Start Time: 1:30 pm CST, Saturday, Sept. 26
Location: Joe Ailliet Stadium, Ruston, Louisiana
TV: Fox College Sports
Radio: KXKZ 107.5, http://www.latechsports.com/collegesportslive/?media=500013
Series Record: LA Tech leads 1-0
Live Stats: Link
Betting Line: LATech -14
With FIU's run defense and Kenneth Dixon's rushing ability, something has to give on Saturday. The Bulldogs do have an alternative, as Jeff Driskel has ignited the air attack in Ruston. Louisiana Tech ranks 16th in the country in total offense (539.3 ypg) in large part to their 11th rated passing offense (350.3 ypg) carrying the load.
Dixon has been strong; adding 48 carries for 355 yards, good for 7.4 yards per carry. Still, FIU is likely to pay special attention to the run and Tech will have to go to the air.
Trent Taylor had a career day against Kansas State last week with 12 catches for 148 yards and a touchdown. He will be aided by Carlos Henderson getting closer to 100 percent and the Bulldogs hope to have Paul Turner back in action.
Louisiana Tech ranks 41st in rush defense, giving up 132.7 yards per game on the ground. Tech ranks 43rd in the country in 3rd down defense and they also rank 43rd in red zone defense.
The Panthers rank 20th in the country against the run, giving up just 96.3 yards per game on the ground. FIU will count on New Orleans native Darrian Dyson (6-4 296 DT) to help keep Dixon in check. FIU is only giving up 21.3 points per game this season, which puts them in the top 50 in the country.
On offense, FIU is only scoring 25.3 points per game, but sophomore quarterback Alex McGough is completing nearly 65% of his passes with 7 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. The Panthers are extremely efficient on 3rd down, converting at a 52.8% rate.
Alex Gardner is getting the bulk of the carries on offense for the Panthers, with 53 carries for 217 yards. Thomas Owens is FIU's biggest threat receiving with already 22 catches for 286 yards and 3 touchdowns on the year.
This is "Something's Gotta Give" Saturday in Ruston with Louisiana Tech's offense going up against FIU's stingy defense. The Bulldogs are scoring 44.3 points per game and FIU is allowing less than half that amount. Can FIU slow down Dixon? If the Panthers are successful in slowing down Tech's rushing attack, can Driskel and company take advantage through the air?
The Bulldogs are favored by 14 and they have home field advantage. After suffering back to back tough losses on the road to Western Kentucky and Kansas State; Skip Holt and his squad are eager to get back in the win column. FIU has a great defense, but they don't have enough firepower to keep up with Louisiana Tech in this one.
Louisiana Tech 31, FIU 13