Despite juggling jobs, Kinne has UIW ready for quarterfinals

Less than 24 hours after Incarnate Word clinched his first FCS quarterfinal berth with a win against Furman, coach GJ Kinne was making the rounds at Texas State.

During Sunday’s trip to San Marcos, the program’s new head coach toured Bobcat Stadium, stopped at a Texas State basketball game and secured the re-commitment of head receiver Ashtyn Hawkins, who had been considering a transfer.

Kinne then returned to San Antonio, working to help the Cardinals prepare for the biggest game in program history. The No. 7 seed UIW takes on undefeated No. 2 Sacramento State in the third round of the FCS playoffs at 9:30 p.m. Friday in Sacramento, California.

After the Cardinals’ final walk through Wednesday before a day of travel on Thursday, Kinne drove back to San Marcos for his introductory news conference.

After posing for photos with athletic director Don Coryell holding up a Texas State No. 21 jersey with the name “Kinne” on the back, the UIW coach reiterated his commitment to closing out the year with the Cardinals before jumping into the role of the Bobcats with both feet.

“That’s a special group down there, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to finish, and finish the right way,” Kinne said. “And we’re not done yet.”

Kinne said he has taken the “trying to be where my feet are” approach, focusing entirely on the task at hand without letting the responsibilities in the other program creep in.

Cardinals quarterback Lindsey Scott said he hasn’t noticed any difference around UIW. The responsibilities of each assistant have not changed, and Kinne continues to organize each practice as he goes in and out of various position meetings.

“I ask myself the question, ‘When will he be at Texas State?’ Because it feels like it’s still here,” Scott said. “He’s been doing a good job. I’m sure it’s extra stress for him, but he’s been handling it with grace.”

Receiver Taylor Grimes said some of the Cardinals have been “a little more sore” this week after the “one-game grinder” against Furman: a 41-38 win Saturday at Benson Stadium that was in doubt until UIW scored the winning goal. touchdown with less than two minutes to play.

The physical toll adds to the challenge of preparing for a mid-country game on Friday, and Kinne said he tweaked the practice routine this week to “try to take care of their bodies a little bit.”

UIW defensive coordinator Jonathan Patke is also tasked with laying out two game plans, preparing for a Sacramento State offense that rotates two quarterbacks.

Jake Dunniway is the more traditional passing threat, averaging 182.4 yards per game with 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Asher O’Hara offers a career-first look, carrying 189 times for an average of 70.8 yards per game with 19 touchdowns while completing 67 of 88 passes for 59.6 yards per game with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Dunniway has made 487 snaps for the Hornets this season compared to O’Hara’s 400.

“Coach Patke has done a very good job separating two different offenses,” Kinne said. “I feel like our guys have been in lockdown this week and tuned into it, so we’ll see how it goes.”

UIW ranks first in the FCS with 51.9 points per game, while Sacramento State ranks fourth with 41.2.

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