Idaho (1-6) at Louisiana Tech (5-1)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 20, 7:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Joe Aillet Stadium (30,600) -- Ruston, Louisiana.
Television: ESPN Regional, MASN. Home Record: Idaho 1-2, LaTech 2-1. Away
Record: Idaho 0-4, LaTech 3-0. Neutral Record: Idaho 0-0, LaTech 0-0.
Conference Record: Idaho 1-1, LaTech 0-0. Series Record: Louisiana Tech leads,
GAME NOTES: The last team in the Western Athletic Conference to finally break
into their league schedule, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs try to bounce back
from a heart-breaking loss as they entertain the Idaho Vandals at Joe Aillet
Stadium in Ruston on Saturday night.
Last Saturday night, the Bulldogs filled in an open date that they originally
had on their schedule with a make-up game versus Texas A&M that was initially
to be the season opener for both schools but had to be scratched due to
potential weather issues. As a result, LaTech and the Aggies met up in
Shreveport with both programs being nationally ranked, but only A&M maintained
a spot in the Top-25 thanks to a 59-57 triumph.
The loss for the Bulldogs was the first of the season after opening with five
As for the Vandals, they are at the other end of the spectrum in terms of
their level of success so far in 2012. The team dipped to 1-1 in conference
play last weekend with a 38-7 loss at Texas State, one of the newest additions
to the WAC. The lone win for Idaho was a 26-18 triumph over New Mexico State
at home earlier this month which means the team is still searching for its
first road victory since defeating San Jose State, 32-29, on Nov. 5, 2011.
LaTech owns a 5-2 advantage in the all-time series with the Vandals, thanks in
part to a 24-11 win in Moscow last season.
Up against the Bobcats in San Marcos, Idaho's offense struggled in a big way
as Dominique Blackman converted 15-of-28 passes for 161 yards and was
intercepted once. Running back James Baker accounted for the lone touchdown
for the visitors on a three-yard run in the second quarter, after which Texas
State scored 24 straight points to put the game out of reach.
While the Vandals were generating just 104 net rushing yards, the defense for
the squad was giving up a hefty 337 yards and four touchdowns. Unable to force
a single turnover, Idaho was credited with a mere two tackles behind the line
Since delivering three sacks against three straight opponents, the Vandals
have recorded only two quarterback takedowns in the last three games total and
because of that the squad's average of only 1.57 sacks per game overall ranks
them 87th in the country at the moment.
Unable to slow down opponents with an regularity, the Vandals are now 112th in
the nation in points allowed (38.0 ppg).
Offensively, Blackman has been slow to warm up with his new team and while he
has had a total of three games with at least 300 yards passing, he has
followed each of those up with games in which he has thrown for less than 175
yards each time, twice failing to throw a single TD.
With a rushing attack that accounts for only 86.0 ypg (115th), it should come
as little surprise that this team is delivering just 14.3 ppg which is ahead
of only two other teams tracked by the NCAA at the FBS level that are not
reclassifying or provisional this season.
In stark contrast to Idaho's inability to produce points, the Bulldogs are
beasts in that department, even when they lose. In one of those instances
where a failed PAT comes back to haunt a team, that's exactly what happened to
LaTech in the second quarter against a Texas A&M squad that ran out to a 27-0
lead. Not only did the Bulldogs have their PAT blocked, it was returned the
length of the field for two points by the Aggies, a three-point swing that
proved to be crucial in a two-point final.
Colby Cameron brought the hosts back by throwing for 450 yards and five
touchdowns, with Quinton Patton tying a school record with 21 receptions,
leading to 233 yards and four scores as he was named the WAC Offensive Player
of the Week even though his team lost.
It would be convenient to lay all the blame for last week's defeat on the
defense, allowing A&M's Johnny Manziel to throw for 395 yards and three
touchdowns and run for another 181 yards and three scores, but both sides were
lacking in that department for sure.
Make no mistake, with the Bulldogs scoring their highest point total in a
single game in more than a decade, the team is now averaging an incredible
53.8 ppg which is tops in the entire nation. Unfortunately, head coach Sonny
Dykes seems to be alright with running a quick-strike offense and allowing
opponents to score their own share of points, seeing as how the team giving up
an unhealthy 39.7 ppg (114th in the country).
This might be one of the only games this season where the Bulldogs don't have
to worry that much about the competition returning fire on the scoreboard.
With LaTech used to reaching the end zone on drives that last less than two
minutes, the Vandals have to be careful not to let this meeting get too ugly,
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana Tech 56, Idaho 17
10/17 10:44:33 ET