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Texas State travels to take on Baylor on Saturday where the defense expects a physical battle. Above, the Bobcat defense holds strong against Florida International on Sept. 10 at Bobcat Stadium. Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

TXST ready for physical test against Baylor

Thursday, September 15, 2022

If Texas State’s mantra this season is “keep swinging,” then the Bobcats know they’ll have to deliver a haymaker when they face Baylor on Saturday.

Texas State (1-1) travels to Waco to take on the Bears (1-1) in a game that head coach Jake Spavital and his team expect to be physical.

“They’re a big team, they’re a physical team,” Spavital said. “They’re very sound in what they do and they play smart football. They don’t make very many mistakes. We’ve got to clean up our penalties. We’ve got to clean up our negative plays. You’ve got to learn to be complementary versus Baylor. You’ve got to take advantage of any opportunities that they possibly give you because it’s going to be a tough challenge.”

The Bobcats are coming off a bounce back victory over Florida International, 41-12, following their season-opening loss to Nevada. Meanwhile, Baylor looks to rebound from an overtime loss to BYU.

Texas State knows the Bears will rely on their running game to set the tone Saturday. Baylor possesses the No. 33 running game in the country, averaging 4.42 yards per run and 205.5 yards per game. The Bobcats, however, have effectively stopped the run so far this year as the No. 34 best run defense, holding teams to just 2.95 yards per carry.

“They’re going to try to run the ball,” Redshirt senior cornerback Kordell Rodgers said. “That’s really it. They’re going to try to big boy us. But we’ll be ready for them …  Similar to what Nevada did. [Baylor will] run the ball and create one-on-ones for the DBs and take their shots. Their run game is going to set up the pass, the play-action pass deep.”

Texas State Defensive Coordinator Zac Spavital welcomes the challenge his defense is set to face.

“It’s going to be a good task,” Zac Spavital said. “I’m really excited for our guys just because I think it’ll really establish where we are up front and how well we can physically play the run. And then, it’ll test our depth because this is a game where, if you don’t get off the field on third down — which is going to be key — you get those seven, eight play drives, they just kind of lean on you. They lay on you. Those big bodies of theirs will really test our toughness, our physical endurance. Hopefully, we’ll be up for the challenge.”

Above, Texas State’s defense tackles a Flordia Internation ball carrier during the Bobcats’ 41-12 victory over the Panthers. Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

Coming off a week where the Sun Belt tallied multiple wins over Power 5 conference teams, including Appalachian State’s upset of then-No. 6 Texas A&M, Marshall’s win over then-No. 8 Notre Dame and Georgia Southern’s victory over Nebraska, the Bobcats understand that it’s more important to focus on one game at a time than dwell on its conference adversaries’ accomplishments.

“[Baylor] approaches every game the same,” Jake Spavital said. “We approach every game the same. It’s kind of that coaching cliche, you know, that ‘one game at a time.’ But it really is true because you can’t take anything for granted in today’s time. Especially even player driven too, if they go through the motions that’s when injuries occur, that’s when bad things start to happen. We coached these kids up today like it’s any other team. I know Baylor is probably doing the same thing.”

After Texas State kept last year’s game against the Bears close, the team knows it’s capable of delivering just the right punch.

“We know what we can do,” Rodgers said. “We played them good last year. We’re going to go out there. We’re going to swing. We’re going to play together. It’s going to be a great game.”

Texas State faces Baylor at 11 a.m. on Saturday inside McLane Stadium on Fox Sports 1.

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