It’s a battle of foes from the West Division of Conference USA down in the bayou. The UTEP Miners try to stop a lengthy skid as they travel to face the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Saturday afternoon. UTEP had a bye last week: they were defeated 27-24 at home by North Texas in their previous contest October 6. Louisiana Tech had dropped two of three before getting back on track with a 31-3 pasting of UTSA on the road last Saturday. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 9-1 and have five straight wins, including a 42-21 road win in the last matchup on November 18, 2017.
UTEP Miners Trying to Snap Lengthy Skid
UTEP had a bye week last week and have had two weeks to prepare for this one. The Miners battled but came up a field goal short against North Texas, suffering their 18th consecutive defeat in the process. UTEP tries again to get in the win column here. The Miners led 10-7 in the second quarter but gave up 13 unanswered points to trail 20-10 after three quarters: they twice drew within a field goal in the fourth but couldn’t take the lead. UTEP was edged 428-417 in total offense and 21-19 in first downs while losing time of possession by a 33:19 to 26:41 margin. The Miners were hurt by two turnovers: they didn’t have any takeaways in the contest.
— UTEP Football (@UTEPFB) October 7, 2018
The Miners are 115th in the FBS in passing offense with just 156.5 yards per game and tied for 79th in rushing with 159.2 yards per contest. The other numbers aren’t any better: UTEP is 128th in scoring offense with 16.5 points a contest and 97th in scoring defense as they give up 31.7 points per game. Kai Locksley has completed 48 of 99 throws for 527 yards with two touchdowns and three picks while leading the team with 363 rushing yards plus four scores. He missed the North Texas game with an ankle injury but is expected to be good enough to play here. Ryan Metz is 24 of 52 passing for 412 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. Treyvon Hughes has 34 carries for 163 yards while Quadraiz Wadley is second on the team with 64 carries for 358 yards and three scores. In the passing game, Terry Juniel (eight catches, 138 yards, TD) and Warren Redix (team-high 20 grabs, 244 yards, TD) are primary targets on the team. Keynen Foster (eight receptions, 176 yards, TD) and David Lucero (seven receptions, 70 yards, TD) are other targets. Jason Filley has hit all 12 extra points and five of seven field goals with a long of 37.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Seek Second Straight Win
Louisiana Tech bounced back from their loss to UAB at home two weeks ago by pounding UTSA on the road last week. The Bulldogs now look for back to back wins and a 3-1 conference mark as they head into this contest. Louisiana Tech jumped to a 17-0 halftime edge and extended that edge to 24-0 before UTSA could put anything on the board. The Bulldogs had a 384-286 advantage in the total yardage battle, picked up 21 first downs while allowing 16 and held a 35:13 to 25:47 edge in time of possession. Each team committed two turnovers in the game but Louisiana Tech controlled the contest pretty much the entire way.
— LA Tech Sports (@LATechSports) October 14, 2018
The Bulldogs are 36th in the FBS by averaging 269 yards per game through the air and are 97th in the country as they put up 142.8 yards per contest on the ground. Louisiana Tech is 70th in the FBS in scoring offense as they average 28.7 points a game and stand 44th in scoring defense by allowing 23.2 points per contest. J’Mar Smith is 125 of 215 passing for 1,567 yards with 10 touchdowns against six interceptions while adding 110 yards plus a score on the ground. Aaron Allen is three of five for 47 yards plus a score. Jaqwis Dancy leads the team with 48 carries for 276 yards plus five scores while Israel Tucker contributes 54 carries for 229 yards and a touchdown. Kam McKnight chips in 46 carries for 193 yards and three scores. Rhashid Bonnette has hauled in 21 passes for 287 yards plus a score. Adrian Hardy (team-high 33 grabs, team-high 560 yards, four TD) and Teddy Veal (28 catches, 348 yards) are good complementary targets. Bailey Hale has booted 20 of 21 extra points and hit eight of 11 field goal attempts with a long of 46 this season.
- Bulldogs are 4-0 ATS vs. a team with a losing record
- Bulldogs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game
- Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 conference games
- Miners are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
UTEP was a massive underdog against North Texas but covered the line easily with a three-point loss their last time out. The thing is, Metz was under center in that game and the Miners exceeded their previous season high in passing yards by 119. Locksley is expected back in this one and that means a return to an inconsistent passing attack: after all, he’s completed under 50 percent of his throws this year. This seems a prime time for Louisiana Tech to get the run game going again: UTEP is 28th in the nation against the pass by allowing 189 yards per game but they are giving up 207.7 yards (111th in the country) on the ground this season. The Miners have been outscored 106-45 in their three road games this season: that should swing things toward the Bulldogs.
Prediction: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs -24
Full-Game Total Pick
UTEP has been dismal offensively this season. The 24 points they scored in the loss to North Texas matched their season high. This is a Miners team that was whipped 30-10 by FCS school Northern Arizona in their season opener so you’re not expecting a ton offensively from them. Louisiana Tech bounced back from getting whipped by UAB by taking apart UTSA. The Bulldogs could use another solid showing to keep pace in the West Division of Conference USA: UAB leads the division with a 3-0 record. Can Louisiana Tech come up with a home win and extend UTEP’s misery for another week?
The over is 4-1 in the Miners last 5 games on fieldturf and 4-1 in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game. Louisiana Tech has seen the over go 5-1 in their last 6 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game and 8-2 in their last 10 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points. The teams have combined to go over the total in five of their last seven meetings: this one should be similar as the Bulldogs take advantage of the suspect UTEP defense to pile up some points.
Prediction: Over 48
Half-Time Side Pick
Louisiana Tech is easily the better team when you look at things here. UTEP has been awful since the start of last season as they’re still looking for their first win since the 2016 regular season finale. The Bulldogs have the weapons to make life miserable for a suspect Miners defense. UTEP’s offense ran about as well as a 1974 Ford Pinto when Locksley was under center but he’s due back according to the injury report. With the inability to generate much consistent offense, the Miners are in trouble. Louisiana Tech is up multiple scores at the half.
Prediction: Louisiana Tech -14 (-110)
Half-Time Total Bet
The Bulldogs are an effective team offensively as they’ve shown an ability to put points on the board. Louisiana Tech has to take care of business if they want to hang in the West Division race since they already lost to division leading UAB. Playing at home against a dismal opponent is a surefire way to pick up a win. The Miners are anemic offensively and there’s no reason to think they’re going to put much in the way of points on the board. This one stays under the total at the half, even with Louisiana Tech holding a multiple score lead.
Prediction: Under 26.5 -110