The Opposition: Texas State looks to ‘leave no doubt’ against Houston
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Cougar asked The University Star’s sports editor Quixem Ramirez to write about the matchup against Houston. Here’s what he had to say.
In every facet, the Texas State University football team Saturday night will be better than the iteration that beat Houston 30-13 in 2012.
For starters, the offense is better. Junior quarterback Tyler Jones has a firm grasp of the offense, unlike Tyler Ardnt in 2012. The team believes in Jones as a leader and playmaker, which wasn’t the case three years ago. Texas State takes after its understated leader choosing to show rather than tell.
The defense has more Division I talent, too. That’s the case across the board, but it deserves to be mentioned even though the defense is 126th in Division once you adjust for strength of the schedule. Missed tackles and a poor performance from the secondary — expected to be one of the stronger defense units on the team — are to blame for the defensive numbers.
Texas State was beginning its Division I ascent in 2012. After all, the upset win over Houston was its first win in FBS history.
The offensive line is bigger, faster, stronger. The wide receiving core is experienced and deep. The running back duo of Rob Lowe and Chris Nutall is one of the best in the Sun Belt Conference.
There’s plenty of reasons to expect the program’s first bowl game.
The only thing? That might not be enough to beat Houston anyway.
Houston is a better team, with a reliable defense and home-field advantage. At this point, there isn’t any reason to expect Texas State’s defense to suddenly figure itself out in time for the Cougars, ranked 17th in scoring offense.
Those three advantages alone make it difficult for the Bobcats to earn another upset win on the road. Vegas made Houston a 14.5 point favorite heading to the matchup, indicative of the gap between the two teams.
Can Texas State win or, at least, make Houston sweat a little? Of course. Jones is one of the better quarterbacks that no one knows. He’s kept the team in games, and his steely resolve comes in handy in the second half when the game is on the line. There hasn’t been a moment that he couldn’t handle.
Texas State is in danger of being in a 1-3 hole, with little margin for error. Six wins wasn’t enough for a bowl game in 2013. Seven wins wasn’t enough last year. In response to two consecutive bowl game snubs, Texas State’s motto this season is “leave no doubt.”
A loss against Houston, putting them 1-3 overall before conference play, would leave quite a bit of doubt.