ProvoTexas State is only in its 10th year of FBS football and has never played BYU. But it turns out that the No. 12 Cougars know a little bit about about the Bobcats. And that could come in handy when the two teams meet Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

BYU’s second-year offensive line coach, Eric Mateos, was Texas State’s offensive line coach from 2017-18, just before coming to Provo, and he is still familiar with a lot of the veteran Bobcat players. Mateos continues to root for those players every week — except for this one.

“It’s a school with a lot of history and it’s traditionally made a lot of noise,” Mateos said, looking back to Texas State’s days as a Division II and Division I-AA (now FCS) powerhouse.

While the Bobcats still getting used to the tougher waters of FBS, its 2020 record so far doesn’t tell a full story. Texas State is 1-5 and on a three-game losing streak, but three of its five losses have come by a single score or less.

One of those heartbreakers was against UTSA, which gave BYU a bit of trouble as well. The Bobcats took the Roadrunners to double overtime back on Sept. 12 before eventually falling, 51-48.

Texas State is winless versus ranked FBS opponents and BYU is both on a roll and a four-touchdown favorite entering Saturday’s game, but that doesn’t mean the Bobcats can’t make things difficult for the Cougars.

New BYU offensive line coach Eric Mateos at the Cougars' spring practice on Monday, March 4, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, BYU photo).

Texas State’s offense is led by sophomore quarterback Brady McBride, who has thrown 809 yards and six touchdowns while completing 61% of his passes. The Bobcats' top receiver and running back are, respectively, Jeremiah Haydel and Calvil Hill.

Haydel is averaging 12.5 yards per reception and has made three scoring receptions, while Hill has 325 yards on 62 carries (5.2 average) and has three rushing touchdowns.

BYU will surely be aiming to make another statement Saturday The unbeaten Cougars need to continue to impress both pollsters and the College Football Playoff selection committee as they continue to drive for a possible New Year’s Day bowl berth.

BYU also knows it has a bullseye on its back.

“That’s the mindset, you can’t flinch,” BYU safeties coach Preston Hadley said. “College football — it’s hard to win. With the success we’ve had this season, we’re now the hunted. You’ve got to continue to step into every game and throw the first punch. You can’t flinch. You can’t turn your cheek. You’ve got to sell out every game. And I think the players do that.”

Throughout the 2020 season, as BYU has seen continued success and has received national recognition week after week, Mateos has shared a slogan with his team: Don’t drink the poison.

This week, particularly, is one where the Cougars can’t afford to listen to the hype. For the first time since 2008 and for just the sixth time in program history, BYU is 5-0 to start the season.

With a win against Texas State, the Cougars would improve to 6-0 for only the fifth time in history (2008, 2001, 1984, 1979).

“I don’t want to make it a bigger deal that it is, but the guys, I think, have shown this week that we just need to stay humble,” Mateos said, noting that BYU coach Kalani Sitake "came in on Monday and made a real point to our team on Monday’s team meeting to be humble this week and continue to show humility in everything we do and show that we’re having fun and doing things in a way that’s gotten us to this point.”

TEXAS STATE AT BYU
At LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo


Kickoff » Saturday, 8:15 p.m. MT
TV » ESPN
Radio » 1160 AM, 102.7 FM, Sirius 143.
Records » BYU 5-0; Texas State 1-5
Series » First meeting


About BYU » The Cougars are coming off a 43-26 comeback win at Houston to remain undefeated. … Zach Wilson and Dax Milne had career nights with 400 passing yards and 184 receiving yards. … BYU didn’t list its offensive line starters on this week’s depth chart. Offensive line coach Eric Mateos says it will come down instead to who won the weekly position battles. ... The Cougars will allow 6,000 fans into LES Saturday, marking the first time this season that BYU will play before a home crowd.
About Texas State » The Bobcats are under the direction of second-year coach Jake Spavital. … Quarterback Brady McBride had a career night in completions and yards in last week’s 30-20 loss at South Alabama, completing 28 of 40 passes for 260 yards had one touchdown. … Texas State put up 348 total offense yards, with 260 coming through the air, in last week’s 30-20 loss to South Alabama.