FACTS & STATS: Site: Alamodome (65,000) -- San Antonio, Texas. Television: CSS. Home Record: LaTech 2-3, UTSA 2-3. Away Record: LaTech 2-3, UTSA 4-2. Neutral Record: LaTech 0-1, UTSA 0-0. Conference Record: LaTech 3-4, UTSA 5-2. Series Record: Louisiana Tech leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Former members of the Western Athletic Conference, and now members of Conference USA, get together at the Alamodome this weekend, as the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs pay a visit to the Roadrunners of Texas-San Antonio.
The Bulldogs, one of the most explosive teams in all of college football last season, have limped along to find just four wins here in 2013. The team has dropped two straight decisions after losing to Tulsa last weekend, 24-14. Of the unit's four victories, one has come against an opponent (Lamar) outside of the FBS, and the other three have been lodged against league foes who have some of the worst overall records in college football at the moment.
As for the Roadrunners, they are enjoying a four-game win streak, thanks in part to a 21-13 victory over North Texas on the road last Saturday. The team is 5-2 in conference play and, with a win and a Rice loss versus Tulane, UTSA would capture the Conference USA West Division Championship, a major accomplishment for a third-year program that was expected to finish last in the standings.
The Bulldogs won the only previous meeting between these two teams last season in Ruston by a score of 51-27.
Blake Martin scored on a 10-yard run in the second quarter and Ryan Higgins hit Jon Greenwalt with a four-yard score in the third frame last week, but still the offense for the Bulldogs struggled in a big way during the loss to visiting Tulsa. Louisiana Tech produced just 336 yards of total offense on 79 snaps as Higgins converted 22-of-43 passes for 195 yards, was intercepted four times and suffered six sacks. Tevin King pitched in with a team-best 111 yards on 35 rushing attempts.
The defense for the Bulldogs wasn't all that bad as they held the Golden Hurricane to just 368 yards, but still the run defense was exposed for 248 yards along the way.
On the season, the Bulldogs have surrendered 195.1 ypg on the ground, ranking them 95th nationally, but the secondary has been able to keep opponents from attacking through the air, holding foes to just 207.1 ypg which is good enough for 23rd in the nation this week. Daniel Cobb paces the unit with 71 tackles, is second in tackles for loss with 10, and has two fumble recoveries to his credit.
At this point, Higgins is just trying to get through the final game of the season without suffering too much, seeing as how he took so many hits from the Golden Hurricane. The signal caller has appeared in eight games, thrown for just six touchdowns, against 13 INTs. Kenneth Dixon remains atop the rushing list with his 917 yards and four touchdowns for a group that has produced 170.9 ypg.
It was a family affair for the Roadrunners last week, as Evans Okotcha rushed for a season-high 104 yards on 16 carries and his younger brother, Bennett, intercepted a pass in the end zone on the final play of the game in order to preserve UTSA's eight-point win over North Texas. Quarterback Eric Soza connected on 30-of-49 passes for 274 yards, reaching 11 different receivers, while added 36 rushing yards and a pair of second-half scores in the triumph.
The UTSA defense allowed the Mean Green to convert just 6-of-15 on third down and limited the hosts to 334 yards of offense overall. Pacing the defense overall this season for the Roadrunners has been Triston Wade with his 86 tackles, adding a pair of interceptions returned for a combined 93 yards. Codie Brooks checks in with five sacks and Robert Singletary four more quarterback takedowns.
Soza has not only completed 61.3 percent of his pass attempts for 222.5 ypg and 11 TDs, against 10 INTs, he is also second on the unit with 331 yards rushing and it tops with six TDs on the ground. Unfortunately, the rushing attack may have to regroup a bit this weekend with David Glasco II (494 yards, five TDs), possibly missing the outing due to a foot injury.
As long as the UTSA defense can bring the pressure against Higgins and rattle the LaTech quarterback, there's a good chance the Roadrunners could be celebrating a major accomplishment after 60 minutes of football this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas-San Antonio 34, Louisiana Tech 24
Saturday, November 30, 3:30 p.m. (ET)