It’s a crossover matchup between a pair of top teams in Conference USA in the Mountaineer State. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are on the road as they make the trip to face the Marshall Thundering Herd Friday night. Louisiana Tech comes in off a 52-17 demolition of North Texas at home Saturday night in their last game. Marshall had last week off: they defeated Rice 20-7 on the road in their previous contest on November 2. The Thundering Herd won the only previous meeting, taking a 26-23 win in the Conference USA title game on December 6, 2014.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Seek to Remain Unbeaten in Conference PlayLouisiana Tech rolled over North Texas to pick up their eighth straight victory in their last game Saturday. The Bulldogs are 5-0 in conference play and lead the West Division of Conference USA. Louisiana Tech trailed 3-0 early on before ripping off 45 unanswered points to take full control of the game. The Bulldogs rolled up a 542-339 edge in total offense, racked up 37 first downs while allowing 16 and controlled the time of possession by a 39:04 to 20:56 margin. Louisiana Tech forced four turnovers, including a pick-six, while turning the ball over twice in the game.
The Bulldogs are putting up an average of 292.1 yards per game through the air (23rd in the nation) while adding 187 yards per contest on the ground (42nd in the country) this season. Louisiana Tech is 13th in the FBS in scoring offense with 38.1 points per game while the team is 40th in scoring defense as they allow 22.6 points per contest. J’Mar Smith is the force under center: he is 198 of 314 passing for 2,483 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions while adding 226 rushing yards plus two scores. Aaron Allen is eight of nine for 114 yards with a touchdown plus an interception while Westin Elliott is three of eight for 32 yards with three interceptions this season. Israel Tucker is third on the team with 45 carries for 224 yards on the ground plus two scores this season. Jaqwis Dancy contributes 44 carries for 207 yards plus two scores while Justin Henderson chips in 109 carries for a team-high 712 yards plus 14 scores. Cee Jay Powell has hauled in a team-leading 40 receptions for 457 yards and a score. Griffin Hebert (22 catches, 385 yards, four TD), Smoke Harris (29 receptions, 207 yards, TD) and Adrian Hardy (39 receptions, 482 yards, TD) are solid targets in the passing game. Bailey Hale has hit all 43 extra point attempts and 12 of 14 field goal tries with a long of 50.
Marshall Thundering Herd Look to Stay HotMarshall had a bye week last week but dropped Rice two weeks ago for their fourth straight victory. The Thundering Herd knows if they win out, they would play in the Conference USA title game as they own the tie-breaker over Florida Atlantic via a 45-30 win over the Owls. Marshall erased a 7-3 deficit in the second quarter by holding Rice scoreless over the final 40 minutes to earn the victory. The Thundering Herd racked up a 391-231 edge in total offense, held an 18-16 advantage in first downs and controlled the clock 33:08 to 26:52 in the game. Neither team turned the ball over but Marshall held Rice to three of 12 on third-down and zero of three on fourth down in the game.
The Thundering Herd is 75th in the nation in passing offense as they average 224.7 yards per game and tied for 32nd in rushing with an average of 201.2 yards per contest. Marshall is 82nd in the FBS in scoring offense as they put up 26.2 points per game and sit in the middle of the pack in scoring defense as they are 45th by allowing 24 points per contest. Isaiah Green is 151 of 250 passing for 1,876 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions while ranking third on the team with 242 rushing yards and two scores. Alex Thomson is six of seven for 102 yards plus a score while Jackson White completed both his passes for 11 yards. Brenden Knox leads the ground game for Marshall with 164 carries for 933 yards plus eight scores while Sheldon Evans is next in line with 76 carries for 242 yards and two scores. Tight end Xavier Gaines is second on the team with 23 receptions for 276 yards plus two scores. Armani Levias (team-high 39 receptions, 442 yards, three TD) and Brec Thompson (17 catches, 314 yards) are next in line. Justin Rohrwasser is 25 of 26 on extra points and has hit 13 of 14 field goal attempts with a long of 53 this season.
The top trends for this contest, according to Covers.com:
- Bulldogs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win
- Bulldogs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall
- Bulldogs are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- Thundering Herd are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a bye week
- Thundering Herd are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game
- Thundering Herd are 2-12 ATS in their last 14 home games