Start Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
Location: Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston LA
TV: Fox College Sports
Series Record: Louisiana Tech leads the all-time series. 7-6
Betting Line: Louisiana Tech -30, O/U -110
North Texas Outlook:
Hey, did you see that North Texas won last week? Jared and I both predicted it, and it came to pass! We'd be thrilled to bits if it weren't for the fact that we knew the Mean Green had to play Louisiana Tech the very next week.
The case for interim head coach Mike Canales is a good one, as North Texas has improved in every statistical category since the old guy got put out to pasture, and this is in no small part due to new starting QB DaMarcus Smith, who also doubled as the leading rusher for the team last week. He essentially beat UTSA by himself, which is not to take anything away from the rest of the team-- again, they're markedly improved-- but 137 yards rushing for the QB is nothing to sneeze at. UTSA's top two rushers had 134 yards combined.
Not that Smith is the second coming or anything. The speed is one thing, but his throwing is where he still needs improvement; his 50% completion rate is only marginally better than his predecessor, Andrew McNulty. If the Mean Green are going to start winning regularly again, they need a passing game to go with the running game, and one out of two is not gonna do the trick.
Louisiana Tech Outlook:
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, we have Bizarro North Texas. QB Jeff Driskel has thrown for over 2700 yards on the season and is on pace to throw for 2700 more this week. The Bulldogs clobbered a Rice squad that was supposed to be competitive due to the typically unstoppable Driphus Jackson.
The difference in quality from top to bottom in CUSA is very, very broad, but Tech is unmistakably at the top, having lost to WKU by a field goal and crushing everyone else (with one notable exception). Top rusher Kenneth Dixon is up to 738 yards over six games, while top receiver Trent Taylor is up to 72 receptions for 1003 yards. Expect him to shred the NT defense like a fine parmesan.
But back to that exception-- La. Tech only snuck by UTSA by a field goal, a team North Texas beat last week. Every team is allowed an off-week, and a win is a win. Louisiana Tech is the complete package and doesn't look capable of losing anymore this season, depending on who they draw in their bowl game.
The line is embarrassingly huge, but that's par for the course when you're North Texas.
A loss was cut-and-dry under the old guard, but we've seen some encouraging sparks of life under Canales. This spark won't do much against the roaring tidal wave that is the Bulldogs, but the games are getting more fun to watch, and North Texas is finally putting up points again.
Look for an exciting loss for the Mean Green and another blowout for the Bulldogs, who should be wondering about now why they spent so much time in the WAC. This is the second best team in Louisiana, and we're not so sure about the rest of LSU's schedule.
Louisiana Tech 48, North Texas 20