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Pregame questions for the Bobcats

Here are five questions relevant to the Texas State football teams’ game against Houston. The sports staff will answer these questions following the game.

1. WILL THE TEXAS STATE DEFENSE GET BACK ON TRACK?

To say the Texas State’s defense struggled last week would be an understatement. The Bobcats allowed 56 points and 613 yards against Southern Miss. Now Texas State is traveling to Houston to face off against another high-octane offense. Houston is led by the dual-threat Greg Ward Jr., Cougars junior quarterback, who averages 355 total yards per game, ninth in the nation. The Cougars are averaging 246 rushing yards, which is ranked 17th in the NCAA. This Saturday Texas State’s defense will have another challenge.

Matchups to watch: Texas State vs. Houston

1. Tyler Jones vs. Greg Ward Jr.

This is not a contest between two players competing with each other on the field, but of who will play better as a quarterback. Both players rank in the top-23 in total offense and are coming into a game against defenses ranked in the cellar of the NCAA. Tyler Jones, junior quarterback, and Greg Ward Jr, Cougars junior quarterback, offer dual-threat capability and the defenses should have all eyes on the quarterback. May the best man win.

2. David Mims II vs. Demarcus Ayers

Game preview: Bobcats face familiar foe in last non-conference game

Similar to the game against Prairie View A&M, there is a sense of familiarity with Houston, due to the large majority of Texas State’s players being from that area.

These are players some Bobcats played either with or against in high school. Being focused for this game should not be an issue for Texas State. If Texas State shows up to the Cougars’ backyard like they did in 2012, the Bobcats will be ready to play.

“They’ll speak to it better than I, but I remember in pregame warm-up that night asking a couple of our coaches, ‘Wow. We are kind of weird here, what’s going on?’” said Coach Dennis Franchione. “What it was is they were really ready to play. They had their pencil sharp and they were spot-on.”

Texas State chant: a brief history

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The traditions that surround game-day atmospheres at Texas State is simply one-of-a-kind.

Many students show pride for their school using the Texas State chant, a unique signature yell designed to boost spirit at any point during a Bobcat athletic event.

Shaina Mayberry, head cheer coach, said the tune was created during the 2005 Southland Conference Championship.

“That was one of the bigger things to happen after the school changed its name to Texas State,” Mayberry said. “One side started yelling ‘Texas’ and the other side started yelling ‘State,’ and it was kind of a pivotal moment.”

Mayberry said the chant is an easy way to bring students, staff and faculty together.

Beyond the game: Kaylee Garner, sophomore pitcher

Softball runs in the family for Kaylee Garner, sophomore pitcher.

Garner grew up in the small town of Danbury, a community known for its baseball and softball. Garner’s grandmother, Carol, pioneered the creation of Danbury’s first softball organization in the early 1970s.

Garner earned All-District honors in softball, basketball and volleyball at Danbury High School. She led the Lady Panthers to the class 2A State Championship in her sophomore year and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

In the same season, Garner’s longtime high school coach, Tim Timmons, began battling leukemia.

Beyond the game: Kimberlin Naivar, sophomore outfielder

Kimberlin Naivar, sophomore outfielder, was faced with a test in her freshman season. 

Naivar played three seasons as a starter in high school. As a freshman, she started in only six collegiate games. She recorded two runs batted in for the entire 2014 season.

“There’s always that big jump coming out of high school going into Division I softball,” said Coach Ricci Woodard. “A lot of players don’t know how to handle the adversity of being successful right away.”

Naivar’s roommate, Lexi Fryar, sophomore utility player, has noticed the dedication that drives her teammate toward goals.

“She’s one of the hardest-working people I know,” Fryar said. “She’s a great person all around and just likes to push herself and the people around her. She pushes me a lot.”

Beyond the game: Braegan Hamilton, freshman outfielder

Braegan Hamilton, freshman outfielder, grew up in Baytown, where participating in a traveling club softball team is considered essential.

Hamilton attended Barbers Hill High school, where she aided her team in four consecutive district titles and earned Second-Team All-District honors.

Hamilton traveled with the nationally known Texas Bombers club team.

“Where I’m from, the big thing to do is play for a travel softball team,” Hamilton said. “It wasn’t even a question of if I wanted to play in college. When I got recruited as a sophomore in high school, it was just the coolest thing in the world.”

Potential university softball players sometimes have trouble getting the exposure necessary to network themselves on a national level.

Bobcats to visit No. 25 Aggies for a midweek matchup

Wednesday’s mid-week matchup for the Texas State softball team could turn out to be one of the Bobcats’ biggest challenges of the season.

The Texas A&M Aggies, currently ranked 25th in the nation, are set to host the Bobcats for the team’s last non-conference matchup.

The Aggies have an overall 59-10 series advantage, but the Bobcats are on a seven-game winning streak while Texas A&M has dropped its last three matchups this season.

“It’s a good part of the year to be on a win streak,” said Coach Ricci Woodard. “One of the reasons you schedule these challenging games at the end of the season is because we want be playing our best ball in May.”

Get to know: Randi Rupp, freshman pitcher

PL: What is it like to share the same birthday with both of your sisters?

RR: I think it’s pretty cool. When I tell people that, they always are like, “No you’re lying! That’s not true!” And I’m like, “No, I promise.” So, I don’t know. I think it’s pretty cool.

PL: Do you have a favorite baseball/softball player? Why?

RR: Cat Osterman. Whenever she came here, I was like, “That’s my idol.” You know, it was all about Cat and Jennie (Finch) when I was growing up. And now I get to come here and play for her, which is pretty cool.

PL: When did you first start playing softball?

Rupp named Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week

Randi Rupp, freshman pitcher, is the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week for the second time in a row.

Rupp allowed two earned runs in 24.1 innings last week, leading to the Bobcats to four wins. In her four starts, opposing hitters struck out 31 times and recorded eight hits.

Rupp, averaging 8.4 strikeouts per seven innings, is fourth in program history in season strikeouts (267). She is four strikeouts away from moving into third place all-time.

The Bobcats’ cumulative earned run average is 6.62 excluding Rupp. The team’s earned run average drops to 3.97 when Rupp (2.83 earned run average) is included.

Texas State, 29-19 overall, has four games remaining before the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

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