The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (3-2, 1-1) will travel to take on the UTSA Roadrunners (1-4, 1-0) in Conference USA action Saturday night. The Bulldogs have won two of the last three meetings, including a 27-20 win at home on October 18, 2014; UTSA covered in the game as an 11 point underdog in that contest.
Louisiana Tech is coming off back to back wins as they pulverized Louisiana-Lafayette 43-14 at home. UTSA recorded their first win of the season last week as they opened conference play with a 25-6 road win over UTEP. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and will not be nationally televised. Louisiana Tech is currently an 11.5 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 57 points.
Louisiana Tech put together a dominant performance against Louisiana-Lafayette last week as they controlled the game on both sides of the ball. The Bulldogs outgained the Ragin’ Cajuns 428-331 in the contest and forced three turnovers while committing just one of their won. Louisiana Tech spotted Louisiana-Lafayette a 7-0 lead but reeled off the next 36 points. The play that sealed the game came on the final play of the half; Bryson Abraham picked off a Jalen Nixon pass and returned it 50 yards for a score to give the Bulldogs a 29-7 edge at intermission.
The Bulldogs boast a high powered offense as they are 18th in the nation in passing offense with 313.4 yards per game while they are tied for 48th in rushing by picking up 190.2 yards per game on the ground. Louisiana Tech is tied for 29th by scoring 40 points per game but they are just 74th in scoring defense by allowing 25.2 points per contest. Jeff Driskel, who transferred from Florida, has been great running the offense: he’s hit 108 of 179 passes for 1,461 yards with 10 touchdowns and one interception while adding 197 yards and five scores on the ground. Kenneth Dixon is the feature back on the ground as he has run the ball 95 times for 583 yards with six scores; he has 15 receptions for 148 yards and two scores out of the backfield. Trent Taylor is the team’s leading receiver as he has hauled in 36 passes for 491 yards and four scores; Paul Turner (17 grabs, 252 yards, 2 TD) and Marcus Gaines (11 catches, 206 yards, 2 TD) are capable pass catchers as well. Johnathan Barnes has booted all 24 extra points and 11 of 13 field goals on the year.
UTSA broke into the win column with a terrific defensive performance against UTEP on the road. In a game that was delayed twice by lightning, the Roadrunners outgained the Miners 335-275 in the contest. UTSA forced six turnovers while committing only one; being a +5 in the takeaway/giveaway ratio is always a good place to be. The Roadrunners scored two of their three touchdowns on interception returns and added a safety, meaning their defense outscored the offense.
The Roadrunners average 209 yards per game through the air and 164.4 yards on the ground this season. UTSA puts up 21 points per game and they’ve struggled defensively as they are tied for 110th in scoring defense by allowing 36 points per game. Blake Bogenschutz is the starter at quarterback; he’s hit 59.1 percent of his passes for 897 yards with four touchdowns and four picks. Jarveon Williams is the lead back in the run game as he has 89 carries for 503 yards and four scores while Jalen Rhodes (28 carries, 129 yards, 2 TD) is the second back in the system. In the passing game, Bogenschutz can look for David Morgan II (20 receptions, 267 yards, 2 TD), Aaron Grubb (20 grabs, 151 yards) and Kerry Thomas Jr. (15 catches, 203 yards, TD) to move the sticks. Daniel Portillo has struggled in the kicking game as he is 10 of 12 on extra points but just 5 of 11 on field goals this year; he’s 0 for 5 from 40 to 49 yards though he hit a 50 yard kick.
Louisiana Tech is 4-1 ATS in their last five in October, 9-3 ATS in their last 12 overall and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 on grass. UTSA is 2-5 ATS in their last seven at home, 3-8 ATS in their last 11 in October, 2-6 ATS in their last eight against teams with a winning record and 1-4 ATS in their last five home games against teams with a winning road record.
The Roadrunners have struggled this season and they aren’t going to get Louisiana Tech to turn the ball over six times to set them up with 15 or 16 points. Louisiana Tech plays smart football and they don’t turn it over much; look for the Bulldogs to win this one by 14 points and pick up another victory.