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September 18, 2013

Ask the Expert: Texas State

To get the inside scoop on Texas State, we went to an expert on Bobcat football -- Tyler Mayforth with the San Marcos Daily Record -- with questions about Texas State and Saturday's game in Lubbock.

These last couple of years Texas State has obviously struggled against Texas Tech, what has to change this year for it to be not only a competitive game, but also a winnable game for the Bobcats?
TM: "Well obviously, first and foremost, they can't allow Texas Tech to get out to a big lead like they did last year. Last year, everyone was really fired up, they had 33,000 fans in the stadium. It was a big day. Texas State had just beat the University of Houston, it was a huge upset, so fans were so fired up (about the Tech game), and then they go down 21-nothing. That is something that can't happen again this year.

"Back in 2011, through two and a half quarters, one could say that Texas State outplayed Texas Tech. They looked like they were about to go up 17-9 until Shaun Rutherford fumbled around the 10-yard line, and then Tech recovered and we all know what happened after that -- 41 consecutive points for Tech and that game's 50-10.

"So Texas State needs to be able to do what they did in 2011 which was control the clock, control the line of scrimmage and be able to get that run game going, which was slowly but surely working, and maybe on defense make Baker Mayfield run a little bit. Make him hassled like he was against TCU, because he looked pretty ordinary against TCU. He looks like a freshman would. Even though (Dennis) Franchione said today that he's not willing to put his defense up with TCU's yet, they need to make Baker run a little bit and get him out of his rhythm, and I think they'll have a chance to win this game."

Who do you think has the most potential to disrupt Texas Tech's game plan, both offensively and defensively?
TM: "Offensively, it's going to be tough. Terrance Bullitt is a tremendous player. There's no way Texas State will be able to get a screen going against him. You saw what he did to SMU and TCU. He blew the helpless receivers off the line and tackled them for a loss.

"I think it'll be Chris Nutall or Terrance Franks. Franks had the lone touchdown last year against the Red Raiders, he caught that wheel route that Texas State is using as their meat and bone now for this game. You could see the anguish in the defender's face, 'Oh man, we just let the shutout go.' Chris Nutall is a bruising running back. He's a bowling ball of a kid, too, he's only 5-foot-10 and about 190 (pounds), but he is bouncing around, and he's running hard. I think last week he only ran the ball eight times but for 132 yards against Prairie View. And while Prairie View's defense is nowhere near where Texas Tech's is, Nutall could create a little bit of a problem if Texas Tech is not able to tackle too well, which the Big 12 can't do much this year.

"Defensively, Michael Orakpo. Tech has not seen him play. He's going to come out on fire because he would tell me how angry he is still about that 2008 game still when Texas Tech cost his brother (Brian Orakpo) that chance of going to the national championship after (Michael) Crabtree caught that touchdown. Mike told me he was inside the stadium at that moment and he was fuming and he just wanted an opportunity to get back at Texas Tech, and this is the opportunity for him to do that. He will be able to pressure Baker Mayfield if he can get around the big tackles for Tech."

You saw how the Tech defense was able to contain Trevone Boykin, do you think Texas State's option-style offense will be tougher to stop for the Red Raiders?
TM: "No, I think it's going to be quite easy. Let's be honest here, it's going to be easier for the Red Raiders to stop them. Boykin is a round peg in a round hole. Tyler Arndt is a square peg in a round hole. Arndt looks better running the option, much better than he has in the past. So teams need to respect his legs. But he's still nowhere near where Boykin will be, and I think Texas State's best option this game is not to use the option too much, to go to a spread it out attack, but that's not going to happen. Arndt needs to do his best to control the game, kind of like Rutherford did back in 2011, and not turn the ball over like Rutherford did in 2012. If that's the case, then we might be looking at a game in the second half."

Do you think Texas State will have a harder time scoring or stopping Texas Tech from scoring?
TM: "That's a tough question based on what we've seen from both teams this year. Against Southern Miss, Texas State really struggled to move the ball. Against Prairie View, they worked the offense very well on the first two drives, they scored with ease. But then they fell stagnant. Then again, we all know what Tech's offense can do.

"I think it'll be harder for Texas State's defense to keep the offense from scoring. Texas State's offense is going to have a hard time scoring anyway. They have had a hard time scoring the first two games, I don't think it's suddenly going to change against Texas Tech. The same thing happened last year leading up to the game against Louisiana Tech and I said the same thing then, but they reeled off 55 points against Louisiana Tech. So this offense can score, but will it? I don't think it will, I think the defense needs to be able to hold Tech at bay, but I don't know how well that's going to work against an offense like Kliff Kingsbury's."

What's the best-case scenario outcome for Texas State?
TM: "A win is the best-case scenario. A more realistic scenario would be a Texas State loss by 10 points. If they only lose 31-21, that's not a moral victory but it's certainly better than it has been in the past. They lost 108-20 (combined) the last two years."

Worst case?
TM: "The worst-case scenario is another haboob comes in like it did in 2010 and just sweeps all the players away. The worst-case scenario is if Kingsbury wants to make this a statement game and he puts up 70 points on the Bobcats and people really doubt Texas State, the fan base gets down, especially with the game next week against Wyoming."

What's your actual prediction?
TM: "Based on how good Texas Tech has looked and how bad Texas State's offense has played so far -- but then again, Texas State's defense is improved, and the Tech offense has shown that they can be slowed down if Mayfield is knocked around and if he's pressured. Tech wins 41-17. Texas State will score some points, I think they'll get two touchdowns and a field goal."

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