louisiana are tied for first place at 2-0.