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Daily Record Photo by Gerald Castillo

‘Cats look to rebound against Appalachian State

Texas State Football
Thursday, October 6, 2022

Texas State (2-3, 0-1) is looking to shake up the Sun Belt Saturday.

The Bobcats are coming off a 40-13 loss in Harrisonburg, Va., to James Madison, and it won’t get any easier when they face off with Appalachian State (3-2, 1-1) on Oct. 8. The Mountaineers were up 28-3 against James Madison in week four, and then the Dukes mounted a colossal 29-point comeback to win 32-28. Regardless of the second-half woes for the Mountaineers, they had much more success against JMU than the maroon and gold.

The transitive wins property doesn’t always tell the whole story in college football, but Appalachian State also has a giant 17-14 win in College Station over Texas A&M on their resume. They also took North Carolina to the wire in a 63-61 thriller against the Tar Heels, giving them one of the best resumes in the group of five.

Head coach Jake Spavital sees all of this in the Mountaineers, and believes they will present similar challenges as the Dukes.

“(Appalachian State)’s very similar to James Madison — they know how to win. They have won a lot of games over the years. And they just find ways you know, if you look at the first game this season versus North Carolina, like, they almost won that game. They scored 42 points in the fourth quarter, you know, they battled their way back into it. They’re a very explosive offense,” Spavital said. “They’re going to be downhill and run the ball and they’re gonna have play action shots and bootlegs. And their quarterback’s (Chase Brice) playing at an extremely high level. You know, Coach Clark does a great job there. I think their (offensive) line is very sound and what they do, I think they’re really good. You know, they’re a wide zone (and) split zone team and they’ve kind of mastered being very good at that stuff. And they’ve been doing that there for a long, long time.”

The Mountaineer defense is coming off a 49-0 shutout against The Citadel and held Texas A&M to just two scores in week two. Although Appalachian State has given up 30 points per game in the Sun Belt, they’re not a defense Texas State can take lightly if they want to come out on top.

“(Defensively) they’ve just got great continuity, that staff has been there for a while and they’re gonna be very aggressive in what they do. I think they’re talented with their (defensive) ends, they can rush the passer very well, their linebackers are probably the best we’ve seen all year (and they’re) experienced (and have) played a lot of ball,” Spavital said. They’re (defensive backs are) confident and you know, they do a lot of unique stuff and mix coverages up. They’ll play zero coverage on you, they’ve got a lot of confidence in them. It’s gonna be a tough challenge. And you look how they beat Texas A&M, they controlled that game the entire time. They’re very physical, they held the ball for over 40 minutes in that game. 

“And, you know, I think when you break down the A&M game, I think they had 38 plays of total offense, so they controlled it. They’re a physical team, and they can do that. We (have) to take advantage of every opportunity because they’re an explosive offense. And, you know, offensively, we got to pick it up this weekend and put our defense in better situations.”

Mountaineer starting quarterback Chase Brice backed up Trevor Lawrence at Clemson from 2018-2020 and then played a season at Duke during the 2020-21 season before transferring to Appalachian State prior to the 2021 season. Brice has extensive experience on National Championship teams and at the power five level. The senior quarterback heads into his sixth game of 2022 with a 15-2 touchdown to interception ratio and has thrown for 1,279 yards.

“I was curious about him — you watch them all last year, and you see how he’s playing. Now he can make all the throws. He’s got a very strong arm, you know, he can make the field throws, those play action shots, (and) you got to account for the outside receiver to the field (as well). A lot of teams don’t throw that because that’s a difficult throw to do and he’s fully capable of doing that,” Spavital said. “But you can tell he loves the game, manages it (and) takes pride in it. You know, he’s always engaged and locked in (to) what he’s doing. It’s gonna be a tough challenge for us. I think that whole offense stems from him, you know, they (have) a stable of running backs and they’re very good and get downhill and run the ball and which is always good, but like, just the way he manages the game (and) the way he can be efficient at what he does. He’s a pretty fun quarterback to watch.”

The Bobcats will match up with the Mountaineers at 6 p.m. inside Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos on a blackout night. Texas State will be looking to rebound from their loss to JMU with a statement victory against Appalachian State Saturday evening.

“We’re excited for it. We love being here at Bobcat Stadium and being at home. Just hearing about the excitement and the people that are going to come to this game, you know, we’ve talked about it as a team and they’re fired up,” Spavital said. “To just be at home and be in front of the home crowd and just kind of play like we’ve been playing well at home and hopefully we can capitalize off of the momentum and the energy of this crowd versus a very quality team. We need them to be as loud as possible and disruptive as possible because you need everything clicking on all cylinders (against) a team like this.”

San Marcos Record

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