The Texas State football team (2-6, 1-3) returned from Conway, S.C. with its first Sun Belt Conference victory in two years last Saturday following a 27-7 win over Coastal Carolina. Now head coach Everett Withers and the Bobcats are on the prowl for another.
It was a major feat for Withers’ team in his second year at the helm.
“I thought they played extremely hard,” he said. “We probably had the fewest amount of mental mistakes that we’ve had this year, but maybe for the last two years. Overall it was a goose egg for the defense. Anytime you can have those it’s a good day.
“It’s always good to win. It’s really special to go win a conference game on the road. But I think as we move forward we got a lot of other things we want to try to get done as we grow the football team and the program. That’s one of the milestones – we get to check that one off. We’re going to try to be better this week and go win another one.”
Withers et al return to San Macros for homecoming striving to win their second-straight conference game against New Mexico State Saturday.
Texas State will be looking to improve its series record to 3-2 against the Aggies. The Bobcats are 1-1 versus New Mexico State in San Marcos after beginning the series with a 66-28 thumping in 2012. New Mexico State returned the favor, however, rolling 50-10 in Las Cruces last year.
With lessons learned and headway in the books, the Bobcats will have momentum on their side come kickoff.
“The big deal this past week was we wanted to make sure we sped up the game offensively…be more what we really want to be,” Withers said. “I think we’re starting to get an identity and I think it has to work through the tempo of our offense. We’re headed in the right direction. We haven’t been able to run the ball in the second half and that’s what we did (last) Saturday.
New Mexico State enters Saturday’s game with a 3-5 overall record and a 1-3 mark in the SBC and tout one of the league’s best offenses, beginning with a stalwart in the backfield.
Heading into week 10, senior running back Larry Rose III is tied with Ray Lawry of Old Dominion and Diocemy Saint Justice of Hawai’i with the most games with 200-plus yards rushing in a single game. Texas State may not stop him but they will try to contain the best they can.
“What you try to do is make (a team) one dimensional,” Withers said. “They’ve got talented running backs. Obviously (Larry) Rose has been a talented running back in this league for a number of years and the quarterback (Tyler) Rogers I think is playing lights out and making a bunch of plays. Then they have a talented receiver group. First things first – you have to go find a way to stop the run so we got a challenge there.”
Withers likened the challenge he’s tasked with to that of fifth-year Texas State men’s basketball coach Danny Kasper, whose squad went 22-14 last season and fell just short of an NCAA Tournament automatic bid, losing to Troy in the SBC championship game 59-53.
Kasper has inspired Withers to achieve similar success and has learned a great deal in his nearly-two year stint at Texas State from his accomplished colleague.
“I know kind of what he’s had to do when he first got here,” he said. “(Danny) had to kind of blow it up and he’s done an unbelievable job. We talk about how you take it over and to where you want it to be. He’s given me a lot of insight on a lot of things around here.”
Next to do around here: win.
The game kicks off at 2 p.m. and will be shown on ESPN3. It can also be heard on AM 1300 The Zone in Austin, 1160 AM in San Antonio and FM 89.9 in San Marcos.