Date: Saturday, September 7, 2019
Kickoff Time: 2:30 p.m. CT
Location: Ruston, Louisiana
Stadium: Joe Aillet Stadium
TV: NFL Network
Series Record: La Tech leads 1-0
Betting Line: La Tech -29.5
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and Grambling State Tigers are set to face off in Lincoln Parish for the first time Saturday afternoon.
There have been two college football programs in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, since Grambling started up football in 1928. However, the two teams have only met once prior to Saturday. That game came outside of Lincoln Parish when the two met in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 2010. The Bulldogs won 20-6.
Now, for the first time ever, the northern Louisiana parish will host a football game between the two neighboring schools.
The game has also been dubbed the “Buddy Bowl” after O.K. “Buddy” Davis, the legendary sportswriter who covered both programs for several decades. Davis passed away in July, so the two teams will play in his honor.
Both teams enter the contest 0-1. Tech lost 45-14 to Texas on Saturday, while the G-Men fell to ULM 31-9.
Tech quarterback J’Mar Smith is coming off one of his finer performances statistically. His 331 passing yards against the Longhorns is a career high. He’ll be looking to do better at finishing drives, however. He was picked off once, and the Bulldogs failed to score until the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs’ rushing attack was mostly held in check by the Longhorns, as well, managing just 73 rushing yards. They’ll have an excellent chance to bounce back, however. Grambling’s defense allowed 315 rushing yards to ULM last weekend.
Although Tech was held to 14 points, the Bulldogs could have had more. Bailey Hale missed a pair of field goals in the first half, and Tech was 1/3 on fourth down. Cornerback Amik Robertson just missed out on two interceptions, which could have potentially led to additional points.
Similarly, while GSU managed just nine points against ULM, the G-Men left plenty of points on the board. Their two kickers combined to go 1/2 on field goals and 0/1 on extra points. Grambling was also 0/2 on fourth downs. In addition, a fourth down play that resulted in a touchdown was called back for a pair of penalties that backed GSU up 25 yards, forcing the Tigers to punt.
Quarterback Geremy Hickbottom threw for 157 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 10 times for 68 yards. Although his passing numbers don’t stand out, he had some great throws. He’s also an elusive downfield runner.
In addition, the Tigers totaled 243 rushing yards against the Warhawks.
It’s likely that both offenses are better than the scoreboards showed, so both will be looking for redemption on Saturday.
Although Tech is heavily favored and will be expected to win, this will be a great opportunity for both programs to test how much they’ve improved from weeks one to two.
Both teams were able to move the ball against their week one opponents, but were unable to finish drives with points. The Bulldogs and Tigers will each seek to improve in that area.
Another part of the game to watch will be how well Tech can run the ball. As mentioned above, Tech will certainly want to improve its performance on the ground after a lackluster showing in Austin, but the G-Men will be hoping for a better run defense after their poor effort in Monroe.
One last area to watch will be the crowd. With Tech hosting its neighbor for the first time, there could be a chance to break the Joe Aillet Stadium attendance record. That number currently stands at 28,714, which was the crowd when Tech hosted ULM in 1997. There were 34,762 in attendance when the two met at Independence Stadium in 2010. The weather may win that matchup, however, with an expected high of 102 on game day.
Regardless of the crowd or the outcome, Saturday will be a historic day in Lincoln Parish. Perhaps this matchup will lead to more meetings between the Bulldogs and Tigers in the future.