FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — In its first game under head coach Everett Withers, Texas State overcame long odds to beat Ohio 56-54 in triple overtime. Then, the Bobcats were off in Week 2.
No. 24 Arkansas hosts Texas State on Saturday evening in the first meeting between the two programs.
Ishmael Johnson, the sports editor and Texas State beat writer for the San Marcos Record, joined SEC Country’s Borderline Erotic Podcast on Wednesday afternoon to help preview the game.
What follows is a cutdown version of that conversation.
Q: Texas State opened the season with a huge, emotional victory and then got a week off. Did that give them an advantage with early Arkansas preparations, or did it halt their momentum?
I’ve heard about 50-50. Some of the players wanted to keep rolling. Some of the players and coaches thought that maybe there was enough to take from Ohio that they could work on some internal stuff and that was good to have a week to do that. They didn’t start game planning for Arkansas until I believe Sunday. I know some of the players and coaches watched the TCU-Arkansas game together, but last week was pretty much 100 percent internal work. I don’t think they really used it for Arkansas, so I don’t know if it’s a benefit for that.
Quarterback Tyler Jones brings a lot of experience into this game. What kind of quarterback is he?
He’s a dual-threat, athletic guy. I’ve been saying to a lot of people who’ve asked about Tyler Jones, his best attribute is his deception on the read option. Not in terms of athleticism. I don’t like to use the phrase “deceptive speed.” He’s just flat-out athletic, but his deception on the read option, knowing when to pull the ball, knowing when to keep it, was pretty much on display against Ohio. … His other attribute that is why a lot of coaches view him as a game changer is when the play breaks down, he does know what to do. That edge rusher comes off, he can step up in the pocket and make things happen on his own.
After a 3-9 season last year and with a new head coach, what are reasonable expectations for Texas State this season?
A lot of fans have tempered expectations because of a lot of the true freshmen he’s playing. I believe there were 20-plus players playing their first FBS game against Ohio. He has a lot of walk-ons. … I think the overall hope, as far as fans go, was not 3-9, but if they get six wins, that’s perfect. That’s probably surpassing everybody’s expectations. They just wanted to see some change.