Daniel Guerrero, the mayor of San Marcos, has never seen anticipation in his town quite like this.
Guerrero attended San Marcos High and Texas State (then called Southwest Texas State) and has seen some of the city’s biggest sporting moments, but none of those, he said, will compare to Saturday, when Texas State hosts Texas Tech in its first ever home game against a Big 12 opponent.
“We are anticipating the largest turnout we’ve ever had for an athletic event,” Guerrero said.
These are exciting times for the Bobcats, who are in their first season as a Football Bowl Subdivision member. They started that membership off with a bang last Saturday, when they trounced Houston, 30-13, despite entering the game as five-touchdown underdogs.
“As a coach who has been around as long as I have, you don’t see too many years where so much goes right in the first game,” Texas State coach Dennis Franchione said.
Plenty did for the Bobcats in the victory. They held Houston to just 1 of 16 on third and fourth downs, tallied 450 yards of total offense (250 rushing), turned the ball over just once and committed only four penalties.
Add that recent performance to a newly renovated Bobcat Stadium, which is expecting 30,000 fans, for a school hosting its first Big 12 team, and you have an excited community.
“I don’t get out and about too often,” Franchione said, “but I know there’s a great buzz.”
Guerrero has been around town this week and said he is seeing the buildup of a game the city has prepared for the last two years reaching a fever pitch.
“We are excited to welcome people and show them a good time,” Guerrero said.
Franchione is more concerned with his team turning in another solid performance, adding that Tech presents a “bigger, tougher challenge by far” than did Houston.
For starters, the coach said his team must be more physical against Tech’s wide receivers after getting burned multiple times, particularly in the second half, of Texas State’s 50-10 loss to the Red Raiders in last year’s season opener.
Darrin Moore, who is expected to return Saturday after serving a one-game suspension, caught 12 passes for 221 yards in that contest.
“They have big, tall, fast receivers,” Franchione said. “We’re going to have to have some pressure on the quarterback.”
Meantime, Texas State will rely heavily on its own quarterback, senior Shaun Rutherford, who ran for 83 of Texas State’s 256 yards in the Tech game last year.
Rutherford accounted for 230 total yards and a touchdown against Houston.
“Shaun, he’s kind of a rock in our program,” Franchione said. “You are going to get the same grit and fight and work out of him every day.”
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