How LA Tech Will Win
The Bulldogs will win if they get Kenneth Dixon back on track (Dixon had a season low 59 yards on 22 carries last week against ULL) and if they can avoid turnovers. Louisiana Tech lost the turnover battle 2 to 1 against both WKU and Kansas State.
On defense, Tech must pressure the UTSA quarterback. Starting quarterback Blake Bogenschutz is out for the Roadrunners so the Bulldogs will have to force quick throws from Dalton Sturm and take advantage of any mistakes. Containing Jarveon Williams will also be a key, as the junior running back has rushed for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns against Colorado State and UTEP in his last two games.
How UTSA Will Win
UTSA will win this game by letting quarterback Dalton Sturm run wild. The walk-on will be relieving Blake Bogenschutz after the freshman suffered a terrible hit to the head while crawling for a loose ball against UTEP. Sturm isn't your average walk on, as he's found success both on the ground and through the air in his limited playing opportunities. The staff will need to let Sturm play his game and keep him comfortable in order to brew up an upset in the Alamodome.
Defensively, UTSA will need to get inside of Jeff Driskel's head. While Driskel has certainly bounced back from his disappointing time at Florida, he's still prone to some mental mistakes. The Roadrunners will need to utilize the quasi-rivalry to spur the Bulldog offense into playing below their means.
How LA Tech Will Lose
Tech will lose the game if they get caught up in the extra-curricular activity of the game. If this game turns into a slugfest and the whistles start blowing, then anything can happen. Tech not only has to hold on to the football; they also need to keep their cool.
The Bulldogs can also lose this game if they don't stop the run. Tech controlled Alex Gardner in the FIU game, but Elijah McGuire had some early success for ULL last week. The Cajuns turned the ball over and got behind, so they had to start passing more than they wanted.
If UTSA has early success in the run game and keeps Tech off balance, a big play here or a turnover there could make the difference in the game.
How UTSA Will Lose
The Roadrunners have faced some good offenses this season but none as efficient as the Bulldogs. They really don't have any weaknesses on that side of the ball, as a strong offensive line paves the way for a solid quarterback, an elite running back, and an extremely sound wide receiver unit. UTSA may simply have their hands full against this LA Tech offense. Even if the defense sells out to stop Dixon, Driskel has shown himself to be capable of exploiting man coverage.
On the other side of the ball, LA Tech will have most of a full week to prepare for Dalton Sturm in place of Blake Bogenschutz. His speed will stick out on film so the Bulldogs will certainly be scheming ways to bottle him up. Given his 47% completion rate, LA Tech will be wise to force Sturm to win the game with his arm.
I think Tech has too much offense in this game. The Bulldogs are 16th in the nation with over 500 yards per game of total offense. Tech ranks 18th with 313 yards per game passing the ball. UTSA might be able to slow down the run (UTSA held UTEP to 59 yards rushing) using the same game plan ULL did, but Jeff Driskel should have success for the Bulldogs.
Jason: Louisiana Tech 27, UTSA 17
While I really like what Dalton Sturm can bring to the table at quarterback, I fear what a strong defense could do with a full week to prepare for his skill set. He's a very talented player and fun as hell to watch but he doesn't provide the intermediate passing accuracy that Bogie does. I see LA Tech preventing Sturm from making plays with his feet but he's got a good enough arm to keep it interesting.
Jared: Louisiana Tech 28, UTSA 17