The Southland Conference standings offer some hope for the Texas State football team, which has lost its first two league games.
Fortunately, only two teams — Stephen F. Austin (SFA) and Sam Houston State — have won both of their league games, and those two teams will play Saturday in their Battle of the Piney Woods at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
The Bobcats, 3-3 overall, will be at home against Northwestern State, which is 1-1 in the Southland Conference and 2-4 overall. Even with a win Saturday, the Bobcats would face an uphill climb to win the league, but the top of the hill is, at least, in site, because they still have games remaining with SFA, Sam Houston, McNeese State and Central Arkansas. If the Bobcats can win out in the league and get help from some other team in the league beating the winner of the SFA-San Houston game, the Bobcats could still win the conference.
First, the Bobcats must deal with Northwestern State at homecoming (3 p.m.), and there is no question how the Demons will play defense. If one factor can be identified with Texas State’s 0-2 start in the league, it’s virtual shutdown of the running attack, which has totaled 190 yards in 63 carries in those two games. Before the conference season began, Texas State running backs Karrington Bush and Dexter Imade each were averaging more than 84 rushing yards per game.
Injuries along the Texas State offensive line have complicated the problem, and so have opposing defenses, which had Texas State coach Brad Wright talking this week about running against nine- and ten-man fronts.
It adds up to opportunity for Texas State freshman quarterback Tyler Arndt, who completed 25 for 39 passes for 348 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in last week’s 47-45 four overtime loss to Nicholls State.
Most of all, the Bobcats will look to clean up their game if they’re going to be able to beat anybody. Against Nicholls, the Bobcats dropped a punt for a turnover in the red zone, had a field goal blocked and returned against them for a touchdown, and were penalized for 138 yards.
The mistake-riddled nature of that loss, combined with the fact that it dropped Texas State to 0-2 in the league, put a new cast on the season, which truly shifts to one week at a time.
“You go to work every day,” Wright said. “You can’t get too high, you can’t get too low … Guys go out there and they make mistakes, and you can’t just throw them away. You try to console them and make them better and go from there.”
Northwestern State, winless in the conference last season, tacked up a good win its last time out, 24-19 at Central Arkansas on Oct. 9. The Demons average 317 yards on offense, while allowing 440 yards per game on defense.
The stars of the Northwestern State offense are quarterback Paul Harris and wide receiver Bradley Brown. Harris has completed 80 of 140 passes for 928 yards and five touchdowns with five interceptions. Brown has made 29 catches for 302 yards and a touchdown.Email | Print