2013 Texas State football's 10 things to know: Year 2's (reasonably) high expectations

Scott Halleran

Texas State's first year at the FBS level went about as well as could have been reasonably expected; the Bobcats have some questions to answer in year two, but the ceiling is reasonably high. The basics and much more below.

Confused? Check out the glossary here.

1. Four years, three conferences.

Texas State was a member of the Southland Conference in 2010 (it went 4-7), an Independent transitioning from FCS to FBS in 2011 (6-6), and a member of the WAC in 2012 (4-8). With the WAC's demise, TXST caught a ride on the Sun Belt bus. Granted, further instability could land the Bobcats in yet another conference soon, but in theory the Sun Belt isn't going anywhere, and Texas State might have the same conference foes for at least two straight years.

2. Dennis Franchione is making upgrades in a hurry.

Of the four FBS newcomers in 2012, Texas State put the most high-quality overall product on the field. UMass ranked 122nd in the 2012 F/+ rankings and went just 1-11, South Alabama ranked 118th and went 2-11, and UTSA ranked 116th and went 6-4 (versus FBS/FCS opponents). Thanks to two tight losses (62-55 to Louisiana Tech at home, 38-31 to UTSA on the road), the Bobcats went just 4-8, but a No. 99 F/+ ranking (just below Washington State, just ahead of Wyoming and Air Force) suggests that they were close to something much better. Texas State couldn't play a lick of defense, and that eventually cost them (as it usually does), but this team had a decent amount of promise. And in the 2013 recruiting class, head coach Dennis Franchione, now in his third season in San Marcos, brought in eight three-star recruits and 10 junior college transfers. He isn't wasting time in his efforts to upgrade this program, and his squad should be expected to compete reasonably well, reasonably quickly, in the Sun Belt.

2012 Schedule & Results

Record: 4-8 | Adj. Record: 4-8 | Final F/+ Rk: 99
Date Opponent Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L
9/1 at Houston 30-13 W 28.8 - 19.5 W
9/8 Texas Tech 10-58 L 21.0 - 40.8 L
9/22 Stephen F. Austin 41-37 W 35.8 - 38.2 L
9/29 Nevada 21-34 L 16.4 - 28.5 L
10/6 at New Mexico 14-35 L 12.6 - 32.4 L
10/13 Idaho 38-7 W 37.3 - 35.6 W
10/27 at San Jose State 20-31 L 28.7 - 33.4 L
11/3 at Utah State 7-38 L 21.3 - 37.4 L
11/10 Louisiana Tech 55-62 L 36.9 - 27.4 W
11/17 at Navy 10-21 L 19.9 - 31.5 L
11/24 at UTSA 31-38 L 24.7 - 40.5 L
12/1 New Mexico State 66-28 W 40.3 - 33.9 W
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
Points Per Game 28.6 67 33.5 100
Adj. Points Per Game 27.0 72 33.3 103

3. That could have gone worse.

If TXST had managed a 3-0 record in one-possession games, the Bobcats could have eked out .500 in their first FBS season. That didn't happen, of course (and it was just as close to 3-9 as 6-6), but between the upset win at Houston to start the season, competitive showings against Nevada, San Jose State and (especially) Louisiana Tech, and easy, systematically destructive wins over Idaho and New Mexico State (combined score: 104-35), Texas State proved it belonged at the low-FBS level and that there wouldn't be any sort of major transition period before they could expect to succeed.

In the end, that's really all you can hope for during the FBS transition. Fans may hope for a Marshall-like transition, but that almost never happens.

Offense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
Overall 81 95 94 75
Rushing 46 43 67 27
Passing 95 110 108 107
Standard Downs
66 67 66
Passing Downs
98 114 93
Redzone
36 44 32
Q1 Rk 17 1st Down Rk 73
Q2 Rk 96 2nd Down Rk 105
Q3 Rk 104 3rd Down Rk 91
Q4 Rk 121

4. The gameplans were great.

Texas State had a pretty ferocious first-half offense in 2012. The Bobcats averaged 19.2 points per game in the first half, and averaged 13 points in the first quarter of their four wins. It didn't last, of course; TXST averaged just 9.4 points per game in the second half (6.9 in losses), suggesting that while the attack and intent were pretty good, there was not enough depth or versatility to account for the adjustments defenses were typically able to make as a game went on. The fan in us wants to scream, "They couldn't make halftime adjustments!" when we see something like this; but really, TXST probably just didn't have the horses.

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2013 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Comp Att Yards Comp
Rate
TD INT Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Shaun Rutherford 193 299 2,137 64.5% 15 5 28 8.6% 6.1
Tyler Arndt 6'4, 221 Sr. *** (5.7) 22 56 208 39.3% 1 3 0 0.0% 3.7
Fred Nixon 6'3, 200 RSFr. *** (5.5)





Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Rushes Yards Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Carry
TD Adj.
POE
Shaun Rutherford QB 140 748 5.3 4.1 5 +0.7
Marcus Curry RB 113 685 6.1 6.9 10 +10.7
Terrence Franks RB 5'10, 194 Jr. NR 64 269 4.2 4.6 5 -4.7
Tim Gay RB 5'11, 210 So. ** (5.3) 27 279 10.3 9.5 1 +12.1
Isaiah Battle WR-Z 5'11, 190 Sr. NR 11 68 6.2 13.0 0 +1.3
Tim Hawkins WR-Z 8 113 14.1 7.3 1 +7.8
Robert Lowe RB 5'10, 200 So. *** (5.6) 8 76 9.5 16.3 1 +4.8
Tyler Arndt QB 6'4, 221 Sr. *** (5.7) 4 35 8.8 8.0 1 +4.8
C.J. Best RB 5'10, 195 Jr. *** (5.5)
Jamel James RB 5'11, 220 Fr. *** (5.6)

5. Style did not match strength in 2012.

With Shaun Rutherford and tailback Marcus Curry, Texas State had a pretty impressive pair of ground-gainers in the backfield. Throw in Tim Gay and Terrence Franks, and you had a foursome that combined for 1,981 yards (5.8 per carry) and 21 touchdowns. But in the end, attempted balance actually somewhat hurt Texas State. As you see above, the Bobcats actually passed more than the national average on standard downs, trying to take pressure off of the run game with early-down passing. But opponents caught on and adapted to this pretty quickly, and the passing game struggled mightily for much of the year.

Offensive co-coordinators Mike Schultz and Jeff Conway clearly want balance in their offense, but while that approach almost hurt in 2012, balance might be the only way forward for the Bobcats in 2013. Both Rutherford and Curry are gone, and while the backfield could still be loaded -- Franks and Gay return and are joined by three-star junior college transfer C.J. Best and three-star Jamel James -- it doesn't appear there will be the same run threat from the quarterback position. So a receiving corps that features a few interesting, semi-efficient weapons will need to raise its collective game a bit. And so will senior quarterback Tyler Arndt, or whoever happens to win the starting job.

Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Target
Rate
%SD Real
Yds./
Tgt
Andy Erickson WR 5'10, 170 Sr. ** (5.4) 62 39 482 62.9% 19.0% 56.5% 7.9
Isaiah Battle WR-Z 5'11, 190 Sr. NR 43 26 428 60.5% 13.1% 62.8% 9.7
Chase Harper TE 33 28 315 84.8% 10.1% 48.5% 9.8
Brandon Smith WR-X 6'2, 170 So. ** (5.4) 30 21 226 70.0% 9.2% 60.0% 7.5
Marcus Curry RB 28 19 167 67.9% 8.6% 35.7% 6.7
Jafus Gaines WR-H 5'11, 170 So. *** (5.5) 28 14 114 50.0% 8.6% 50.0% 4.0
Bradley Miller TE 6'5, 221 Jr. *** (5.5) 25 14 126 56.0% 7.6% 60.0% 5.0
Ben Ijah WR-Z 6'3, 210 Jr. NR 24 17 132 70.8% 7.3% 58.3% 5.4
Deche Milburn WR-H 5'11, 190 Jr. *** (5.6) 23 18 165 78.3% 7.0% 56.5% 7.1
Terrence Franks RB 5'10, 194 Jr. NR 14 10 150 71.4% 4.3% 71.4% 10.8
Tim Hawkins WR-Z 9 4 45 44.4% 2.8% 44.4% 5.6
Kristofer Petersen TE 6'4, 235 Jr. ** (5.4)
Lawrence White TE 6'7, 250 Jr. ** (5.3)
Ryan Carden TE 6'4, 250 Jr. ** (5.3)
Brice Gunter WR 6'3, 185 Fr. *** (5.5)
Demun Mercer WR 6'2, 185 Fr. *** (5.5)

6. Andy Erickson is fun.

Like Georgia State with Albert Wilson, Texas State has a lovely receiving-and-returns threat in senior Andy Erickson. The Rice transfer was the steadiest weapon in the passing game, and he was a particularly dangerous punt return man. Senior Isaiah Battle, two three-star freshmen, and three incoming junior college tight ends could assure that defenses cannot key on Erickson; that could be a very good thing for TXST.

Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 103.8 3.28 3.70 43.6% 71.4% 15.3% 60.0 9.3% 6.8%
Rank 53 14 19 16 46 12 118 118 68
2012 Two-Deep Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Career Starts/Honors/Notes
Charlie Will Tuttle LG 6'2, 293 Jr. NR 18 career starts
Thaddeus Watkins RT 18 career starts
Matt Freeman C 6'2, 279 So. NR 9 career starts
Adley Eshraghipour LT 8 career starts
Devin Baker RT 6'5, 283 Sr. NR 8 career starts
Zach Crawford RG 6'2, 298 So. NR 5 career starts
Mike Yoder RG 6'5, 297 Sr. ** (5.3) 5 career starts
Colin Fissell C 6'2, 289 Jr. NR 4 career starts
Tyler Potter RG 6'4, 300 Sr. ** (5.3) 1 career start
Adrian Bellard LT 6'5, 310 So. *** (5.5)
Brandon Serabia OL 6'4, 300 Jr. ** (5.4)

Defense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
Overall 119 91 95 92
Rushing 120 107 99 108
Passing 93 85 90 85
Standard Downs
91 95 90
Passing Downs
93 90 95
Redzone
63 70 67
Q1 Rk 118 1st Down Rk 81
Q2 Rk 99 2nd Down Rk 98
Q3 Rk 94 3rd Down Rk 60
Q4 Rk 31

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 87.7 3.48 3.51 48.2% 70.4% 15.4% 42.4 1.1% 2.7%
Rank 114 121 91 124 82 108 121 124 119
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Blake McColloch NT 6'5, 271 Sr. NR 12 23.5 3.4% 6.5 2.0 0 2 2 2
Jamie Clavell-Head DE 6'3, 277 Sr. NR 12 20.0 2.9% 1.0 0.0 2 1 0 0
Kamu Taulelei DT 6'1, 276 Sr. *** (5.5) 12 19.5 2.8% 0.5 0.5 0 0 0 0
Jordan Norfleet DE 6'2, 241 Sr. NR 12 17.0 2.5% 3.0 0.0 0 0 0 2
Tylond Robertson DE 6'3, 242 So. *** (5.5) 11 15.0 2.2% 4.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Jonathan Ward DE 12 14.0 2.0% 1.0 0.0 0 0 0 1
Deshun Williams DT 5'11, 299 Sr. NR 10 11.0 1.6% 0.5 0.0 0 0 0 0
Darius Hood NT 6'0, 285 So. NR 10 9.0 1.3% 0.5 0.0 0 0 0 0
Thomas Evans DE 6'4, 245 Sr. *** (5.5) 10 3.5 0.5% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
D.J. Yendrey (2011) DT 6'4, 273 Sr. ** (5.3) 13 28.0 3.9% 5.5 3.0 0 0 0 2
Donald Hopkins DT 6'2, 285 So. *** (5.7)








Kingsley Ike DE 6'4, 230 RSFr. *** (5.5)








Marcus Dallas, Jr. DE 6'4, 245 Jr. ** (5.4)





7. Texas State's defensive line logged 2.5 sacks in 2012.

That's really, really bad. It is quite possible that Texas State had the worst pass rush in the country last season, and with the departure of linebacker Joplo Bartu, the Bobcats must replace the only player on the roster who took down the quarterback more than twice. And unlike the secondary, the front six (TXST runs a 4-2-5) was not supplemented significantly by recruiting; improvement depends, in part, on three transfers: D.J. Yendrey (from TCU), Donald Hopkins (from Houston) and Kingsley Ike (from Purdue). A fourth transfer (Mike Orakpo from Colorado State; and yes, Franchione is taking a chance on both a player involved in last year's TCU arrests and Orakpo, who was kicked out of CSU for his role in a fight) should contribute immediately at linebacker. The front line absolutely has to figure out how to be more disruptive if the newly plumped secondary is going to succeed to any certain degree.

Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Joplo Bartu MIKE 12 78.0 11.3% 12.0 5.5 0 1 1 1
David Mayo SAM 6'2, 228 Sr. ** (5.4) 7 31.5 4.6% 1.0 0.0 0 1 0 1
Jerrid Jeter-Gilmon MIKE 6'0, 218 So. *** (5.5) 12 29.5 4.3% 2.0 0.0 1 0 0 1
Damion McMiller SAM 6'3, 230 Sr. ** (5.3) 11 25.0 3.6% 2.0 0.0 0 1 1 0
Brian Lilly SAM 11 22.0 3.2% 1.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
Drew Hamilton LB 6'0, 215 Jr. NR 12 5.5 0.8% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Mike Orakpo (2011) LB 6'1, 225 Jr. ** (4.9) 12 67.0 10.1% 3.0 0.0 1 1 0 0

Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Jason McLean S 11 58.0 8.4% 2.0 0.0 0 6 1 0
Xavier Daniels FS 6'0, 168 Sr. NR 12 54.0 7.8% 0.0 0.0 0 5 1 1
Darryl Morris CB 12 53.5 7.8% 2.0 0.0 4 5 0 0
Craig Mager CB 5'11, 191 Jr. NR 12 44.0 6.4% 1.0 0.0 4 8 0 0
Justin Iwuji WS 5'11, 201 Sr. NR 12 34.5 5.0% 3.0 0.0 1 1 1 1
Phillip Benning WS 6'0, 175 Sr. NR 11 28.5 4.1% 2.0 0.0 0 3 0 0
Chad Moncure S 6'0, 189 Jr. *** (5.6) 12 18.5 2.7% 2.5 1.0 0 2 0 0
Tyler Chase FS 5'10, 186 Jr. NR 12 15.5 2.3% 1.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Colby Targun S 5'11, 190 Jr. ** (5.4) 10 13.5 2.0% 1.0 0.0 1 1 0 0
Zach Velliquette CB 5'10, 183 Sr. NR 11 7.5 1.1% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Justin Albritton DB 5'11, 185 RSFr. *** (5.6)
Martel Summers DB 6'1, 190 RSFr. *** (5.5)
Brandon Jones DB 6'2, 210 Jr. *** (5.5)
Trey Garrett DB 6'0, 200 Jr. *** (5.5)
Donta Clanton DB 5'10, 195 Jr. ** (5.3)
Dila Rosemond DB 5'10, 180 Fr. *** (5.6)
Germod Williams DB 5'11, 185 Fr. *** (5.5)

8. Dennis Franchione signed a ton of defensive backs.

Seven members of the 22-man recruiting class are defensive backs (assuming star freshman Dila Rosemond ends up in the secondary as planned), and three are junior college transfers. This pretty clearly suggests that Franchione and company were unhappy with the play of the five-man secondary last year. I struggle with this a bit -- if your pass rush is entirely nonexistent, your secondary is behind the 8-ball before we can even find out if it's any good; regardless, one should assume that Franchione now has the warm bodies available to maximize the speed the 4-2-5 emphasizes.

Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Zach Robinson 6'3, 185 Sr. 26 46.2 0 7 13 76.9%
Will Johnson 6'3, 192 Jr. 22 41.0 0 11 9 90.9%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB TB%
Will Johnson 6'3, 192 Jr. 37 63.8 20 54.1%
Jason Dann 6'0, 175 Jr. 27 61.7 10 37.0%
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Will Johnson 6'3, 192 Jr. 43-44 7-9 77.8% 5-8 62.5%
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Returns Avg. TD
Jafus Gaines KR 5'11, 170 So. 28 28.9 0
Isaiah Battle KR 5'11, 190 Sr. 12 17.8 0
Andy Erickson KR 5'10, 170 Sr. 7 26.3 0
Andy Erickson PR 5'10, 170 Sr. 17 16.7 0
Category Rk
Special Teams F/+ 14
Net Punting 16
Net Kickoffs 28
Touchback Pct 8
Field Goal Pct 105
Kick Returns Avg 87
Punt Returns Avg 15

9. Special teams are special.

The special teams unit is incredibly variable from year to year, but one would assume that a Texas State unit that ranked 14th and returns both punters, its place-kicker, a good kickoffs guy and explosive returners in Andy Erickson and Jafus Gaines, should once again be a strength.

2013 Schedule, Summary and Projection Factors

2013 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
8/31 at Southern Miss 86
9/7 Prairie View A&M NR
9/21 at Texas Tech 45
9/28 Wyoming 105
11/2 at Idaho 121
? Arkansas State 61
? Georgia State 125
? South Alabama 118
? Troy 101
? UL-Lafayette 73
? UL-Monroe 82
? Western Kentucky 94
Five-Year F/+ Rk 105
Two-Year Recruiting Rk 104
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin* +10 / +7.6
TO Luck/Game +1.0
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 13 (6, 7)
Yds/Pt Margin** -1.2

10. Texas State might make a run at a bowl in 2013.

We don't yet know what the home-road splits will be in the Sun Belt schedule, and that could make a pretty big difference for Texas State. But with winnable non-conference home games versus Prairie View A&M and Wyoming, a winnable road trip to Idaho (and, in theory, Southern Miss), and three conference games versus teams projected 100th or worse, Texas State has a reasonable path toward six wins if the Bobcats can once again put a Top 100 product on the field. If the special teams unit takes a negative turn, the quarterback situation is not resolved, and the enhancements to the defensive personnel don't immediately take, however, a second-year regression isn't out of the question.

Texas State's first year at the FBS level went about as well as could have been reasonably expected; the Bobcats have some questions to answer in year two, but the ceiling is reasonably high.

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