With the Houston Cougars set to open their final season of Conference USA, the Texas State Bobcats are beginning their first season as a member of the dissolving Western Athletic Conference before joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2013.
At the helm for the Bobcats is Dennis Franchione who has been the head coach for TCU, Alabama and most recently Texas A&M. Franchione comes to San Marcos following the Bobcats 6-6 season a year ago.
The biggest strength for Texas State will be the dynamic tandem of Marcos Curry and Terrence Franks, who return after combining for more than 1,500 yards a season ago. In a game against Southeastern Louisiana, Franks rushed for 234 yards, the eighth best single-game mark in program history.
Offensively, Texas State will employ a two-quarterback system with Shaun Rutherford and Tyler Arndt exchanging time under center. Rutherford threw for 1,227 yards and 12 touchdowns to go along with four interceptions through 11 games. Arndt compiled 576 yards passing alongside three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Defensively, the Bobcats struggled last season, allowing 505 yards and 50 points in their opener against Texas Tech. The squad finished the season allowing 235 yards per game on average through the air. Another sign of misfortune for the Bobcats was being outscored 109-62 in the fourth quarter.
Texas State does have one thing going for it against UH, however. The Bobcats hold a 3-1 all-time advantage against the Cougars, although all three wins came in the first three seasons of UH’s existence.
Most recently, UH defeated Texas State 68-28 at Robertson Stadium in 2010. Former Cougar quarterback Case Keenum passed for five touchdowns and UH took a 54-7 lead heading into halftime.
With a new receiving corps and the task of replacing Keenum, it is a guessing game as to whether the Cougars will replicate the offensive numbers of the previous two seasons, although Texas State’s defense will have it’s handful against Piland who started eight games in 2010.
The move into FBS football along with a schedule slated with the likes of UH and Texas Tech has Bobcat faithful excited for a new era to begin, although it may be a rocky one.