By Daven Meredith
KTSW Sports Reporter
SAN MARCOS, Texas – Texas State football enters the bye week with their best record in the programs FBS history.
The Bobcats (5-2, 2-1 SBC) have made plenty of headlines this year, and the season isn’t over with first-year coach G.J. Kinne bringing a new culture and change to a football program that has struggled for many years.
Texas State has yet to be the opponent that many teams had predicted they would be at the beginning of the season. At Sun Belt media day in late July, one of the main questions was how Texas State’s hiring of Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne and his offense, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation overall, would translate from the FCS to the FBS level.
Kinne and offensive coordinator Mack Leftwich have since put doubters at bay as Texas State currently ranks first in the Sun Belt in scoring offense, TDs scored, and total offensive yards. While also cracking the national ranking as the No. 11th-ranked scoring and No. 10-ranked total offense in the nation.
This week, Kinne was named one of 26 coaches on the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year watch list. Being one of five coaches from the group of five conferences selected.
The success and headlines don’t stop with the new coaching staff, but also translate to a roster that saw over 50 new transfer players over the summer.
Former Auburn quarterback TJ Finley has found a home as the signal caller for Leftwich’s dominant offense, currently leading the Sun Belt with 1,941 passing yards on the year. Finley hit the ground running in his debut as a Bobcat in the season opener against the Baylor Bears, where he went 22-30 for 298 passing yards and three TDs on the way to being named Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week.
Joey Hobert, better known as Joe Dirt, has quickly become Finley’s favorite passing target. He leads the team with 612 receiving yards and six TDs on the year. Just last week against ULM, Hobert recorded his third-straight 100-yard receiving game, making him the first Bobcat to do that in the school’s FBS history.
The passing game has been opened up thanks to running back Ismail Mahdi, who has taken San Marcos by storm. The 5′ 9, 180-pound back from East Plano High School has continued to spin, dash, and juke into the headlines. He ranks second in the nation in all-purpose yards with 726 rushing yards, 183 receiving yards, and 203 yards returning kickoffs, one of which he returned for a touchdown earlier this season.
Though the offense has had the spotlight, the Bobcats have had success on both sides of the ball, with the defense quietly ranked second in the country in tackles for loss and 10th in sacks.
Texas State’s success on the field has led to a boost in attendance, up 17 percent year-over-year, and its average through the first three games is its highest since 2016. Last week, the “Pack the Wack” marketing campaign against ULM saw the attendance number crack the top five in all of Bobcat Stadium history.
Texas State looks to continue making headlines and momentum coming out of their bye week as they head into one of their biggest matchups of the season: Texas State’s Homecoming and SWT Throwback game, where they will take on the Troy Trojans, who are currently tied for first in the Sun Belt West Division with the Bobcats.
The kickoff between the Bobcats and the Trojans will be on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 6:00 p.m. at Bobcat Stadium.
Written by: paxtongraf1