Everything is at stake on Saturday because the state of Texas makes the journey to South Alabama with bowl eligibility in limbo.
The Bobcats, who’re 3-6 general, should win their final three video games to attain the six-win threshold to qualify for his or her first bowl recreation in program historical past.
Despite a top-notch protection resembling that of Texas State, it was South Alabama’s offense that carried the Jaguars to seven wins and a shot on the Sun Belt West title.
“You’re an explosive offense,” mentioned head coach Jake Spavital. “Their receivers are really explosive and their running backs are big and burly. They are available everywhere.”
The Jaguars’ offense is led by senior La’Damian Wayne, who leads the group with 893 yards and 13 touchdowns on 163 carries.
In final week’s recreation towards Georgia Southern, Wayne completed the sport with 35 carries for 247 yards and 4 touchdowns, all-season highs, in South Alabama’s 38-31 win.
The chief of cross offense for South Alabama is Carter Bradley, a switch from Toledo, who has thrown for two,274 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Receiver Jalen Wayne leads the Jaguars with 46 catches for 672 yards and 7 touchdowns, whereas Caullin Lacy leads the group with 48 catches for 612 yards and three touchdowns.
One of the keys to the Jaguars’ success on offense is their capability to run the ball whereas preserving the protection busy with their play-action cross assault with Bradley at quarterback.
“He’s doing a lot of great things,” Spavital mentioned. “He takes care of soccer and he’s a competitor. He is aware of what he is doing with this technique…they do not ask a lot of him as a passing professional as a result of they’re such a run-RPO (run, cross choice) group. When they make their pictures it is going to be hole safety as a result of their quarterback goes to have a reasonably good time as everybody tries to cease the run and so they arrange the passing recreation.
With the success of South Alabama’s offense taking part in on the prime of their recreation, there will likely be a showdown towards the Bobcat protection.
“With them it will be a big challenge for our defense,” mentioned Spavital. “They play at an especially excessive degree and maintain soccer on the similar time. They’re in all probability one of many higher offenses we’ll face this season.
Despite its quick historical past, the South Alabama-Texas State Series was outlined by its thrilling video games and residential group dominance.
Since it was hosted in 2013 when Texas State switched to the Sun Belt Conference, six of the seven video games between the faculties have been determined by 10 factors or fewer, with the lone exception in 2015 when the Bobcats defeated South Alabama 36-18.
At the beginning of Saturday’s matchup, neither South Alabama nor Texas State beat the opposite on the highway, with the house facet presently undefeated in all house competitions.
This performed a job in final yr’s matchup because the Bobcats shocked the Jaguars in an exhilarating four-overtime recreation to win 33-31.
Kick-off is Saturday at 4 p.m. at Whitney Hancock Stadium in Mobile, Ala.