There's a non-conference clash on the gridiron between a pair of mid-major programs in the Yellowhammer State when a member of Conference USA takes on one from the Sun Belt. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are on the road as they travel to face the South Alabama Jaguars Saturday night. Louisiana Tech was whipped 48-20 on the road by #4 Clemson in their most recent contest last Saturday. South Alabama fell just short in their last game, falling 32-31 on the road to UCLA last Saturday. In the all-time series between the programs, the Bulldogs have claimed both meetings, including a 30-26 triumph on the road in the most recent matchup on September 1, 2018.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Trying to Earn Win to Even RecordLouisiana Tech fell to 0-2 against FBS opponents as they were rolled by #4 Clemson on the road in their most recent game. The Bulldogs enter this game 1-2 overall and will attempt to even their record by earning their first win of the season over an FBS opponent. Against Clemson, Louisiana Tech was within 13-6 at the half before getting outscored 21-0 in the third quarter to fall into a 34-6 hole. The Bulldogs never got closer than 14 after that as Clemson pulled away. Louisiana Tech was outgained 521-323 in total offense, gave up 25 first downs while picking up 14 and turned the ball over four times while forcing just one. The Bulldogs lost the time of possession battle by a 31:24 to 28:36 margin as well.
For the season, the Bulldogs are 32nd in the nation in passing offense with an average of 287.7 yards per contest while they stand 111th in the nation in rushing offense with 107.7 yards per game. Louisiana Tech is 71st in the FBS in scoring offense with an average of 32 points per contest while they are a dismal 123rd in scoring defense by allowing 39 points per game. Parker McNeil is 41 of 76 passing for 650 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. Matthew Downing (21 of 38, 197 yards, TD, three INT) and Landry Lyddy (two of two, 16 yards) have seen action under center as well. The run game is led by Marquis Crosby (35 carries, 227 yards, three TD) with Charvis Thornton (16 carries, 74 yards, TD) and Harlan Dixon (eight carries, 36 yards) also in the mix. Tre Harris leads the team with 14 receptions for 165 yards plus two scores this season. Smoke Harris (12 catches, 76 yards, TD), Julien Lewis (10 receptions, 107 yards), tight end Griffin Hebert (nine grabs, 278 yards, two TD) and Cyrus Allen (six catches, 152 yards, two TD) are capable targets as well. In the kicking game, Jacob Barnes has drilled all 12 extra point attempts and four of five field goal attempts with a long of 35.
South Alabama Jaguars Try to Shake Off Near MissSouth Alabama went right down to the wire against UCLA on the road only to fall short. The Jaguars fell to 2-1 on the season with the narrow loss and try to shake that off to get back in the win column. Against UCLA, South Alabama led 10-6 after the opening quarter, 17-13 at the half and 31-23 after three quarters before running out of steam. Holding the lead late, the Jaguars went for it after shifting out of a field goal attempt and Tanner McGee was sacked, turning the ball over on downs. UCLA drove down the field and kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired. South Alabama was edged 407-399 in total offense and 23-22 in first downs while each team turned the ball over twice.
On the season, South Alabama is 23rd in the FBS in passing offense with 302.7 yards per game through the air. The Jaguars are tied for 64th in the nation in rushing offense as they average 167 yards per contest on the ground. South Alabama is 33rd in the FBS in scoring offense as they average 39 points a game. The Jaguars stand 52nd in scoring defense by allowing an average of 21 points per game. Carter Bradley has completed 69 of 103 passes for 836 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions while adding 41 yards plus a score on the ground. Desmond Trotter is nine of 10 for 72 yards. La’Damian Webb leads the ground game with 54 carries for 313 yards plus five scores this season. Terrion Avery (21 carries, 82 yards) is the second back in the system. In the passing game, Jalen Wayne leads the team with 20 catches for 276 yards plus three scores. Caullin Lacy (15 receptions, 218 yards, TD), Devin Voisin (13 grabs, 121 yards, TD) and Webb (10 receptions, 90 yards) are good options as well. Diego Guajardo is 13 of 14 on extra point attempts and four of four on field goal attempts with a long of 48 this season.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
We’re looking at a pair of teams that can move the ball through the air at will while they are more than capable of putting big point totals on the board. Where these teams deviate is on the defensive side of the ball as Louisiana Tech gave up 52 points to Missouri and 48 to Clemson in their two games against FBS opponents this season. Meanwhile, South Alabama has held their own in games, including nearly upending UCLA at the famed Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The Jaguars are very good at home and they should be able to exploit the defensive woes that Louisiana Tech has. Give the points and look for South Alabama to get back in the win column here.
Full-Game Total Pick
When these two teams take the field, truckloads of points seemingly follow close behind. Louisiana Tech has gone over in each of their first three games this season. The Bulldogs combined with Missouri for 76 points, with Stephen F. Austin for a total of 69 points and then 68 points in the game with Clemson. Those games had totals set at 62, 64.5 and 53 points so they easily exceeded the number in each contest. Meanwhile, South Alabama has gone over the mark in each of their three games this season. The Jaguars saw a combined 55 points against a 53-point number against Nicholls State, 62 against a 57-point number against Central Michigan and 63 against a 59-point mark in the UCLA game. Louisiana Tech has gone over in each of their last seven games while South Alabama has gone over the mark in seven of their last 10 contests. This game goes over the number as these teams continue to pile up points.