- By Keff Ciardello American-Statesman Correspondent
For the first time since 2009, the Texas State Bobcats and the Texas Southern Tigers will meet on the football field. It will be the 10th matchup between the two programs, and Texas State has won the previous nine.
While the Bobcats are coming off a 35-7 loss to Rutgers in their season opener, the Tigers are fresh off a 26-16 season-opening victory over UT-Permian Basin, a Division II program.
“We don’t worry too much about opponents anyway,” Texas State coach Everett Withers said. “We kind of take care of us and we kind of know what they are, and we play them but it’s really about us. The preparation is really about us getting better each week and not really about the opponent.
Texas Southern has “some talent; they’ve got some size. They are a pretty good football team. I think it will be a great second opponent for us,” he said.
Tigers quarterback Glen Cuiellette, a graduate transfer from Tulane, completed 19 of 33 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns in his first game with Texas Southern. He also threw two interceptions, and the Bobcats’ defense is tied for third nationally in interceptions with three.
Withers hasn’t released a depth chart yet, but he did say at his weekly press conference that sophomore Willie Jones III will get his second start at quarterback this season, even though Withers replaced him with true freshman Tyler Vitt in the fourth quarter last week. He said that despite the loss, playing a Big Ten opponent in the first week was the best thing to happen to Jones and the Bobcats.
“The first three games, really the first two for sure, really set up well for us,” Withers said. “We needed to have that Power Five opponent in the beginning. What I took out of that game was that we didn’t look out of place in Piscataway.
“Now we get to play an opponent at home and hopefully clean up some of the mistakes. (Texas Southern) is going to come in and try to challenge us, but if we’re a better football team on Saturday, we have a chance to win the game. That has to be our mindset.
“I think the biggest jump may happen from week one to week two because now the newness of the season and the jitters and all that kind of goes away after week one. Hopefully they’re more settled in week two.”
It will be the first game at Bobcat Stadium since new video boards were put up over the summer. Texas State moved the two old screens to the baseball and softball fields and installed new screens that are five times larger.
“We want the students and the community to come support us,” Texas State corner Kordell Rodgers said. “We would love to have the stadium filled for the first home game. Try to get a win for you guys and boost our confidence again.”
Rodgers grabbed two of the Bobcats’ three interceptions against Rutgers, returning one for a touchdown. He is in a four-way tie for the NCAA lead in interceptions.