Idaho (0-4) at Texas State (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 4, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bobcat Stadium (30,000) -- San Marcos, Texas. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Idaho 0-2, Texas State 1-1. Away Record: Idaho 0-2, Texas State 1-1. Neutral Record: Idaho 0-0, Texas State 0-0. Conference Record: Idaho 0-2, Texas State 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 3-3.
GAME NOTES: The Texas State Bobcats will open up their Sun Belt Conference schedule on Saturday night when they play host to the Idaho Vandals at Bobcat Stadium.
Idaho, which has won just two games since the start of the 2012 season, has continued its unfortunate trend as one of the FBS's worst teams early in the campaign with an 0-4 start. The Vandals played host to South Alabama last weekend but came away with a 34-10 loss to drop to 0-2 in league play.
Texas State coughed up a late lead in its bout versus Tulsa last Saturday but managed to come out top in a triple-overtime thriller, 37-34, to pull back to .500 at 2-2. The Bobcats are 1-1 at home, having destroyed Arkansas-Pine Bluff (65-0) and lost to Navy (35-21).
The teams met last November in Moscow, with Texas State coming away with a 37-21 victory. Idaho won the first three matchups in the series in the early 1990s, but Texas State has evened it up with three consecutive wins.
The Vandals' offense hasn't been all that bad this season, as they put up 24.5 ppg and 383.8 ypg, but they had their worst performance of the year their last time out in a 10-point, 269-yard outing versus South Alabama.
Matt Linehan has taken every snap under center. Although he's shown plenty of promise with 319.5 ypg and 10 touchdowns (one rushing) on 60.3 percent completions, he's also tossed eight interceptions.
Joshua McCain is off to an outstanding start out wide with a team-high 28 receptions, while ranking third in the nation in touchdowns (six) and 18th in yards (443). Richard Montgomery (24 receptions, 269 yards, TD) and Deon Watson (20 receptions, 220 yards, TD) round out a strong receiving corps.
While the Vandals' passing game has been solid, the rushing attack has been non existent, ranking 123rd in the nation in gaining just 64.5 ypg on the ground. Jerrel Brown (42 carries, 179 yards) earns the most backfield work.
Idaho's struggles are due mostly to its porous defense, which allows 38.2 ppg and 488.0 ypg.
Marc Millan has racked up a team-high 37 tackles to go with 4.0 TFL and a forced fumble. Quayshawne Buckley (5.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks) and Chris Edwards (two INTs) have also played well for the underachieving unit.
Texas State's offense was a well-oiled machine during the first month of the season, tallying 39.5 ppg and 505.8 ypg, showing great balance between the rushing (227.2 ypg) and passing (278.5 ypg) attacks.
The Bobcats are led by their dual-threat quarterback Tyler Jones. He's completing greater than 70 percent of his passes for 1,073 yards, 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions, and he's dangerous out of the pocket as well with 195 rushing yards and three scores.
Robert Lowe is a great complement to Jones in the backfield, as he's turned 56 carries into 359 yards and two touchdowns. Terrence Franks (124 yards) is often called upon near the goal line with three touchdowns.
Bradley Miller leads the team in both receptions (20) and yards (225), while Ben Ijah (13, 139 yards, three TDs) and Jafus Gaines (12 receptions, 206 yards, four TDs) are both highly effective in the red zone.
Defensively, Texas State could stand to improve, as it allows 27.8 ppg and 400.8 ypg, while forcing just five turnovers through four games.
David Mayo has established himself as one of the Sun Belt's best linebackers, with his 56 tackles more than twice as any of his teammates. The team has 10 sacks but only Kris Petersen (2.0 sacks) has more than one.
The Bobcats will need to tighten up defensively if they want to be considered one of the favorites in the Sun Belt, but at home against a lackluster Idaho squad, it shouldn't matter much. Expect Jones and company to have their way against a suspect Vandals' defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas State 45, Idaho 27
10/01 10:49:36 ET