Know The Foe is back for the final time in the 2012 season and for the final time ever for a WAC football conference game. The Aggies head to San Marcos, Texas for their first ever meeting against the Bobcats. Not only is this the final WAC conference football game ever, it's a battle for last place as the Aggies can avoid sitting alone in the basement with a season-finale win. This week we enlist the help of Tyler Mayforth who covers Texas State athletics for the San Marcos Daily Record. You can follow him on Twitter at @smdrtyler.
Texas State had a tough loss against UTSA, the big rivalry game this past Saturday. What's been the mood around the football team this week? Have they been able to move past the loss or do you think there may be a little bit of a lingering effect come Saturday?
Texas State is still smarting after its embarrassing loss to UTSA last week. It was a game the Bobcats thought they would win going away, but that wasn't the case. A lot of the players have a chip on the shoulders from it, especially guys who are seniors or live in San Antonio. It's possible there could be a lingering effect and could be a 'hangover' for Texas State.
The Bobcats have lost five in a row after starting out 3-3. Clearly the schedule got tougher with three straight against SJSU, Utah State and LA Tech contributing to that 0-5 record but has there been anything in particular that the Bobcats haven't done well in the last five games that they were doing well in the first six?
Outside of a 55-point performance against Louisiana Tech, Texas State's offense hit a screeching halt. The Bobcats didn't score in the second half against San Jose State, only put up 158 total yards of offense against Utah State, shot themselves in the foot with penalties in Annapolis and couldn't get their ground game going against the Roadrunners (68 yards).
What style of football does Texas State play on offense and defense and has that style changed or been tweaked at all from last year (FCS) to this first year of FBS football?
On offense, Texas State runs a conservative pistol. On defense, the Bobcats run a sieve-like 4-2-5. Haven't seen too many differences between last year to this year on either scheme, but the defense's problems have been magnified going up against FBS offenses.
Who has been the most consistent player or players on both offense and defense for Texas State this season?
The most consistent player on offense for Texas State has been senior quarterback Shaun Rutherford. Despite having his detractors, Rutherford has played much better as the season progressed. Last week against UTSA, he threw for a season-high 324 yards and accounted for three touchdowns. On defense, it has to be senior safety Jason McLean or senior linebacker Joplo Bartu. McLean seems to be in on every tackle and ever since his move back to linebacker, Bartu has been unstoppable. With 13 tackles against UTSA, it marked the third consecutive game Bartu had 10 or more tackles in a game.
What has been the biggest surprise about the Bobcats this year from an on the field standpoint and what has been the biggest disappointment (if any) with this team this year?
One of the biggest surprises for Texas State has been the progression of junior wide receiver Andy Erickson. When junior Isaiah Battle tweaked a hamstring earlier in the season, the Bobcats needed someone to step up and Erickson did. Erickson had back-to-back games with 100-yards receiving and a touchdown. A big disappointment has been the defense. Texas State can't stop the run and needs to figure something out before moving to the Sun Belt Conference in 2013.
The Aggies will win this game if…
The Aggies will win this game if they find a ground game. Texas State can't stop the run, but will key on NMSU's passing attack. Find some balance and the Aggies could win their first FBS game of the season.
The Bobcats will win this game if…
The Bobcats will win this game if their defense decides to make a stop or two. From everything I read, NMSU isn't too good on defense and run a lot of man-to-man coverage. Texas State has some quick wide receivers and can beat man-to-man coverage, which should allow a few big plays. If the Bobcats can keep points off the scoreboard, they should be able to score enough to win.
Your predicted outcome?
Texas State 31, New Mexico State 20