Keys to the Game: ULM at Texas State

Texas State returns to conference play with a home date against the Warhawks from Louisiana Monroe. Texas State has a series of winnable games and a victory over the Warhawks is critical. A few keys for the Bobcats. 

It Ain't All Bad News

If you're a box score watcher, you'd look at last week's 45-10 loss and say, wow, that's a beating. Yes and no, the Bobcats gave up three non-offensive touchdowns to the Cowboys. Take some of those mistakes away, and it's a pretty decent effort by Texas State. The Bobcats once again held a team that wanted to run the ball to under three yards per carry. Texas State continues a massive defensive improvement, moving up 40 spots in yards per carry allowed and more than 50 spots in total defense. That offense though. 

Value the Ball

Texas State's margin for error is super slim from an offensive perspective. They can't operate behind the chains, their offensive line is a trouble spot, they have to work incredibly hard to manufacture a running game and they can hold up against a pass rush to pressure the top of the defense. Those are all hindrances, but the death nail is turnovers. The Bobcats put the ball on the ground four times against Wyoming and threw a pick six. It's one thing to struggle offensively; it's another when you gift your opponent fourteen points while your defense is on the sideline. 

Work Willie Jones In

Damian Williams is the undeniable starting quarterback for Texas State, but Willie Jones is the future. Everett Withers and his staff would do well to work the big freshman from Silsbee into a few packages on Saturday. His upside is tremendous, but for now, he's raw and needs game reps. Texas State will need to figure out how to get those reps on the fly. 

Streaking

The avalanche starts slowly for Texas State, but once it starts rolling there is no stopping it. Against Wyoming, the Bobcats trailed 14-10 before allowing 31 straight. A week earlier against UTSA, the Bobcats fell behind 17-14 and allowed the Roadrunners to score 27 unanswered. Texas State must find a way to play viable offense for four quarters and stop the bleeding. 

Notes and Numbers

This will be the thirteenth matchup between ULM and Texas State. 

Louisiana Monroe leads the series 9-4. 

Louisiana Monroe is 27th in the FBS in scoring at 38.3. 

Louisiana Monroe is 121st in the FBS in scoring defense, allowing 39.5.

The Bobcats are the 34th least penalized team out of 130 FBS teams. 

Texas State's fourteen sacks are seventeenth in the FBS and already five more than their 2016 total. 

Texas State is -4 (104th in the FBS) in turnover margin.