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Texas State sophomore safety DeJordan Mask (13) runs onto the field for the kickoff of the first game of season, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, at Bobcat Stadium. Texas State lost to Baylor 29-20.

Texas State football (1-3 overall, 0-0 Sun Belt) is set to host South Alabama (3-1 overall, 0-1 Sun Belt) in its conference opener this weekend after a much-needed bye week.

The all-time series is tied 3-3 between both schools. The ‘Cats lost in their previous matchup against the Jaguars 20-30. The Bobcats are 0-2 at home this season but have a 3-0 record against South Alabama at home.

Texas State dropped its last game 59-21 at Eastern Michigan while South Alabama is fresh off a 20-18 loss against conference opponent Louisiana Lafayette.

South Alabama ranks first in the country in third-down efficiency (defense) and third in the country in red-zone defense. Head Coach Jake Spavital hopes the Bobcats can make contested plays while minimizing mistakes.

“South Alabama is a very quality opponent,” Spavital said. “They’re one of the better defenses in our league. Everything that we do is going to be earned in this game.”

Texas State has 15 players returning from a COVID-19 quarantine. Despite that, Spavital believes that COVID-19 is not the reason for this season’s struggles.

“Adversity happens in this game, and nobody is going to feel sorry for us,” Spavital said. “We didn’t get the job done. We lost those games because we made too many mistakes. When we play loose, I think we play our best ball."

Spavital emphasized the importance of being able to finish games. The Bobcats gave up four touchdowns in the second half against Eastern Michigan and Incarnate Word.

“It comes down to us playing team football," Spavital said. “We need to be more efficient in what we do. Against Eastern Michigan, it was close in the first three quarters then they knocked out 21 points in the fourth.”

The matchup against South Alabama will begin at 6 p.m. on Oct. 9 at Bobcat Stadium. The game will air on ESPN+.

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