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The two worst teams in the Sun Belt go head to head Saturday as the Texas State Bobcats host the South Alabama Jaguars in a West Division contest. Texas State has lost three games in a row all by double digits, while South Alabama is on a five-game losing streak. The Bobcats lost to Louisiana 31-3 over the weekend in a game that got away from them in the third quarter. The Jaguars are coming off a bye week after falling to Appalachian State 30-3 two weeks ago.
With Texas State quarterback Gresch Jensen out with a concussion, head coach Jake Spavital chose to start sophomore Tyler Vitt. The San Antonio native threw for 206 yards but gave away two interceptions that played a big factor in the Bobcats getting blown out. Jensen, a transfer from Montana, is questionable for Saturday. South Alabama, meanwhile, employs a run-heavy offense led by senior Tra Minter, who has 657 yards on the ground.
Jaguars look to get back on trackSouth Alabama head coach Steve Campbell's second year in Mobile isn't going the way he would have liked. The Jaguars are one of the worst teams in FBS behind an offense that averages fewer than half the points (14.9) its defense allows per game (30.4). USA struggles mightily at passing the ball. They average 141.1 yards through the air a game, and sophomore quarterback Cephus Johnson has seven interceptions to five touchdowns. Campbell gave freshman Desmond Trotter a chance behind center against Appalachian St., and the Irondale, AL. native completed three of eight passes for 43 yards.
The Jaguars do a better job running the ball, though they aren't great at that either. Running back Tra Minter has not scored a rushing touchdown since the second game of the season. He did go off for 150 yards against Louisiana Monroe in late September. South Alabama's highest points total came in a 37-14 win over Jackson State; incredibly, its second-highest was against Nebraska in the opening week -- a 35-21 loss.
1️⃣ 1️⃣ MONTHS.— South Alabama Football (@WeAreSouth_FB) October 12, 2019
Construction progress looking 👌. We are so excited for @HancockWhitney Stadium opening up September 12, 2020. Season 🎫 on sale Monday!#2020Vision | #JagNation pic.twitter.com/QoO3yZvE8z
The defense of South Alabama is subpar. The unit has given up 409.8 yards per game. They allow 217 rushing yards on average, which is among the worst in the country. The Jaguars have forced 11 turnovers this year. Sophomore linebacker Nick Mobley leads the team with 65 tackles.
Bobcats hope to rebound at homeSince beginning Sunbelt play with a triple-overtime 37-34 win over Georgia State, the Texas State Bobcats have lost three straight conference games by an average margin of over 20 points. Texas State's last defeat to Louisiana was its worst: a 31-3 beat down in which the Bobcats allowed 479 yards vs. 264 of their own. Without starting quarterback Gresch Jensen, Texas State looked out of sorts offensively and it resulted in their fewest points in over two years.
As Jensen recovers from a concussion, sophomore quarterback Tyler Vitt is seeing starting reps. Vitt took over early on in Texas State's 38-14 loss to Arkansas State and threw one touchdown and two interceptions; it marked his third straight game with a touchdown pass. However, he was held out of the end zone against Louisiana. The Bobcats are one of the worst rushing teams in the country with 79.5 yards on the ground per game.
Regardless of how well the offense plays, Texas State needs better defensive performances to win any of their remaining games. The Bobcats currently allow 30.1 points on average. They give up over 226 rushing yards per game, which is the second-most in the Sunbelt. The rush defense faces a big test in stopping USA running back Tra Minter.
- Bobcats are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
- Bobcats are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight games on fieldturf.
- Bobcats are 1-7-1 ATS in their last nine games overall.
The supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Jaguars are 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
South Alabama and Texas State are fairly evenly matched. They both average a little over two touchdowns and allow over 30 points per game. What gives South Alabama the edge Saturday is Jaguars' running game against a horrid Texas State rush defense. USA running back Tra Minter is an explosive back who put up 94 points on Appalachian State two weeks ago. Expect him to have a big game and keep the Jaguars in this one through the fourth quarter.
Prediction: South Alabama Jaguars +7.5
Full-Game Total Pick
With two of the worst offenses in college football facing off, the under feels like the absolute right call here. Neither team has an ideal quarterback situation. The best QB between them, Texas State's Gresch Jensen, is recovering from a concussion. Even if Jensen plays, don't expect him to be at full health. South Alabama and Texas State are both coming off games where they scored three points. These offenses shouldn't be trusted with your money.
Prediction: Under 41.5