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Thread: Ragin' Dave's Texas State Breakdown

  1. #1

    Default Ragin' Dave's Texas State Breakdown

    Texas State Bobcats Preview

    I really hope this is not my last preview of the 2022 season. I would love to have one more to be done for a bowl game in December. The Cajuns and the Bobcats have met 9 times since the Bobcats joined the SBC and UL is a perfect 9-0 vs Texas State and to be honest with you very few of them have been close at all. The biggest margin of victory was last year at 45-0 while the smallest margin of victory was in 2020 was 44-34. The average margin of victory for UL has been 23 points. At some point in time Texas State, I must believe Texas State is going to beat UL, I just hope it is not this season.

    It seems every year Texas State comes into the season with high expectations and every season it seems those expectations never are fulfilled. This year is no exception. Texas State is 4-7 on the season. They have a combined 18 wins over the past 6 seasons (an average of 3 per year). It has been an up and down year for the Bobcats this year, the started the year losing badly to Nevada on the road, then followed that up with a win over FIU at home, then lost badly to Baylor, then beat an undermanned Houston Christian (formally Houston Baptist) at home. They then opened conference play with a bad loss to JMU on the road, but surprisingly upset APP State in San Marcos. At this point in the season, they were 3-3 and hoping to really have some momentum for the 2nd half of the year. That did not occur as they have been 1-4 since that time. They lost to Troy in Troy 17-14, lost to USM 20-14 in San Marcos, lost to ULM 31-30 in Monroe and lost to USA 38-21 in Mobile. They did get a win last week vs Arkansas State 16-13 in San Marcos. Ironically this team is 4-1 at Home, but 0-6 on the road.

    Texas State is led by Jake Spatival in his 4th season in San Marcos but only has a 13-34 overall record. Many people in San Marcos really believed that this was the right hire back in 2019, but I truly believe if he finishes 4-8 this could be the end of the road for Coach Spatival. Even at 5-7 his job could be in jeopardy. Texas State does not have an OC, as Spatival is the play caller, his brother Zac Spatival is the DC and they do not have a special teams Coordinator listed either.

    QB—The Brady McBride experiment ended at the end of last season as he transferred over to APP State to be a backup to Chase Brice opening a spot for a starter as Tyler Vitt, a part time started also finished up his career at Texas State. Texas State had a number of transfers QB’s on the roster including Ty Evans from NC State, Tanner Prewit from Arizona State and CJ Rogers from Baylor, but they reached into the transfer portal once more to grab an experienced starter from Arkansas State in Layne Hatcher (6’0 210). Hatcher was a good one at state and listed as a RS Junior has a chance to be a full-time starter for the first time. He was splitting most of his time at Arkansas State. We have seen enough of Hatcher against us to know that he is extremely talented, it has really been the talent around him that has been the problem. Hatcher started his college career as a RS at Alabama and then transferred to Arkansas State where he played parts of 3 seasons for the Red Wolves. This year Hatcher has thrown every pass for the Bobcats except for 1, that was thrown by a WR. His numbers have been pretty good on the season. Overall, he has completed 63.1% of his passes for 2,520 yards with 19 TD’s and 9 INT’s. Hatcher is a pocket guy, he is not one that will hurt you with his legs, he can move around in the pocket, but he wants to throw it rather than run it.

    RB—This has been a problem for the Bobcats, and it is not because they have a lack of talent in the RB room, it has been more production. The #1 guy is Lincoln Pare (5’9 195). Pare was a late transfer that came over with Layne Hatcher from Arkansas State, where he was the leading rusher last year. Pare has not had the same production at Texas State, he is only averaging 3.7 yards per carry with a long of 22 yards and 4 TDs on 144 carries. The backup in the room was expected to be Calvin Hill (5’8” 185), a very productive returnee from last year, but he has not played since the USM game earlier in the season and that has really hurt TSU in the run game. Hill was a very elusive guy for them and good out of the backfield catching the ball. He is out for the season with a thumb injury. Without him their main backup has been a mix of Josh Berry (5’11 195) transfer from Blinn College and Jahmyl Jeter (6’0 225) transfer from Oklahoma State. Combined they only have 74 carries on the season for 316 yards and 2 TDs. Jeter is more of a bruiser for short yardage and is only averaging 3.3 yards per carry, while Berry has filled the role of Hill and is averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Pare will get most of the carries and he is pretty good out of the backfield, as he has 28 receptions on the season which is 3rd on the team.

    WR/TE—Another problem has not been lacking talent in the WR corps, but injuries have taken a toll on this team. Ashtyn Hawkins (5’10 170) who has been their best WR, is out for the season with a collarbone injury. He was leading the team with 56 receptions for 587 yards and 7 TDs. By far leading the team in all those categories. Behind him are Marcell Barbee (6’1 195) who has missed the last 3 games with an injury and Javen Banks (6’1 175) who has missed the last 2 games with injury. Currently we don’t know if either of them will play vs UL. Even if they do, they could be severely limited coming off injury. Without them the main threats are going to Pare (out of the RB position) and Julian Ortega Jones (6’2 200) transfer from Bowling Green with 29 catches for 270 yards and 1 TD and Rontavius Groves (5’11 185) transfer from UNC with 20 catches for 203 yards and 1 TD. Barbee and Banks were by far their best deep threats, and without them they have struggled to find who that next guy would be. Allot of what happens Saturday will depend on exactly who lines up at the WR position. At TE they have two guys but neither has been much of a threat. Titus Lyons (6’3 230) only has 6 catches on the season while Tyler Huff (6’2 250) only has 5. Barbee, Banks, and Hawkins are studs, but missing all three could be a major problem.

    OL—They have two pretty good ones on the OL. The first of which is LT Dalton Cooper (6’6 300) and RG Kyle Hergel (6’2 300), both were expected to be ALL SBC type players. Hergel is a transfer from North Dakota while Cooper returns for his sophomore campaign after being an All-SBC 3rd team player last year. At Center they have Russell Baker (6’5 310) or Silas Robinson (6’4 320) player who started his career at Arkansas mostly as a special team’s player but did have a few starts last year for Texas State. RT will be Richard West (6’6 300) Senior who transferred from Texas A&M – Commerce.

    Offense—Offense has been an issue for this team this year. They are only averaging 21.82 points per game, and it has clearly been a lack of running game that has been the biggest part of that. They are only averaging 93.3 yards per game on the ground while averaging 229 yards per game through the air. They have 19 TDs in the air while only 8 on the ground. They have not been very good on 3rd or 4th down either, only converting 61 of 170 3rd downs and 7 of 20 4th downs. They have protected Hatcher well only giving up 25 sacks in 11 games. They other problem has been turnovers they are -4 in the turnover battle, with 9 INTs and 9 fumbles. They are efficient in the Redzone in scoring but not in TD’s. Only 20 of their 33 Redzone possessions were TD’s but have converted 30 of 33 with TDs and FGs.

    DLine—This is a team that will employ a 3-3-5 Defense for the most part. Up front their best player might be Levi Bell (6’1 276) on the DL. Bell has 58 tackles and is tied for the lead in sacks with 5. He will be joined they’re by Nico Ezidore (6’2 280) and Nelson Mbanasor (6’3 270). Ezidore has 2 sacks on the season and 2 passes defensed, while Mbanasor has 5 sacks as the co-leader and 3 passes defensed. They will get some relief on the DL from Dominque Ratcliff (6’3 285) and Davon Sears (6’2 290). They very much play true DL at the 3-down lineman, who are big and gobble up lots of space. Between their top 5 guys the smallest is 270 lbs. A guy they were hoping would be a big help this year was Samuel Obiang, who has not played this year.

    LB—Of the 3 starting LB’s, the best of the bunch is probably Sione Tupou (5’11 245). He leads the team with 78 tackles with 1.5 sacks and 2 INTs. He is a disrupter. But they have 2 guys next to him that are pretty good as well in London Harris (6’2 235) and Jordan Revels (5’11 235). Harris 73 tackles and 2 sacks, while Revels has 65 tackles and 4.5 sacks. These three guys are the 3 leading tacklers on the team. Brian Holloway (6’0 225) transfer from SMU is the first guy off the bench for them. He is a solid player and makes huge contributions when in the game. Holloway has 46 tackles and 1 sack on the season.

    D-Backs—They will employ 5 DBs and their safeties are pretty good players. Tory Spears (6’3 195) will be at one safety position and leads all DB’s with tackles with 64, he also has 1 INT for 94 yards and a TD. Dejordan Mask (6’1 190) will be next to him. Mask has 37 tackles and 2 INTs. The CBs will be Alonzo Edwards JR (5’11 180) and Chris Mills (6’0 180) a transfer from Missouri. But they will play several guys back there in the NB and backup CB positions. Kordell Roders and Kevin Anderson will get some playing time vs us as well. They have a ball hawking secondary and we must be careful as their safeties will come up and make some plays.


    DEFENSE—As limited as the offense has been, the defense has kept them in many games. They are only giving up 25 points per game and holding teams to 112 yards per game on the ground, their ground defense has been good. They problem is they are giving up yards through the air. Teams are throwing for 243 yards per game vs them. They have been pretty good on 3rd down against only allowing 34% on 3rd down, but teams are 60% on 4th downs (16 of 27). And very similar numbers to their offense on redzone conversions, teams have converted on 27 of 34 redzone scores but only 19 of those were for TDs, so they will stiffen up in the Redzone.

    Special Teams—Seamus O’Kelly is the punter and has a 40.46 yard per punt average with a long of 68 and half of this punts have not been returned. 12 of the 69 have been downed inside the 20. He is a hit or miss guy, he has 8 punts over 50 yards, but only a 40-yard average. Their FG guy is Seth Keller, Keller is 12-14 on FG but has not attempted on over 50 yards and is 2 – 3 from 40-49. But inside 39 he is 10-11. When they must kick it 50+ they go to Mason Shipley who has only 1 kick on the season, but it was good from 50+. Shipley is also their kickoff guy. He has 49 kickoffs for an average of 58 yards and only 18 touchbacks, so we will have a chance to return some.
    Return Specialist—It gets muddy here, Ashtyn Hawkins has been their punt return guy, but he is obviously out for the season and his replacement has been Rontavius Groves, Groves only is averaging 5 yards per turn on 8 kicks and one of those was for 34 yards. If you back that out, he is averaging 1 yard per return, while Hawkins was a threat, he was averaging 14 yards per return on 7 returns with a long of 58. Backup WR Donnovan Moorer has been the main guy on kickoffs, returning 13 kicks for a 22.54 average. But he only has a long of 29, in fact of the 21 kicks they have returned that 29 is the longest. Overall, as a team they have an average of 18.29 yards per return, which is not great. If we stay in our lanes and play smart, we should not have issues with their return games.

    My Prediction

    Cajuns 34
    Bobcats 20

    Keys to the game for the Cajuns are going to be to force them to be one dimensional on defense. This team can not build confidence running the ball, they are not good at it, and we must shut it down. If we can do that and force them to throw against our secondary, we will be good, but if Pare (who has been good vs us in the past) gets it going Hatcher then becomes good. I think we have a real advantage with Michael Jefferson vs their cornerbacks, we must be careful with their safeties, so lots of play action is going to be the key, if we can get their safeties to bite on the run and then have a single 1 on 1 on the outside, we have a real advantage there. What we can’t do is throw into double coverage or miss the safety over the top. Their safeties are going to try to bait us, if we can run the ball well and force their safeties up into the box, I think it will be a long day for Texas State, if we can’t run the ball, it could be a long day for us. I either see this playing out like I say 34-20 or it could end up being a defensive game and have a 16-13 type game. I am going to assume we can run the ball well enough to open the passing game and that is why I am sticking with my higher prediction, but if we can’t run the ball and the play action isn’t working it will be a long day for both offenses.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ragin' Dave's Texas State Breakdown

    Just a reminder, DL Dominique Ratcliff is a UL transfer.

    Great detail Dave. Thanks

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ragin' Dave's Texas State Breakdown

    Quote Originally Posted by BeauCajun View Post
    Just a reminder, DL Dominique Ratcliff is a UL transfer.

    Great detail Dave. Thanks
    Ratcliff has played fairly well in a backup roll. He has 14 tackles on the season with 1/2 a sack. Again a guy on the line in that 280 range, but he has played well in limited duty for Texas State.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Ragin' Dave's Texas State Breakdown

    Thanks Dave!

    I'm hoping we get Lawson back for this game to help with the pass rush, which will be crucial if they end up having to throw it often.

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