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Wyoming Non-Conference Preview: Texas State Bobcats

Wyoming's non-conference football schedule concludes with a visit to the Sun Belt's Texas State Bobcats.

Scott Halleran

The Wyoming Cowboys wrap up their non-conference schedule for 2013 with a visit to the Sun Belt's Texas State Bobcats at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos, Tex. The game kicks off on Saturday, September 28 at 7 p.m. ET. There are no current details about what channel the game will appear on.

Coach: Dennis Franchione (10-14; two years)

2012 record: (4-8) (2-4 in the WAC)

2012 season in review: In the Bobcats' first full season as an FBS team, they managed a very promising 4-8 record. Texas State won their first game of the season -- a major upset over Houston on the road -- while also pulling off wins over established WAC schools New Mexico State and Idaho (plus FCS school Stephen F. Austin). After drawing over 33,000 for the team's first home game, attendance steadily fell as the on-field product dropped off. But as a member of the Sun Belt in 2013, attendance should stay high, with more regional games to boost fan interest. Despite being a very green FBS program in 2012, Texas State still managed to score 28.6 points per game (67th in the country), though they did allow 33.5 per contest (100th overall).

Returning Offensive Starters: 6

Returning Defensive Starters: 7

Key Returning Starters: WR Andy Erickson, CB Craig Mager, NT Blake McCulloch

2013 Strengths: Wide receiver, which should do them pretty well in the Fun Belt -- or at least what's left of last year's most entertaining conference in the land (debatable). Andy Erickson, Isaiah Battle and Brandon Smith are all back, which means plenty of experienced targets in the passing game. The entire defensive line (and their backups) has returned as well, which should mean a much leaner pass-rush than last year's, despite the same players. In 2012, things were bad, as they tallied just 2.5 sacks. The hope is that with more experience in the unconventional 4-2-5, these players yield a lot more results. Defensive back should also be a strong group, as they actually produced better numbers year (14 interceptions, 52 passes defended) and bring back most of that talent.

2013 Weaknesses: This year's iteration of the Bobcats must replace dual-threat QB Shaun Rutherford (748 rushing yards, 2,137 passing yards), which immediately becomes a huge uphill battle. Second-leading rusher Marcus Curry is also gone, forcing more carries upon Terrence Franks and Tim Gay. Both have experience, though they'll need to produce a lot more than last year's combined 548 yards to replace Rutherford and Curry. The defense, though it returns seven starters, could also become an extreme liability. Depth on the defensive line was mentioned as a strength, but if those players -- who did allow 33.5 points per game -- fail to improve in 2013, you're look at a major weakness. Linebacker Joplu Bartu was the best the defense had to offer last year, racking up 78 tackles, 12 TFLs and 5.5 sacks, but he's gone this fall. That leaves quite the gap to fill and for opponents, exploit.

For more on Wyoming, check out SB Nation blog Cowboy Altitude.

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