The sports landscape cries out for superstars, heroes, playmakers — the ones that can change a game on a single play.
The Bobcats can be looked at one of two ways: They either have no real superstar on their team, which isn’t always a bad thing — or they have an embarrassment of riches.
However Texas State is viewed through the first two weeks of the season, so far so good. The team competed on the road against nationally ranked — and 2014 semifinalist — Florida State and they spanked Prairie View A&M Saturday to the tune of a record-setting 63-24 victory in front of nearly 25,000 Bobcat fans.
Saturday, Southern Miss comes to town for the first time — the two teams’ first meeting since Texas State upset the Eagles on the road, 22-15, in 2013.
“They were a hungry team,” said wide receiver Brandon Smith. “We expect an even better team this year. We’re a more polished team than we were in 2013. I think we’re more prepared to win the big games and this is a big game.
“They come in with more talent, a more experienced head coach. It should be a good game.”
Smith is one of 14 players on 44 completions through the first two games to catch a pass. His 99 yards and a touchdown leads the group. All four passing touchdowns have been to four different receivers and C.J. Best leads the team with just six receptions.
In the running game, Robert Lowe averages 5.1 yards per carry, Chris Nutall 5.3 and quarterback Tyler Jones 5.8 — all three within eight carries of one another.
“It definitely makes my job easier knowing we’ve got plenty of depth,” Jones said. “We’ve got plenty of guys we can rely on, trust on, to catch the ball, do the right thing and do their jobs. I think it makes the coaches job a little easier and it makes the other team’s job a little harder, figuring out who to cover, who’s our biggest playmaker.”
Defensively, the Bobcats are equally well-matched. David Mims, Dila Rosemond and Damani Alexcee are separated at the top of the tackling leaders by just two solos. Five different players have recorded the team’s five sacks and five different players have the team’s five pass breakups.
“As we’ve moved up, we’re acquiring enough division I talent to put 22 starters on the field that are capable of really playing well in Division I football,” Franchione said. “The next step now is acquiring depth to be two-deep at positions and we’re doing better at that, no doubt.”
The energy will be high at Bobcat Stadium — kickoff is at 6 p.m. The Eagles (1-1) are in a similar position. They fell to the SEC’s Mississippi State than clobbered the lesser Austin Peay. Underdogdynasty.com, a SB Nation affiliate, wrote earlier this week that the game for the Eagles is the “most important game of the season” in propelling the team back to a realistic shot at a bowl bid. 90 percent of fans who participated in the poll also agreed.
Las Vegas odds-makers have Texas State as a three-point favorite.
Jones passed for 2,600 yards last season and is on pace for another season like it. He hasn’t thrown an interception in five straight games dating back to last season.
“It’s only game two but it’s a confidence booster,” Jones said. “I just try to go in, do my job and take care of the ball and do the best I can.”