Nov 25, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Jayden de Laura (7) against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the Territorial Cup at Mountain America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Transfer QB Jayden de Laura leaves Texas State

Transfer quarterback Jayden de Laura has left Texas State, one week after enrolling.

The school confirmed in a brief statement that de Laura withdrew, and the news came soon after de Laura settled a lawsuit regarding an alleged sexual assault case from 2018.

de Laura, one of two people sued in the 2021 civil case, was a minor when the alleged incident occurred in Hawaii, where he went to high school. He went on to play at Washington State and Arizona, and he entered the transfer portal this month after losing his starting job with the Wildcats.

As news of the settlement spread via the Texas State student newspaper, de Laura and the case drew attention, with students planning a Friday protest over his addition to the team.

Head coach G.J. Kinne told the campus publication that his staff reviewed the quarterback’s past before offering him a spot on the team.

“First, Jayden never pled guilty or was convicted of criminal charges, and he recently settled a civil case from an incident that occurred in 2018 when he was a minor in the state of Hawaii,” said Kinne in a statement before news of de Laura’s withdrawal. “During the recruitment process, our coaching staff visited with several of Jayden’s former coaches from his two previous schools, Washington State University and the University of Arizona, as well as others that know him closely. Each person not only spoke highly of his character but how he has developed into the man he is today.”

de Laura was projected to start at quarterback for Texas State, and after his commitment, incumbent starter T.J. Finley said he intended to transfer.

Finley, who was 8-5 in 2023 as the Bobcats’ starter, has transferred to Western Kentucky. It will be his fourth program after also playing at LSU and Auburn.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2023; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas State Bobcats quarterback TJ Finley (7) throws a pass against the Rice Owls in the second quarter at Gerald J Ford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Texas State thrashes Rice in first-ever bowl appearance

Brian Holloway returned two interceptions for touchdowns and Jahmyl Jeter ran for three scores as Texas State won its FBS bowl debut, trouncing Rice 45-21 in the First Responder Bowl on Tuesday in Dallas.

The Bobcats finished the season 8-5 under first-year coach G.J. Kinne, dominating this one with their defense. They limited Rice (6-7) to 197 total yards, intercepting five passes, forcing and recovering a fumble and notching four sacks.

Holloway gave Texas State a 21-7 lead with a 36-yard interception return on the second quarter’s first play from scrimmage, then upped the advantage to 17 points with 8:16 left in the third quarter by lugging a pick 48 yards.

Jeter helped the Bobcats get off to a good start with a 29-yard touchdown run just 1:35 into the game, then made it 14-7 later in the first quarter with a 1-yard scoring jaunt that capped an 85-yard drive. Teammate Ismael Mahdi rushed for a game-high 122 yards on 24 attempts, while quarterback TJ Finley hit on 15 of 29 passes for 152 yards.

Owls quarterback AJ Padgett struggled before being pulled in the fourth quarter, completing only 10 of 21 attempts for 85 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. Backup Shawqi Itraish fired an interception on his second pass and wound up 2 of 4 for 19 yards with two picks.

Padgett was able to find Luke McCaffrey with a 7-yard scoring strike at the 6:54 mark of the first quarter, then led Rice to two touchdowns in the second quarter that wiped out their 14-point deficit. Dean Connors capped a drive of nearly six minutes with a 3-yard run, then evened the score 21-21 on a 28-yard scamper with 3:40 remaining.

Mason Shipley drilled a 31-yard field goal as time expired to make it 24-21 Texas State at the half, and Texas State offensive lineman Nash Jones scored on a 3-yard run to cap the opening drive of the second half.

Jeter added his last touchdown on a 1-yard plunge with 2:01 left in the game.

The Bobcats won despite being flagged 11 times for 126 yards.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2023; Waco, Texas, USA; Texas State Bobcats head coach G.J. Kinne on the sidelines during the first half against the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Texas State coach G.J. Kinne gets new contract

Texas State is rewarding football coach G.J. Kinne with a new five-year deal through 2028, ESPN reported Thursday.

He guided the Bobcats (7-5) to their first-ever bowl game in his first season with the program in 2023.

Texas State joined the FBS in 2012 and had not experienced a winning season since 2014.

Texas State takes on Rice (6-6) in the First Responder Bowl on Tuesday in Dallas.

Kinne, 35, played quarterback at Texas and Tulsa before spending time on several NFL practice squads and in the CFL.

He was the offensive coordinator at Hawaii (2020) and UCF (2021) before leading Incarnate Word to a 12-2 record in his first season as a head coach in 2022.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2023; Waco, Texas, USA; Texas State Bobcats offensive lineman Caleb Johnson (74) and offensive lineman Dorion Strawn (64) celebrate a touchdown against the Baylor Bears during the second half at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Texas State stuns heavy favorite Baylor, 42-31

T.J. Finley threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns to lead Texas State to a 42-31 road upset of Baylor on Saturday.

Baylor entered as a 26.5-point favorite.

Finley, a transfer from Auburn, threw two touchdown passes in the first half to help stake Texas State to a 28-13 lead at halftime.

Baylor scored on its opening possession of the second half, cutting its deficit to 28-21 after a 53-yard touchdown pass from Blake Shapen to Drake Dabney and a 2-point conversion pass to Ketron Jackson.

Texas State countered, taking a 35-21 lead with 10:18 left in the third after a 16-yard touchdown run by Finley to cap off an eight-play, 75-yard drive.

Baylor cut its deficit to 35-24 with 1:47 left in the third quarter on a 24-yard field goal by Isaiah Hankins. But Texas State went up 42-24 on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Finley to Joey Hobert with 13:52 remaining.

Baylor inched closer, cutting the Texas State lead to 42-31 with 8:52 remaining on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Shapen to Dabney.

Baylor then drove down to the Texas State 17-yard line, but an interception by backup quarterback Sawyer Robertson with 3:52 remaining ended the threat.

The Bears forced a punt after that and got the ball back with 2:43 remaining, but a fumble by Robertson that was recovered by Texas State at its 15-yard line with under two minutes remaining all but ended the game.

The Bobcats took a 21-6 lead with 9:11 left in the second quarter on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Finley to Donerio Davenport.

Baylor got into the end zone for the first time, cutting its deficit to 21-13 with 4:06 left in the second quarter on a 9-yard touchdown run by Shapen.

But with 48 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Texas State extended its lead to 28-13 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Jahmyl Jeter, which finished off a 12-play, 75-yard drive.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; Waco, Texas, USA;  Texas State Bobcats wide receiver Ashtyn Hawkins (2) runs against Baylor Bears linebacker Garmon Randolph (55) during the first half at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Texas State tabs G.J. Kinne as head coach

Texas State announced Friday that G.J. Kinne has been hired as the program’s new head coach.

Kinne, who turned 34 on Thursday, is a rising offensive mind who coached Incarnate Word to a FCS playoff spot this season. He will remain with the Cardinals (10-1) through the end of their season.

Kinne, who received a five-year contract, will look to revive a Texas State program that went 4-8 in 2022.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said in a news release. “My family and I cannot wait to start the next chapter of our lives in San Marcos. …

“I’m excited to hit the ground running and compete for championships. We are going to surround our players with excellent coaches, who down to their roots are teachers at heart. We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas.”

Kinne was a star quarterback at Tulsa and passed for 9,472 yards, 81 touchdowns and 32 interceptions from 2009-11. He was Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year in 2010.

Kinne wasn’t selected in the 2012 NFL draft. He briefly played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League in 2016 before retiring the following spring and beginning his coaching career.

Texas State athletic director Don Coryell feels Kinne is a great fit for the program.

“We are beyond excited to have G.J. lead the next era of Texas State football,” Coryell said. “We had a tremendous pool of candidates and interest in this role, and Coach Kinne stood out from them all as he is a proven mastermind behind a new-wave offense, a champion with an NFL background, and has a pedigree rooted in Texas.”

Kinne replaces Jake Spavital, who went 13-35 in four seasons at the school.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2020; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Texas State Bobcats head coach Jake Spavital reacts during the second half against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Texas State fires coach Jake Spavital

Texas State is parting ways with football coach Jake Spavital, ESPN reported Sunday.

Spavital, 37, took over the Texas State program in 2019 and posted a 13-35 record, never approaching the .500 mark in any season. The Bobcats were 4-8 in both 2021 and ’22 and ended their season on Saturday with a 41-13 loss to Sun Belt Conference opponent Louisiana.

ESPN said Spavital had one year left on his contract and is expected to be due almost $400,000.

Per the report, Texas State likely will hire a coach who will break from Spavital’s emphasis on relying on the transfer portal to fill the roster and instead emphasize recruiting from the talent-rich high schools in the state.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; San Marcos, Texas, USA;  Baylor Bears wide receiver Tyquan Thornton (9) runs the ball against Texas State Bobcats cornerback Michael LoVett III (21) in the second quarter at Bobcat Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Converted LB Abram Smith powers Baylor rushing attack in win

Converted linebacker Abram Smith ran for two touchdowns to help the visiting Baylor Bears erase an early deficit and defeat the Texas State Bobcats 29-20 in both teams’ season opener Saturday in San Marcos, Texas.

Smith, who arrived at Baylor as a running back but played linebacker until this spring, finished with 118 yards on 19 carries while backfield mate Trestan Ebner had 20 rushes for 120 yards. Gerry Bohanon went 15 of 24 passing for 148 yards.

Texas State quarterback Brady McBride completed 20 of 40 passes for 156 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions.

McBride’s first interception on the Bobcats’ second drive of the game was returned 20 yards for a touchdown by JT Woods, giving Baylor the first lead. Texas State responded with a 14-play, 72-yard drive resulting in a 21-yard Seth Keller field goal.

Texas State took a 10-7 lead with 6:41 left in the second quarter when McBride found Marcell Barbee for a 12-yard touchdown.

Before the half ended, the Bears logged a 13-play, 75-yard drive culminating in Smith’s first score of the game, a 3-yard push up the middle in the final minute.

Baylor extended its lead to 17-10 with a field goal early in the third quarter. On its next possession, it romped down the field with five straight plays worth double-digit yards. The last was Smith’s second touchdown, a 13-yard run to the right with one cut to get himself some separation and make it 24-10.

Texas State managed a 38-yard field goal, but the Bears matched it with Isaiah Hankins’ second field goal of the evening two drives later. With the game starting to slip out of reach, McBride threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter; Jalen Pitre and Jairon McVea were on the receiving end for Baylor.

The Bobcats pieced together a late drive aided by two defensive penalties, and Jahmyl Jeter ran in from two yards out to cut the deficit to 27-20 with 1:19 to play. But Baylor recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt.

On a last-ditch play to end the game, Texas State committed an illegal double-forward pass out of its end zone, resulting in a safety to puff up Baylor’s score.

Baylor launched its season with a win, just two years removed from an end-of-year top-10 ranking in the major polls and a Big 12 Championship Game appearance.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Gerry Bohanon (11) scrambles from pressure by the Georgia Bulldogs in the second half of the Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor ‘going back to the basics’ in preparation for Texas State

Baylor has focused on “going back to the basics” in its preparation for its season-opening matchup at Texas State on Saturday in San Marcos, Texas, but expect the Bobcats to have something special in store for their neighbors to the north.

The Bears, who went 2-7 in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, have emphasized improvement in the trenches in the offseason. Second-year coach Dave Aranda said this week that he had built his team from the offensive and defensive lines and that’s where its bread will be buttered.

There’s plenty of room to improve. Baylor allowed 31 sacks in just nine games last year and was at the bottom of the Big 12 last season in rushing yards per game (90.3).

“Our package is completely built upon the offensive line,” Aranda said. “To be the team we need to be, we have to be big men-driven. Just to see the improvement from January until now, that’s exciting.”

Baylor will start junior Gerry Bohanon at quarterback after a preseason battle with three other candidates. Bohanon is just the fifth Baylor quarterback since 2000 to make his first career start in a season opener.

“I feel like he did everything we asked him to do,” Aranda said. “Just being the type of teammate he is and the type of person he is, he’s the right guy to lead the team.”

Texas State, which plays in the Sun Belt Conference, was 2-10 last season. The Bobcats are coached by Jake Spavital, who is in his third year at the helm.

Texas State is really an unknown commodity. How Spavital meshes his newcomers with his established players will determine the Bobcats’ success this season.

“Man, I’m fired up to be back,” Spavital said. “I think the team has been working extremely hard this offseason, and they’re pretty fired up to show the product that they’ve been working on.”

Sophomore Brady McBride, a transfer from Memphis who started eight games for the Bobcats last year, was named starting quarterback for the season opener. In nine games last season, McBride completed 173 of 282 passes (61.3 percent) for 1,925 yards and 17 touchdowns, all of which were team highs for the Bobcats.

“I’ve been working on controlling what I can control, and I feel like that is spreading to the rest of the team,” McBride said. “Come in every day and do what you can, and the outcome will take care of itself.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) walks off the field after a game against the Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Wilson’s big day vs. Texas State moves No. 12 BYU to 6-0

Zach Wilson completed 19-of-25 passes for 287 yards with four touchdowns Saturday to lead No. 12-ranked BYU to a 52-14 rout of Texas State at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.

The victory improved the Cougars to 6-0 for the first time in 12 years.

In the days leading up to Saturday’s matchup, Texas State coach Jake Spavital mentioned Wilson as an emerging contender for the Heisman Trophy. The Cougars quarterback justified Spavital’s comments with a dazzling performance, which included a 45-yard scoring strike thrown cross-field to Dax Milne just before halftime.

It was Wilson’s Heisman highlight-reel moment, as the quarterback continues to build a case for himself – and it was the moment that effectively ended any Texas State realistic hope of a comeback.

The Bobcats (1-6) had recovered a fumble deep in BYU territory just moments prior, and were in position to close to within 28-14 just before the half. But they went four-and-out on a drive beginning from the 10-yard line, and Wilson took over from there.

The 45-yard score to Milne made it 35-7 at the intermission. Wilson had previously found Keanu Hill for a 33-yard touchdown connection, and Isaac Rex for a 3-yard score. Wilson called it a night just after halftime with a second touchdown throw to Rex, this one from 30 yards out.

Texas State led briefly, going 75 yards on eight players in its opening drive, capped when quarterback Brady McBride found Marcell Barbee for a 19-yard touchdown.

McBride and Wilson combined to complete the game’s first 12 pass attempts, with the Bobcats quarterback opening 7-for-7. He finished 16-of-30 for 153 yards, and threw a second touchdown to Barbee in the fourth quarter.

McBride also had two passes intercepted, one of which Isaiah Kaufusi returned 32 yards for a third-quarter score (and a 49-7 margin). The Cougars also got touchdowns from Lopini Katoa on a 4-yard run to cap BYU’s opening drive, and an 11-yard rush from Tyler Allgeier. Allgeier led BYU with 77 yards on the ground.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) walks off the field after a game against the Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Wilson’s big day vs. Texas State moves No. 12 BYU to 6-0

Zach Wilson completed 19-of-25 passes for 287 yards with four touchdowns Saturday to lead No. 12 BYU to a 52-14 rout of Texas State at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.

The victory improved the Cougars to 6-0 for the first time in 12 years.

In the days leading up to Saturday’s matchup, Texas State coach Jake Spavital mentioned Wilson as an emerging contender for the Heisman Trophy. The Cougars quarterback justified Spavital’s comments with a dazzling performance, which included a 45-yard scoring strike thrown cross-field to Dax Milne just before halftime.

It was Wilson’s Heisman highlight-reel moment, as the quarterback continues to build a case for himself – and it was the moment that effectively ended any Texas State realistic hope of a comeback.

The Bobcats (1-6) had recovered a fumble deep in BYU territory just moments prior, and were in position to close to within 28-14 just before the half. But they went four-and-out on a drive beginning from the 10-yard line, and Wilson took over from there.

The 45-yard score to Milne made it 35-7 at the intermission. Wilson had previously found Keanu Hill for a 33-yard touchdown connection, and Isaac Rex for a 3-yard score. Wilson called it a night just after halftime with a second touchdown throw to Rex, this one from 30 yards out.

Texas State led briefly, going 75 yards on eight plays in its opening drive, capped when quarterback Brady McBride found Marcell Barbee for a 19-yard touchdown.

McBride and Wilson combined to complete the game’s first 12 pass attempts, with the Bobcats quarterback opening 7-for-7. He finished 17-of-30 for 150 yards, and threw a second touchdown to Barbee in the fourth quarter.

McBride also had two passes intercepted, one of which Isaiah Kaufusi returned 32 yards for a third-quarter score (and a 49-7 margin). The Cougars also got touchdowns from Lopini Katoa on a 4-yard run to cap BYU’s opening drive, and an 11-yard rush from Tyler Allgeier. Allgeier led BYU with 76 yards on the ground.

–Field Level Media