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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Conference championship or bust for Texas State football

Carly Earnest
Texas State junior defensive end Ben Bell prepares for the Louisiana-Monroe game, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, at Bobcat Stadium.

Texas State football is not the same 4-8 team from last year.

The resilience of players who decided to stick around during the restructuring of the program over the offseason, for junior cornerback Alonzo Edwards Jr., redshirt senior linebacker Brian Holloway and junior defensive end Ben Bell, has paid off.

“This is a winning environment now. Nobody plays just for themselves; everyone is in for the win,” Edwards said. “We didn’t win a lot of games last year, so the common goal is a conference championship.”

Edwards started in all 12 games last year, showing his ability to be a leader for the Bobcat defense. So far this season, Edwards has started in all seven games, tallying 11 solo tackles and 11 assisted tackles.

The thought of winning a conference championship is on Holloway’s mind on and off the field. Further, the Bobcats have a new leader in first-year head coach G.J. Kinne, who shows the new-look roster how truly possible a conference championship is.

“The biggest difference is trust in the coaches,” Holloway said. “This is my last year of college football. I want to go out with a bang [and] we have the people and the coaches to do it.”

Players such as Holloway have found new life this season, with him being named Sun Belt Player of the Week for his performance against Nevada in week four, where he registered seven solo tackles and five assisted tackles.

As Holloway’s collegiate football career nears its end, he said he only has one thing on his mind: To bring this team to the promised land.

“We just have to take it week by week and just keep winning,” Holloway said. “I’m looking forward to the conference championship.”

This year not only brought wins but also a new idea of brotherhood—the idea that ‘a team that sticks together wins together.’
With this high level of cohesiveness, the idea of a championship appears much closer. For players like Bell, his faith in the team means more than statistics.

“Belief is contagious, and everyone buys into that,” Bell said. “Through my losses and missed tackles and sacks, I just want to be a big factor and playmaker.”

Bell has found his way into a starting position after not starting a single game last season after making the transition from outsider linebacker to defensive end. Through the first seven games, Bell has recorded three sacks and six and a half tackles for loss and has become a staple for the Bobcat defense.

“When we have signs of greatness, it’s great. When we all buy into that, we can be a great team; we can do something really special here,” Bell said. “Football is everything to me; this is my first time starting [and] I want to prove I am a starter.”

Overall, Texas State’s returning players have become big names this season through their dedication to the process. They’ve seen their hard work pay off through praise and respect from their coaches, peers and teammates.

After a substantial amount of off-season change for this team, the mindset of moving on from being knocked down and developing a winning culture is apparent throughout every individual in the program. Kinne preaches this philosophy more than anything.

“There’s no let-up. We got to continue to push in every area,” Kinne said. “We’re on them every day about something. That’s what it takes to continue to build that culture and build success.”

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