The College Football Bowl season continues on Thursday, December 26 and we will see the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs grapple with the Miami Hurricanes in the Independence Bowl. This contest has a start time of 4:00 pm ET and will take place at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Bulldogs enter this game at 9-3 on the year while the Canes come in at 6-6.
La Tech Got Their Offense Back On TrackThe Louisiana Tech Bulldogs were rolling right along as they entered the final three games of their schedule with an 8-1 record and they had a shot at a berth in the Conference U.S.A. Title game. Well, a 1-2 finish ended those hopes. the Bulldogs have been a solid offensive team for much of the year, but they began their final three games scoring a total of 24 points in losses to Marshall and UAB. The Bulldogs were able to bounce back in their finale as they ripped UTSA by a score of 41-27. Their offense got back on track in that game, but it faces a stiff test against a Miami team that had one of the better defenses in the nation.
The Bulldogs racked up 499 yards of total offense in the contest. J'mar Smith had a big game as he threw for 331 yards with three TDs and no INTs. He has now thrown for 2814 yards with 17 TDs and just four INTs on the year but will be facing a Miami team that is 22nd in the nation against the pass. Smith will need some help from his mediocre ground game but that will not be easy either as the Canes are 16th against the run. Leading their ground attack has been Justin Henderson, who has run for 967 yards and 15 TDs on the year. He had 105 yards but no TDs in the win over the Roadrunners.
The Bulldog defense has not been great overall this year but it has a chance at a good showing against a Miami team that has not looked great on offense so far. The pass defense has been an issue for the Bulldogs and they allowed the Roadrunners to throw for 280 yards in that game. That could be a problem here as the Canes are 42nd in passing. The Bulldogs could face a lot of passing in this game as they have been decent against the run and the Canes are 1220th in rushing. The Bulldogs have won their last five bowl games in a row and they are 7-3-1 all-time in bowl games. Can they keep their streak going? Keep reading to find out.
Seasonal Stats & Rankings: The Bulldogs come in ranked 30th in the nation in total offense at 445.2 ypg, 31st in passing at 277.3 ypg, 60th in rushing at 167.9ypg and 29th in scoring, putting up 34.0 ppg. On the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs are ranked 70th in total yards allowed at 393.4 ypg, 98th against the pass at 247.8 ypg, 54th against the run at 145.7 ypg, and 44th in points allowed, giving up just 23.7 ppg.
The Canes Did Not Finish StrongThe Miami Hurricanes went 6-6 on the year but they did not close out the regular season on a high note as they lost their final two games. Miami lost at Florida International but a score of 31-24 and then followed that up with a 27-17 loss to Duke. Miami went just 4-6 in their last 10 games and they have just one win over a Division One team by more than 17 points. Three of their Division One wins have been by eight points or less while five of their six losses have been by seven points or less. That means that eight of their 11 games against division one teams have been decided by one score. Could this one as well? You'll have to keep reading to find out.
One game that was not decided by one score was their finale against Duke as the Canes lost that game by 10 points. The offense has been inconsistent all year long and they had just 17 points on 259 yards of total offense. That will not get it done. Jarren Williams hit just 11 of his 26 pass attempts for 142 yards and a TD with no INTs. Definitely not his best effort, but he will be facing a Bulldogs defense that has struggled against the pass this year. Williams has hit 62.7% of his passes for 2903 yards with 19 TDs and just six INTs on the year. Williams could use help for their ground game, but that won't happen as they have one of the worst rushing attacks in the nation. Deejay Dallas leads the team in rushing with 694 yards and eight TDs. However, Dallas suffered an elbow injury in the loss against FIU and is out for the year.
You hurrrrrrddd BIG5️⃣4️⃣5️⃣ https://t.co/oi6oByX8wU— doce✝️ (@paytonsho_) December 6, 2019
The defense for Miami has been solid for most of the year but it did wear down a bit near the close of the season. Miami allowed 360 ypg and 28.0 pg over their last three games of the regular season. That is not good news as they are facing a solid offensive team in this one. Let's talk kicking game for a moment. The Canes are 112th in the nation in FG% at 60% and the Bulldogs are 26th in FG% against at 65.0%. On the flip side, the Canes are 100th in FG% against at 81% and the Bulldogs are 25th in FG% at 83.3%. That gives the edge to the Bulldogs in the kicking game. Will it be enough to upset Miami? We shall see.
Seasonal Stats & Rankings: The Hurricanes come in ranked 89th in the nation in total offense at 379.7 ypg, 42nd in passing at 257.2 ypg, 120th in rushing at 122.5 ypg and 73rd in scoring, putting up 27.8 ppg. On the defensive side of the ball, Miami is ranked 13th in total yards allowed at 307.8 ypg, 22nd against the pass at 197.9 ypg, 16th against the run at 109.8 ypg, and 25th in points allowed, giving up just 20.8 ppg.
Update: DL Jonathan Garvin (5 sacks) and DE Trevon Hill (4.5) sacks will miss this bowl game due to the draft. Both are sitting this one out.
Trends Are Courtesy Of Covers.com Louisiana Tech is:
- 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Bowl games
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games as an underdog
- 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games in December
- 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games in December
- 2-9 ATS in their last 11 neutral site games
- 1-6 ATS in their last 7 Bowl games as a favorite