Hurricane Harvey devastated one of America’s largest cities and affected more than just it’s citizens. With its flood waters stretching across Houston, all the city’s universities were forced to postpone their week 1 games, all but one. In spite of Harvey’s devastation, Houston Baptist University chose to fight on and travel to San Marcos for an in-state FBS season opener.
Texas State was preseason ranked as one of the worst FBS teams in nearly every ranking entering this season, so what a better week 1 opponent than an FCS team entering only their third full season. HBU hasn’t been able to win more than four games in a single year since their beginning, which is fairly understandable for a new team in the tough Southland FCS conference. Similarly, Texas State has enjoyed two straight losing seasons and managed to lose every conference game last year in the Sunbelt.
Due to the recently renowned journalistic pedigree of Chairgatin’, I managed to obtain media credentials for the game, allowing me access to the press box like some kind of big shot. From my elegantly high vantage point, I was able to observe a surprisingly competitive football game. Right away the HBU Huskies looked hyped-up as they stopped the Bobcats on their first drive and immediately answered with a touchdown. HBU freshman QB Bailey Zappe, looked like Ronnie “Sunshine” Bass on the field with an accurate and strong arm (go watch Remember the Titans if you didn’t understand that reference you nerd). Wide receivers, Ethan Fry and freshman Dennis Houston, stood out as studs with a combined 111 yards in the first half. Senior RB Terrance Peters also showcased his abilities in the first half with 53 rushing yards, 18 receiving yards, and 1 TD. All-together the Huskies managed to keep up with the Bobcats going into half at 10-9.
While HBU proved to be a surprisingly competitive FCS team in the first two quarters, Texas State managed to open up in the second half. Senior WR Elijah King stood out as the Bobcat’s game changer in the first half with 85 yards. The true story here however was Mississippi State graduate transfer QB Damian Williams. Williams finished the game with 135 passing yards, 1 TD, and 1 interception, throwing for 18 of 28 passes. He also managed to run in a TD with 13 carries for 43 yards. On defense, junior DE Ishmael Davis, led the team with 9 tackles that included a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
Williams’ return to football was an interesting transition from SEC competition to playing an FCS team. When comparing his game stats to Huskie’s Zappe 21 of 34 passes for 199 yards, it seems fairly unimpressive. This game proved that Texas State is at least as good as we all expected, for whatever that’s worth, and HBU might finally be able to compete in the Southland Conference. The good news for the Bobcats is they have a fairly young team and a HC entering only his second year that appears to have recruiting abilities. Now all they need is to fill up their extremely nice and depressingly empty stadium. Hopefully out-of-conference rival, UTSA, will help with that dilemma in the HEB I-35 Showdown, September 23.
Hurricane Harvey may have devastated the lives of most Houstonians but not the fight of the Houston Baptist Huskies. Although they suffered a loss in San Marcos, HBU has a great young QB-WR duo. As long as I didn’t embarrass Chairgatin’s journalistic integrity too much, I plan on reporting the Texas State game against Appalachian State September 16 to see how the Bobcats fair against a Sunbelt powerhouse.