Eagles host Texas State on ESPNU tonight

Hayden Boudreaux

The Eagles will attempt to bounce back in the national spotlight tonight as they face off against the Texas State Bobcats on ESPNU in Paulson Stadium. If the Eagles can pull out a victory, then they will become eligible for their first bowl game.

The Bobcats are currently in a three way tie for fourth place in the Sun Belt after going 1-1 with a loss to UL Lafayette and a thrilling win over South Alabama.Their only other win of the year came against FCS opponent Prarie View A&M and the other losses coming at the hands of Houston, Southern Miss, and Florida State.

With a stronger-than-usual schedule, the Bobcats have failed to really catch their stride this season. They have currently allowed over 44 points per game and are giving up an average of 258 yards on the ground per game. They have also been weak in the secondary as they have allowed nearly 300 yards passing each game. This could bode well for the Eagle offense if they can manage to establish dominance up front against an athletic defense.

Spearheading the Bobcat defense is junior safety Damani Alexcee. The 6’2″ hard hitting safety currently leads the team in tackles (46), tackles for loss (3), and sacks (2), along with forcing a fumble. With 27 games of experience under his belt he will make it very difficult for the running backs to get past the second and third level of defenders. But to get to the safety, the Eagle runners will have to get past the huge Bobcat linebackers that will be ready to meet them.

Bobcat middle linebacker Trey McGowan stands at 6’0″ and 247 lbs and is a wall in the middle of the field. McGowan is second on the team in tackles (33) and he has even been used on offense as a big blocker. He is flanked by three year starter Jerrid Jeter-Gilmon, who is another mountain at 6’1″ 230lbs. They will not be scared of contact and the Eagle offensive line will have to do a good job of opening running lanes to allow Breida and Ramsby to use their speed to get around the big linebackers..

When looking at the defensive line statistically they do not seem like much of a barrier. No one on the Bobcat defensive line has more than 20 tackles and most have one or two tackles for loss. However, this is largely in part of their gameplan and the teams they have played. The defensive line in this scheme typically likes to try and hold up the offensive lineman and cause the running backs to try to bounce runs outside or run away from blockers and into the linebackers. This, coupled with the fact of other team’s runners breaking into the secondary has allowed for the defensive backfield to pick up a majority of the team tackles.

Tonight’s game is an important opportunity for the Eagle fans, players, and coaches to get over the tough loss last week. The win would keep the team at their second ranked spot in the Sun Belt and, as previously mentioned, would make the Eagles bowl eligible for the first time. This will not be a cake walk, as the Eagles barely escaped last season with a 28-25 victory and this year will likely see a similar close contest. The game kicks off tonight at 7:30pm at Paulson Stadium and on ESPNU.