Date: Saturday, October 26, 2019
Kickoff Time: 7 p.m. CT
Location: El Paso, Texas
Stadium: Sun Bowl
Series Record: Louisiana Tech leads 12-2-1
Betting Line: La Tech -20.5
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs may be big favorites over the UTEP Miners, but this matchup has a history of going down to the wire.
While UTEP is the only team in C-USA West that hasn’t beaten Tech since the Bulldogs joined Conference USA in 2013, the Miners have certainly had their chances.
In 2015, the Miners were down two points and got the ball to the Tech 18-yard line, but the clock expired before they could run another play. In 2018, the Miners reached the Tech 20-yard line down a touchdown, but the Bulldog defense held on fourth down.
The Bulldogs are red-hot, having won six-straight games. The Miners, meanwhile, have lost five in a row. So, despite the history, it would take a monumental effort for UTEP to pull an upset at home. Still, it took overtime for the Dawgs to win on the road against Rice. Perhaps the Miners can keep it close.
Tech’s offense has been playing well the past few weeks. The Bulldogs posted 69 points on UMass and 45 on Southern Miss. Justin Henderson has continued to establish himself as a weapon for the Bulldogs, recording 589 yards and 10 touchdowns so far this season. Malik Stanley is coming off a breakout game with 212 yards against Southern Miss.
Tech’s defense has been a bedrock for the Bulldogs. Amik Robertson has five interceptions this season, including two pick sixes. Ezekiel Barnett added a pick six of his own against Southern Miss.
UTEP’s offense hasn’t been great, meanwhile. The Miners are averaging just 17.7 points per game.
The Miners have rotated between two quarterbacks this season. Kai Locksley has thrown for 310 yards, while Brandon Jones has thrown for 628. Locksley has thrown one touchdown with two interceptions, while Jones has thrown two touchdowns and three picks.
On paper, Tech should win easily. But this game is on the road, and Tech hasn’t always played well in the Sun Bowl. After beating Southern Miss for the first time since 2014, Tech has to be careful not to let this be a letdown game.