Louisiana Tech (@13.0) vs Texas (@1.02)
31-08-2019

Our Prediction:

Texas will win

Louisiana Tech – Texas Match Prediction | 31-08-2019

Tech plummeted from 50th to 116th in Special Teams S&P+, and its hard to predict an immediate rebound. Returning kicker Bailey Hale appears limited in range (12-for-14 under 40 yards, 3-for-8 beyond), and in kickoffs Tech combined a lack of touchbacks from Hale with iffy coverage. The other bad news: everything else was really, really bad. Tech ranked 125th in kickoff efficiency, 118th in kick return efficiency, and 100th in FG efficiency, and you cant say its because there were a bunch of freshmen.

How good was the defense? The offensewasnt its normal, explosive selfunder head man Skip Holtz. The Bulldogs scored almost 300 fewer points than the 2016 team did two years ago, and they only won one fewer game. There are parts to like, starting with veteran senior QB JMar Smith who threw for more yards, but didnt get the ball down the field enough and a good-looking receiving corps that gets 75-catch Adrian Hardy and ten of the top 11 pass catchers.

In a tight back and forth game, Louisiana Tech was able to pull away for the win late after a pair of RaShawn Langston FTs made it a two possession game for the Bulldogs with just :11 seconds left in regulation. Leading the way for the Bulldogs was DaQuan Bracey who had 23 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, and a steal. Louisiana Tech held UTSA to just 42.0% shooting from the field and 17.2% shooting from beyond the arc. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs won their 2nd straight game and improved to 17-10 (7-7 C-USA) on the season after defeating the UTSA Roadrunners, 72-67, this past Saturday.

Despite their record, the Bulldogs are a strong C-USA West contender, along with Southern Miss. Higgins is a great fit for the air-raid offense, and he threw for 504 yards against Middle Tennessee with three touchdowns. On the season, he has 1,224 passing yards, which ranks him No. 14 in the nation. His top target is Trent Taylor, who leads the conference in receiving. Turnovers have plagued the Bulldogs, but they have the ability to go up and down the field behind senior quarterback Ryan Higgins, who leads C-USA in passing and total offense.

Dog of the day

A key injury/suspension? It seems a bunch of minor injuries led to a lineup that slightly changed every week. It was like there was a new starting left guard every week. So what happened? Not really. The top two running backs missed a combined three games, two of the top four receivers missed time, and perhaps most importantly, a whopping 10 linemen started at least one game (only two started all 13).

He has completed 70 passes on 116 attempts for a completion percentage of 60.3%. The Bulldogs have been penalized on offense 16 times for 137 yards so far this season, which has them 114th in the country in penalties. His quarterback rating this year is 139.9. They've run 107 times, averaging 4.7 yards per carry as a rushing unit. As a team they have accumulated a total of 75 1st downs this year, placing them 87th overall as an offensive unit. They have run 228 plays this season for 1,470 yards, which ranks them 47th in Division 1 in total offense. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs have run for 504 yards as a team, which ranks 99th in college football. The Bulldogs average 6.4 yards per play, which is 40th in college football. They are 80th in the nation in points scored with 105. He has thrown for 919 yards this season. J'Mar Smith averages 7.9 yards per pass attempt and 7.6 adjusted yards per throw.

The other bad news: everything else was really, really bad. Tech ranked 125th in kickoff efficiency, 118th in kick return efficiency, and 100th in FG efficiency, and you cant say its because there were a bunch of freshmen. Returning kicker Bailey Hale appears limited in range (12-for-14 under 40 yards, 3-for-8 beyond), and in kickoffs Tech combined a lack of touchbacks from Hale with iffy coverage. Tech plummeted from 50th to 116th in Special Teams S&P+, and its hard to predict an immediate rebound.

The Bulldogs have won five straight after dropping three of their first four contests, although there were close setbacks to Arkansas and Middle Tennessee in that stretch. In last weeks win over Rice, Boston Scott rushed for 132 yards and three scores and Higgins completed 18 of 25 passes for 292 yards and added 106 yards on the groundincluding a 71-yard scoring run. Higgins has four games of 400 yards passing or more this season to go along with 26 touchdowns and just three interceptions, and he is clearly one of the best Group of Five signal-callers in the country.

Pure upside will give the Bulldogs a shot, as will a schedule that requires C-USA West contenders Southern Miss and North Texas to play at Tech. But just as one side of the ball gets its act back together, its conceivable the other will fall off again, and Tech might have to again settle for merely being the most solid program in an unsteady league. That could make it difficult for Holtz to get over the hump and finally secure a conference title in 2019.

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Fine had been taking care of the football for the most part, but turnovers were costly in the loss last week. Fine has had an up-and-down season, which is understandable for a young signal-caller. The Mean Green freshman signal-caller has been a bright spot for Littrell, and they are only going to grow together in this offense. But hes going up against a pass defense this week that is very porous. North Texas is a heavy underdog against the Bulldogs, but a big game through the airmixed in with some big gains on the ground on broken playscan give Fine and this offense a chance to be competitive.

There are some losses up front namely, all-conference tackle OShea Dugas but six of the 10 who started a game are back, at least, and Holtz added two JUCO OLs to maintain some depth. Jaqwis Dancy and Israel Tucker, last years top backs, return after combining for 1,253 rushing/receiving yards, and six of the top seven receivers are back as well. Smiths back for his senior season, and the skill depth is impressive.

The Mean Green have an over/under record of 0-4-0 and they are 3-1-0 against the spread. The North Texas Mean Green host the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Apogee Stadium on Saturday, September 29, 2018. The Bulldogs have an ATS record of 2-1-0 while their over/under record is 3-0-0. The opening line for this game has North Texas as 7 point favorites.

The Mean Green have had 27 penalties for 227 yards on defense this year. Their rushing defense has given up 122 attempts for 405 yards this season, putting them in 27th place in the country against the run. They have given up a total of 1,241 yards on D, which is 39th in D-1. The Mean Green are 34th in yards per play allowed with 4.8. North Texas is 26th in the country in points surrendered on defense with 63. The North Texas Mean Green pass defense has also surrendered a total of 836 yards in the air, which is 70th overall in total pass defense. That places them 77th in college football. Opponent offenses have completed 64 throws on 139 attempts against the North Texas defense this season, ranking them 49th and 105th in the nation.