The 1-0 Bobcats travel to Boulder to take on the defending PAC 12 South Champion Buffaloes. Everett Withers' squad beat FCS opponent Houston Baptist last week at home. This week's stakes are a bit higher.
Can Texas State's Offensive Line hold up?
The Bobcats' rebuilt offensive line may be more talented in the long run, but short term they're inexperienced. Last week's game against the Huskies gave evidence of how raw. Withers' front five starts two sophomores, a redshirt freshman, and a freshman. The Bobcats rushed for just 3.8 yards a carry, take away Anthony Smith's 48-yard touchdown, and that number drops to 2016 levels. While the Bobcat's protected the passer better last week, quarterback Damian Williams should keep his running shoes on against the Buffs.
Are the Bobcat's able to get into a rhythm?
Texas State's is a rhythm offense. They like to go fast which means they need to make first downs and push the pace. Last weeks the offensive attack struggled to get off the ground. Double or triple that difficulty against Colorado, who though they lost defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt in the offseason, shut down a potent Colorado State offense last week.
Texas State's defensive playmakers need to come up big.
If there's a pleasant surprise from the opener, it's the play of Texas State's defense. Randall McCray's unit kept the Bobcats in the game until the offense could get on track. The 'Cat defense features several playmakers that can give offenses something to think about, including Bryan London, Easy Anyama, Gabe Lloyd, and Jordan Mittie. Promising freshman Kordell Rogers has a lot of upside as well.
London finished third in tackles in the FBS. Easy Anyama looks fully healed from a ruptured achilles that ended his 2016 campaign. He earned Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against HBU.
Winning in Colorado might be the biggest upset in the 2017 season. It's a moon shot with a slingshot. The key in games like this is to compete and swing, whether the Bobcats are knocked down, they must keep swinging. Withers needs to board the flight home Saturday night knowing who on his team has some dog in them and who turned down the chance to get after the Buffs.
Numbers and Notes
Anyama made up for lost time Saturday night with five tackles, two sacks, a QB hurry, a kick block, and a forced fumble.
True freshman Smith led the Bobcat's in rushing with 71 yards on just seven carries.
The Bobcats sacked HBU quarterbacks six times Saturday. In all of 2016, the Bobcats had just nine sacks.
Opponents held Texas State below 200 yards total offense four times in 2016.
Colorado quarterback Steven Montez is an El Paso native.
Texas State will make a cool $900,000 from Colorado for this Saturday's contest.
It's the first time Texas State and Colorado have met on the gridiron.