Idaho (1-5) at Texas State (2-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 13, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bobcat Stadium (30,000) -- San Marcos, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: Idaho 1-2, Texas State 1-2. Away Record: Idaho 0-3, Texas State 1-1. Neutral Record: Idaho 0-0, Texas State 0-0. Conference Record: Idaho 1-0, Texas State 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Texas State Bobcats are set to play their first-ever game in the Western Athletic Conference on Saturday night, as they prepare for the arrival of the Idaho Vandals.
Idaho's season did not get off on the right foot, as the team dropped its first five games, including a pair of home games to Eastern Washington (20-3) and Wyoming (40-37). The Vandals finally found the win column last Saturday against New Mexico State, 26-18, to get off to a promising 1-0 start in WAC play, although it was only their third win in their last 18 games dating back to the start of the 2011 season.
In its first game as a member of the FBS, Texas State went on the road and shocked Houston on opening night, 30-13. The Bobcats have come back to Earth since then by losing three of four, with their only other victory coming against FCS foe Stephen F. Austin (41-37).
This bout marks the first time these two programs will face off on the football field.
Through six games, Idaho has proven to possess one of the weakest offensive units in the nation, scoring just 15.5 ppg on 322 ypg. It is coming off a decent 26-point effort against NMSU, but it scored just two touchdowns while having to settle for four field goals from Trey Farquhar (10-of-11 on the season).
Dominique Blackman (132-of-202, 1,250 yards) has put up some impressive yardage totals, throwing for at least 300 yards in three of his five games, but he has more interceptions (10) than touchdown passes (eight). He has also seen his completion percentage drop in nearly every game, down to just .542 last week.
There is an even distribution among the top three receivers, with Jahrie Level (30 receptions, two TDs), Najee Lovett (29 receptions, three TDs), and Mike Scott (24 receptions, TD) all tallying more than 300 yards.
The running game for the Vandals has not been as effective, as the team averages just 3.0 yard per carry on 169 attempts with only one score. Ryan Bass (75 carries, 275 yards) serves as the primary back.
The UI defense has done nothing to pick up the struggling offense as it ranks 112th in the nation in points allowed (38.0 ppg).
Gary Walker has a team-high 51 tackles, and also has an interception and a forced fumble. Quayshawne Buckley (six TFL, four sacks), Maxx Forde (three sacks) and Ben Mayowa (five TFL, three sacks) all do a good job of putting pressure on the quarterback.
Texas State has done a better job putting points on the board than Idaho (23.2 ppg), but has done so behind just 335 ypg.
The Bobcats play a conservative style of offense, so Shaun Rutherford has averaged fewer than 170 yards passing per game, but he has a fantastic completion percentage (.699) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (8-2). Tyler Arndt has seen plenty of snaps under center as well, but he has been clearly inferior to Rutherford (20-of-47, 203 yards, TD, three INTs).
Andy Erickson has hauled in 21 balls for 284 yards and two touchdowns as the primary target in the receiving game. Isaiah Battle (12 for 222, TD) and Chase Harper (12 for 153, three TDs) also gets involved, but no other player has double-digit receptions to this point in the campaign.
Since allowing just 13 points to Houston in the season opener, the Texas State defense (35.4 ppg, 470.2 ypg) has had little success stopping opposing offenses, yielding 34 points or more in four straight contests.
The pass rush is virtually nonexistent as the unit has recorded just three sacks. Craig Mager has two of the team's four interceptions.
Even though these two teams have lackluster offenses, the defenses have played so poorly in the early going that this matchup should be a relatively high- scoring affair. Blackman should be able to exploit the Texas State secondary for big yardage, but he's also bound for a handful of turnovers playing on the road. If the Bobcats can keep their mistakes to a minimum, they should be able to prevail.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas State 34, Idaho 31
10/10 10:34:23 ET