Something’s got to give when Texas State (1-6, 0-3) and Coastal Carolina (1-6, 0-4) meet on Saturday. In what is the inaugural football game between these schools, one team will walk away from with its first Sun Belt Conference, and second overall, win of the season.
The Bobcats come off their bye week looking to take advantage of the time off to earn a conference victory in Conway, S.C.
“We got some good work done with a lot of our young guys,” Texas State head coach Everett Withers said. “We actually got two or three days ahead of them in terms of schematics in the run game. It does help to have that time off.”
Texas State dropped a 24-7 decision at Louisiana on Oct. 12, its last contest, with the lone victory of the season coming in the opener against Houston Baptist.
This marks the first time that Texas State and Coastal Carolina will meet on the football field and is the third of three first-time opponents for the Bobcats this year. The other two were Houston Baptist and Colorado.
The Chanticleers are in their first season as a member of the Sun Belt Conference. Last week they were edged 37-29 at Appalachian State. Like the Bobcats, Coastal Carolina began the 2017 season with a season-opening win beating UMass 38-28. Both teams have the remainder of their games consecutively heading into Saturday’s matchup.
“They played really well against Appalachian State,” Withers said. “They have one of the unique offenses in our league. Defensively they’re an even front team. When you look at them you see a young team trying to find its way. This one for sure looks like a team like us trying to find a way to get better.”
Graduate transfer (Mississippi State) Damian Williams has started each of Texas State’s first seven games at quarterback. Williams has run for four touchdowns and thrown for four more this season. He ran for two TDs against ULM, and one versus Houston Baptist and UTSA. He enters the Coastal Carolina game having completed 81 of 153 passes for 917 yards.
An elusive runner with a strong arm, true freshman quarterback Willie Jones III has given the Texas State offense a spark of the bench recently.
Jones III led the Bobcats in rushing with 58 yards on 14 carries against the Ragin’ Cajuns. It marks the second time in three games that Jones has led the Bobcats in rushing. He also ran for 57 yards on five carries at Wyoming.
Look for both signal callers to receive snaps on Saturday.
“He’s (Jones) right on track for a true freshman trying to be a FBS quarterback,” Withers said. “We’ll keep working with him, throwing him in there and getting him better each week.
“We’ve got a great mixture of young kids and some kinds that are not quote so young that I think are really supportive of each other no matter who is out there playing. They’re all pulling for each other. That’s what you want to have on your team. (We’ve got to) continue to compete and continue to try to win.”
Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. (Central). The game will be shown on ESPN3 and can be heard on 103.1 FM in Austin, 630 AM in San Antonio and FM 89.9 in San Marcos.