Last year, Baylor opened their season against the Texas State Bobcats, and the 29-20 victory left many Baylor fans anxious for what was to come. I think it’s safe to say that we’re in a similar spot early on in this season — anxious to learn more about what this iteration of the team will look like.
Below, I detail Texas State’s stats from last season, note their key offseason departures, and present their stats so far for this season. For additional Texas State coverage, be sure to check out the game hub, which includes Baylor’s updated depth chart, Mark first look, and more!
Texas State in 2021
I think it’s fair to say that there were about 100 passing offenses better than Texas State’s last season. The Bobcats ranked 101st in pass yards per game (193), 101st in completion percentage (57.6%), 90th in passing touchdowns per game (1.3), and 99th in interceptions per game (1.0).
Texas State began the season with third-year sophomore Brady McBride, who carried the team to a 2-5 record (fun fact: both of those wins came in overtime). McBride then missed two games due to injury, fourth-year junior Tyler Vitt filled in for two games, won the starting job, and finished out the season with a 2-3 record. Overall, the two QBs had similar stats.
The vast majority of Texas State’s catches went to wide receivers — tight ends had only eight receptions all year — and two receivers accounted for almost half of the team’s receiving yards — juniors Javen Banks and Marcell Barbee. You may remember Barbee from Baylor’s season opener last year: he led the team in receptions (4), receiving yards (56), and receiving touchdowns (1)
A bright spot on Texas State’s offense was their offensive line. PFF rated three of their starting linemen with a pass blocking grade of 80 or higher, and their 6.0% sack rate was good for 54th in the country. The starters graded even better on run blocking; their “worst” starter had a run blocking grade of 70.9.
Texas State’s rushing offense was relatively better than their passing offense but still below average in absolute terms. The Bobcats averaged 149 rushing yards per game (78th in the country), 4.0 yards per carry (87th in the country), and 1.4 TDs per game (86th in the country).
Redshirt sophomore Calvin Hill led the way with 714 yards on 128 carries, but most of the scoring came from redshirt sophomore Jahmyl Jeter. Both QBs scrambled a non-trivial amount, but Vitt was much more successful when doing so. He had 7.4 non-sack rushes per game and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. McBride averaged one fumble a game.
Texas State struggled as much on defense as they did offense. The Bobcats allowed 33 points per game (108th in the country), and they were equally as bad stopping the pass as stopping the run. Nationally, Texas State was ranked 98th in passing yards allowed, 124th in passing TDs allowed, 101st in rushing yards allowed, and 80th in rushing TDs allowed.
The defensive deficiencies began upfront. Texas State allowed an opportunity rate of 52% (105th in the country), a power success rate of 73% (87th in the country), a stuff rate of 14% (113th in the country), and a sack rate of 4.3% (115th in the country). In other words — opponents’ offensive lines did a good job gaining 4+ yards regularly, picking up first downs in short-yardage situations, stopping backs from getting tackled behind the line of scrimmage, and protecting the QB.
Most of Texas State’s defensive stops came from the linebacking corps. Standouts included redshirt junior LB Sione Tupou (54 tackles, 2 sacks), senior LB Markeveon Coleman (50 tackles, 2 sacks), sophomore LB Issiah Nixon (34 tackles, 5 sacks).
● LB Spotlight ●— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) August 9, 2022
Sione Tupou - Texas State
• Tupou has been spectacular for the Bobcats. In his career he has 219 Tackles, 6 Tackles for Loss, 1 Sack, 2 Pass Breakups, 4 Fumble Recoveries and 2 Forced Fumbles. pic.twitter.com/8FxSCllGmb
In the secondary, redshirt freshmen safety Zion Childress was tied for first on the team in interceptions with...1...and was third on the team with 5 pass breakups. Cornerbacks D.C. Williams and Kordell Rogers had 6 PBUs each and led the position group in snaps. Both had mediocre coverage grades overall per PFF.
Key Departures and Additions for Texas State in 2022
McBride is now a backup QB at App State, and Vitt is focusing on getting his MBA. In their place is Arkansas State’s previous starting QB Layne Hatcher. Hatcher ended last season with a 59% completion percentage, 2,423 passing yards, 19 TDs, and 13 INTs. He’s not much of a scrambler, though, and he had only 8 non-sack rushes last season.
Texas State returns their two best offensive linemen — Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team LT Dalton Cooper and Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team RG Kyle Hergel. Starting LG Liam Dobson graduated and has been replaced by Alex Costilla who played in only one game last season. Starting C Charles Fletcher graduated, replaced by back-up/occasional starting C/LG/RT senior Russell Baker. Texas A&M-Commerce transfer Richard West has taken over at RT.
Of their top seven receivers from last season, only Trevis Graham (fourth on team with 290 yards) is no longer on the roster. The Bobcats also added redshirt freshman Charles Brown from Montana State. Brown is currently second on the team with 114 receiving yards on 3 receptions (long 67).
Calvin Hill and Jahmyl Jeter return as the top running backs for the team, but now the rotation also includes sophomore Lincoln Pare who transferred with Hatcher from Arkansas State.
Lincoln Pare ended his high school career as Houston’s all-time and single-season rushing record holder.— Khari Thompson (@_KhariThompson) November 30, 2019
“I think that kid can play at the next level and have a lot of success no matter how big the school."-Ravenwood coach Matt Daniels saidhttps://t.co/6nCBKQfjMC pic.twitter.com/r4jqWMB8JT
On defense, Texas State replaces their three starting defensive linemen: two to graduation and one (Jordan Revels) to position relocation. In their place are Texas Tech transfer Nelson Mbanasor, Louisiana Tech transfers (and brothers) Levi Bell and Ben Bell, and former back-up/4-game starter Nico Ezidore.
The linebacker group is mostly intact. Returning starters include redshirt senior London Harris, Tupou, and the aforementioned Revels.
The roster looks least familiar in the secondary. Promising young safety Zion Childress? Now at Kentucky. Corners D.C. Williams and Michael LoVett III? Both graduated. In their place are Alonzo Edwards Jr. from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (3 tackles, 1 INT) and previous backup Chris Mills (11 tackles, 0 INT or PBUs).
Texas State performance in 2022 so far
Texas State is one and one with a win over FIU and loss to Nevada. It’s a small sample, so I wouldn’t read too much into what they’ve done so far.
Offensively, they are slightly better than where they were last season. Hatcher is averaging 260 passing yards per game, a 60% completion percentage, and 3 sacks per game. The running backs have 132 yards per game with 4.5 yards per carry. As a team, their 27.5 points per game is almost 4.5 points per game better than in 2021.
Defensively, the Bobcats also appear to be slightly better. They have allowed 25 points per game, an improvement of 8 points per game from last season. They already have 7 sacks, which is 28% of what they had all of last year. They’re also only allowing 3.0 yards per carry (not adjusted for sacks).
How Baylor and Texas State matchup
Texas State should struggle to score against Baylor’s defense. They aren’t Albany bad, but they are a steep step down from BYU. I expect Baylor’s front to shut down their run game, and Texas State will have to air it out in the second half. Their receivers will likely make some plays against Baylor’s secondary, but it won’t be enough to make this game uncomfortable.
The bigger question is Baylor’s offense. There’s a significant difference between FEI and SP+’s predictions for Baylor’s score, and I won’t pretend to know what’s going to happen on this side of the ball. Baylor should be able to maintain a balanced passing/rushing attack, pick apart Texas State’s inexperienced secondary, and run efficiently against a non-stacked box. We’ll find out soon enough!
FEI Prediction: Baylor 34.5, Texas State 7.3
SP+ Prediction: Baylor 45, Texas State 7
FPI Prediction: Baylor 97%