FACTS & STATS: Site: Ladd-Peebles Stadium (40,000) — Mobile, Alabama.
Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: TSU 2-3, USA 2-2. Away Record: TSU 3-1,
USA 3-2. Neutral Record: TSU 0-0, USA 0-0. Conference Record: TSU 3-2, USA
4-3. Series Record: Texas State leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The South Alabama Jaguars will try to halt a two-game slide on
Saturday night when they host the Texas State Bobcats in a Sun Belt Conference
bout at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
The Bobcats are attempting to recover from a 28-25 loss to conference-leading
Georgia Southern. The setback ended a brief two-game win streak for Texas
State, which is still a respectable 5-4 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
Playing on the road hasn’t hurt the ‘Cats either, with three wins in four
trips away from San Marcos.
The Jaguars were not nearly as competitive as Texas State in their last
outing, as they visited Arkansas State and came away with a 45-10 loss. That
followed a 19-9 setback, also on the road, against Louisiana. South Alabama
also is 5-4 on the year, which includes a 4-3 mark in conference. However, it
has split its four home games.
These teams met for the first time last season, and Texas State escaped with a
33-31 win thanks to a 41-yard field goal from Jason Dann in the final seconds.
Texas State is one of the better offensive teams in the Sun Belt, ranking
fourth in total yardage (444.2 ypg) and scoring (31.9 ppg). The Bobcats
finished with 439 yards against Georgia Southern, marking their seventh game
with more than 400 yards this season.
Dual-threat quarterback Tyler Jones makes things happen for the unit. He has
thrown for 1,911 yards and 17 touchdowns, compared to seven interceptions, on
64.9 percent passing, while adding 406 yards and four scores on the ground.
Jones went off for 302 yards against Georgia Southern, marking his second 300-
yard showing of the season. However, he was also picked off twice.
Robert Lowe (633 yards, seven TDs) and Terrance Franks (567 yards, seven TDs)
share the work out of the backfield. Lowe has been the more utilized back,
with 120 carries this season, while Frank has 86. However, against Georgia
Southern, each player had 11 carries, as they combined for 88 yards and a
Bradley Miller (34 receptions, 344 yards, TDs) is the top pass-catcher on the
roster, leading the way in receptions and yards. He finished with 59 yards on
six grabs against Georgia Southern. Brandon Smith (23 receptions, 232 yards,
TD) was the real threat in the losing effort, however, finishing with 97 yards
on eight catches. Both of those totals were season-highs.
Although they lost to Georgia Southern, the Bobcats should be proud of their
work on defense. They held the Eagles, who lead the conference in total
offense (492.8 ypg), to only 268 total yards. It was an excellent change of
pace from the whopping 639 yards they had allowed to New Mexico State in the
previous outing. In total, they are yielding 27.8 points and 439.4 yards per
Texas State’s defense will not be challenged by a particularly potent bunch in
South Alabama. The Jaguars rank ninth in the league in total offense (376.1
ypg), and they have scored just 19 points combined in the last two games.
Brandon Bridge is normally the starting quarterback, but he has only completed
51.5 percent of his pass attempts this season, totaling 1,457 yards, 10
touchdowns and four interceptions. Perhaps his poor completion percentage was
a factor in his absence from last week’s game against Arkansas State. Backup
Matt Floyd started the game and completed a miserable 8-of-20 pass attempts,
and he was picked off twice.
Shavarez Smith (36 receptions, 531 yards, six TDs) is clearly the top
receiving threat on the roster. No other player has more than 20 receptions,
200 yards or two touchdown receptions. Jereme Jones (19 receptions, 194 yards,
TDs) is the closest thing that the Jaguars have to a second option.
Kendall Houston (450 yards, TD), Jay Jones (393 yards, three TDs) and Xavier
Johnson (366 yards, TD) form a solid trio in the backfield, with each getting
work depending on the week and situation. Johnson finished with only 28 yards
against the Red Wolves, and Houston tacked on a mere 14.
Usually, South Alabama is competent enough on defense to remain competitive.
The Jaguars rank fourth in the Sun Belt in total defense (377.3 ypg). Even in
their 35-point loss to Arkansas State, they still managed to put forth a bit
of a struggle, letting up 400 yards of total offense.
Returning home should give the Jaguars a boost, especially after two straight
disappointments on the road. However, the Bobcats proved just how well they
can play last weekend against the conference’s best squad. While a letdown is
not out of the question, Texas State has the ability to win this game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas State 24, South Alabama 21