Date: Saturday, October 15, 2016
Kickoff Time: 2:30 PM CDT
Location: Foxborough, MA
Stadium: Gillette Stadium
Series Record: First Meeting
Betting Line: La Tech -14.5
Louisiana Tech thus far is “3-0 at the Joe,” which is the phrase they threw around after knocking off WKU at home last Thursday. However, this team is also 0-3 on the road, which is where they are this week.
Now let’s be fair. Their road opponents have been Arkansas, Texas Tech, and MTSU. All good teams, and all 3 games were competitive and close. But if La Tech wants to win the west division, they will have to win on the road against Southern Miss. In fact, 4 of their remaining 6 games are on the road. Skip Holtz needs to figure out how to win on the road. This game will provide an opportunity to convince us (and themselves) that they can do that.
UMass has struggled thus far in general. Their only win is at home against FIU, but that was a true home game in Amherst. Obviously, UMass plays a few home games in Gillette Stadium so this is 100% a UMass home game, but Foxborough is an hour and 45 minutes away from campus. With a 1-5 record, not a whole lot of fans will be making that trek.
Defensively, both teams allow over 400 yards a game. But offensively, the Bulldog offense far outclasses the Minutemen. Tech averages 39 points a game to UMass’s 18. UMass barely averages over 300 yards of offense while Tech averages well over 500 and outclasses them in every area. If you add up Minutemen QB Andrew Ford’s touchdowns (10) and interceptions (7) together, that’s how many touchdowns Ryan Higgins has thrown (17). Higgins has only 2 picks, and both were in his bad first half against SC State. In 9 halves of football since, he hasn’t thrown a pick. Higgins has completed more passes than Ford has attempted and has 1000 MORE yards than Ford. Hell, Trent Taylor alone has 66 receptions. Ford has 74 completions.
This game is a measuring stick game for Skip Holtz. Non-conference game without much pressure and a team that should be beaten easily. Can they handle business and cover the spread? Can the defense step up and hold on to a big lead? Can the offense keep on the pressure in the second half? The Bulldogs need to prove here that they can handle business on the road. Having gotten the weekend off following a Thursday night game, the Dawgs should be well rested for the long flight up north. If they don’t handle UMass easily, it won’t be a good look. They need a convincing win here to build confidence for future road matches.
Louisiana Tech’s defense will give up yards, but not an absurd number of points. They’ll show a step in the right direction as the offense continues to light up the scoreboard.
La Tech 45, UMass 17