Appalachian State (3-2) vs Texas State (2-3)
Saturday, October 8th, 2022 7:00pm EST
Radio: FLAGSHIP 97.3 FM (North Wilkesboro), 96.5
FM/1450 AM (Boone), 99.1 FM/1060 AM/1030 AM (Charlotte),
105.3 FM/1320 AM (Greensboro), 790 AM (Johnson City),
107.7 FM/1450 AM (Hendersonville), Varsity Network App
Surface: Field Turf
Jeff Sagarin Ratings
App State: 75.46
Texas State: 51.13
App State is favored by the Sagarin ratings by 22.26 points
VegasInsider Line: App State -19
Series: App State leads 6-0
Last Meeting: App State 38, Texas State 17 November 7, 2020, San Marcos, TX
The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Citadel was no match for the Mountaineers as the home team broke a two game winless streak against their former conference foe. App State started the game much like the hurricane that hampered attendance, striking quickly and cruising to a large lead before the second became a game of handoffs and clock killing. You can almost use that same phrase when describing the Mountaineers next opponent. Texas State is trying different ways to win football game, yet the results have not really paid off as of yet under their fourth year coach. App State will be playing its second game of the season on the road, oddly, both being played in Texas. The Mountaineers survived the heat in September, but the High Country has been in the throws of fall for a few weeks now. That Texas heat in October may come as a larger shock to the bodies this time around. Luckily, not much energy was exerted last week, and there will be a few extra days of rest prior to the next conference matchup.
This game will be the seventh in the series between the two teams, and sixth while conference mates in the Sun Belt. In those six games, App State has had to travel to San Marcos four times since 2017. The Mountaineers hosted the Bobcats twice, in 2016 and 2019. Unbalanced scheduling and realignment has led to this somewhat, but it does not truly explain the cross division discrepancy. It’s likely that the next time these two play after this Saturday will be in Boone, but in what year that will be is a complete unknown. Switching gears a bit, the Bobcats have played twenty football games since they last faced App State. In those twenty games, Texas State is 7-13, which is about par for the course in San Marcos. But in those seven wins, the Bobcats have beaten just five teams, as they have claimed two wins apiece over Arkansas State and Florida International. The other victims included an overtime win over South Alabama, an eight point win over UL-Monroe, and a victory over Houston Christian University, the school formerly known as Houston Baptist.
Of the games Texas State has played this year, their record stands exactly where you thought it might be, but they have played some absolutely boring games. In both wins and losses, the closest game they have played was the opener, on September 3rd, in which they lost by 24 points. It’s been blowouts all season long, so even after five games, its hard to tell what Texas State has this year. Last week the Bobcats were thumped in their Sun Belt opener by James Madison, who on paper, appears to have played their game with ease. Against Nevada, the game was close at halftime, just a one score deficit at 14-7, but the Bobcats fumbled twice in the third quarter and gave way to Nevada winning comfortably. Against Baylor, a similar scenario played out. A third quarter fumble on their opening drive flattened Texas State, and they gained just seventy-eight yards on six drives for the remainder of the game. And once again, against James Madison, they played their best second half of the season, but spotted the Dukes a 19-0 lead at half. The Bobcats have yet to play two halves of football, and it has shown in all of their losses.
It’s quite funny, that of the wins that Texas State was able to acquire over the last twenty games included Arkansas State. Mainly, because two of their main contributors on offense went through Jonesboro. You may remember the name Layne Hatcher, who officially began his career at Alabama, where he redshirted and transferred to A-State way back in 2019. He started nine games in 2019, and then didn’t start at all in 2020. He earned 7 starts in 2021 before leaving town. He’s taken every snap for Texas State this year. The Mountaineers defense harassed Hatcher last year into three interceptions and four sacks in the 48-14 win over Arkansas State. In 2020, App State also picked off Hatcher once and sacked him twice in Boone. This season, Hatcher has thrown 11 touchdown passes in five games, but the interceptions are still bugging him, with six picks being thrown. Those have all occurred in four games. Lincoln Pare is the second leading rusher for Texas State in 2022, but was the leading rusher for Arkansas State in 2021. Pare has back to back eighty yard performances in his last two games after getting just thirteen carries in the first three games of the season.
The Mountaineers were extremely hard to defend on Saturday; when they had the ball. App State scored seven touchdowns on just 20:09 of possession. In fact, one of the craziest statistics of all, the Mountaineers had the ball for one play on offense in the third quarter and scored on a 80-yard touchdown pass from Chase Brice to Christan Horn. App State ran 47 plays for the game, spreading the ball to five running backs, with neither getting more than seven carries. In fact, it was probable redshirt candidate Kanye Roberts with a game high seven carries that he took advantage of for 70 yards. Camerun Peoples stretched his legs for a seventy-three yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Dashuan Davis also found himself wide open for a 44-yard touchdown catch in the opening quarter. All of these big plays equated to the Mountaineers averaging 11.6 yard per snap. When you are moving the ball at that clip, possession will be hard to come by, but as long as the defense can keep the other team off the board, its a negligible statistic.
Texas State is going somewhere. Nobody knows where that is. This is a program that has struggled mightily for years. Since their move to FBS, its been an uphill battle in the mud. This was a once proud program with some success in Division II and FCS. They won back to back FCS titles in 1981-1982. They had a couple playoff berths in the FCS days, but since they have entered FBS, it has been tough. Texas State currently holds a winning record against one Sun Belt school. They lead South Alabama 4-3, and are 4-4 against Georgia State. Those schools were recent football startups. Between App State, Ga. Southern and Coastal Carolina, they are a combined 2-12. They have never beaten Louisiana in nine tries and are 1-11 against Troy. How do they start getting better? Maybe its by recruiting better. Recently, Texas State has relied heavily on transfers. The Bobcats list 50 players on their roster who have not transferred in from another college or university. Sixty-nine others have transferred in from all over the country. San Marcos is almost like an island of misfit college football players. Their head coach Jake Spavital is in his fourth year. He’s been given one more year than his predecessor Everett Withers to get this ship righted. Withers won seven total games and two conference games in three years. Spavital has won nine games, and seven in conference play in his first three years. There is some improvement, but is it enough? Texas State has had one season since moving to FBS with an over .500 won-loss record and they have still have not played in a bowl game. Eventually, Texas State will find what they are looking for, whether that be wins on the football field, a new coach, or perhaps even a new conference. In the meantime, they are here playing games, and their opportunities to get those wins might be as good as ever. The Sun Belt West appears to be wide open for the first time in several years. There is an outside chance of winning five or maybe even six games, but they’ll need to start playing cleaner football. They’ve turned the ball over eleven times this season and opponents have accepted 33 penalties committed by the Bobcats. They’ll need long drives and touchdowns to keep up with App State, but the numbers say it’s unlikely to happen.
The First Pick
Wack in Black 15