With Louisiana Tech missing star running back Kenneth Dixon and UTSA missing starting quarterback Blake Bogenschutz neither fanbase likely had much of an idea of how this game would play out.
Unable to successfully run the ball for most of the game, Louisiana Tech's offensive success depended on senior quarterback Jeff Driskell. Despite some early struggles including two UTSA interceptions, Driskel was able to stir up a close win for the Bulldogs against a stingy UTSA defense.
Due to a hit to the head against UTEP, Blake Bogenschutz was forced to sit out this week. In his wake sophomore walk-on Dalton Sturm made his first career start. Similar to Bogenschutz against Arizona, Sturm's first pass attempt was picked off for a Louisiana Tech touchdown.
Sturm was able to settle into a groove to start the second half after building a connect with tight end David Morgan and wide receiver JaBryce Taylor as both caught two touchdown passes.
In media interviews this week the Bulldog defense dubbed Morgan "Mini Gronk" and the senior tight end definitely lived up to the praise. One of his touchdown catches was a difficult back shoulder catch on a red zone fade route. He also shrugged off a big hit to work his way to a key first down for the Roadrunners.
Tied at 31, UTSA created a stop against LA Tech with under a minute to play but a short Bulldogs field goal gave LA Tech the three points needed to win. An exciting squib kick returned to midfield gave the Roadrunners hope for a last second heave to the end zone but the pass was decisively swatted away to end the game.
It's difficult to judge these teams with two key players missing but both programs looked like division competitors as the rest of CUSA West fails to establish their footing.
UTSA will travel to Hattiesburg next weekend in a pivotal CUSA West match up that could decide the Roadrunners' bowl fate.