Texas State and host Baylor are both looking for redemption, but for different reasons, when they open the season on Saturday in Waco, Texas.
Baylor has a bad taste in its mouth after going 6-7 in 2022, one year after the Bears won the Big 12 championship.
Defense was the main culprit last year for Baylor, which allowed nearly 27 points per game.
Baylor fired defensive coordinator Ron Roberts after last season and replaced him with Matt Powledge, but it might take some time for that unit to develop with only five starters back.
That will put more pressure on Baylor junior quarterback Blake Shapen to perform.
Shapen led the Bears to that conference title two years ago but struggled with inconsistency last year.
Fortunately for Shapen, he’ll have two outstanding running backs to hand the ball off to in returnee Richard Reese and Oklahoma State transfer Dominic Richardson.
“The focus is more on us executing things that we’ve been repping all the way back to winter, spring, summer and fall, and our ability to take our base and apply to specific game situations,” Baylor coach Dave Aranda said.
While Baylor looks to bounce back from a down year, Texas State is looking for redemption for its past eight years.
The Bobcats haven’t had a winning season since 2014, and pretty much everything is new with the program.
Texas State has a first-year coach in G.J. Kinne, who coached last season for Incarnate Word in the FCS.
Kinne has 51 new players in the program, including 37 transfers.
“I think that first game will be a lot of (evaluation),” Kinne said. “We want to play as many guys as possible. Obviously, we are trying to win the game. But when you have this many new guys and you don’t have a preseason game or stuff like that, you have to get some (evaluation), especially early.”
This will be the third straight September meeting between the schools. Baylor has won all four in the series.
–Field Level Media