The Bulldogs face a monumental task when they travel to face the No. 22 Cougars on Friday night. BYU (2-0) obliterated Navy and Troy with little difficulty in its first two games. On defense, the Cougars have allowed just 330 yards and 10 points so far this season. On offense, BYU is averaging 51.5 points and 622.0 yards per game. Only Texas is producing more points than the Cougars at this point in the season.
Louisiana Tech (2-0) seems equipped to rise to the occasion. The Bulldogs are coming off an easy 66-38 victory over FCS Houston Baptist. The Bulldogs rolled up 542 total yards in their second game. Their offensive proficiency is no fluke. Louisiana Tech is averaging 48.5 points and 461.5 yards through the team's first two contests.
This is the first meeting between the two schools but they do have some shared history. Gary Crowton coached at Louisiana Tech from 1996 to 1998 and then at BYU from 2001 to 2004.
Louisiana Tech at No. 22 BYU
Kickoff: Friday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET
Spread: BYU -22.5
When Louisiana Tech Has the Ball
Facing BYU's defense will present some major challenges. The Cougars currently lead all FBS teams in passing defense, allowing just 96.0 yards per game. Their opponents are completing only 56.8 precent of their passes.
Being able to run the ball will be crucial. The Bulldogs have a talented enough backfield to extend drives and take some pressure off senior quarterback Luke Anthony. Israel Tucker is averaging 6.4 yards per carry while Justin Henderson is averaging 5.0 yards per attempt for Louisiana Tech. They have been an effective one-two punch so far, with both players rushing for more than 60 yards in each game to this point.
If Anthony can build on his strong outing against Houston Baptist, that should give the Bulldogs just enough offensive balance to extend drives against the Cougars. Anthony threw 314 yards and five touchdowns on 17-of-30 passing against the Huskies. The Abilene Christian transfer is completing 59 percent of his passes through two games and has thrown for 463 yards and eight touchdowns.
When BYU Has the Ball
BYU's potent offense starts with junior quarterback Zach Wilson. In his first two games, Wilson has been a consistent and efficient playmaker. He threw for a career-best 392 yards and two touchdowns in only three quarters against Troy. Wilson has completed 78 percent of his passes so far this season and is averaging 312.0 passing yards per game.
Gunner Romney and Dax Milne have emerged as Wilson's preferred targets and both receivers are doing an effective job of torching opposing defensive backs. Romney has racked up 272 yards and a touchdown on just nine catches. Milne has 175 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches. The duo has given BYU a consistent downfield threat it had lacked in recent seasons. Facing a Louisiana Tech defense that surrenders 335.0 passing yards per game, Romney and Milne could be looking at another big game.
The Cougars' offense is so lethal because the running game is also moving at full speed. Lopini Katoa and Tyler Allgeier have combined for 338 yards and four touchdowns on the ground thus far. Allgeier is averaging 7.6 yards per carry, while Katoa is gaining 7.4 yards per rush.
Louisiana Tech is the second straight BYU opponent that loves to air it out. It plays perfectly into the Cougars' drop-eight defensive scheme that they regularly employ. BYU has a swagger that hasn't been around in past seasons. The Cougars are disciplined, confident, and efficient in all three phases of the game. Add it up and that's nothing but bad news and four long quarters for the Bulldogs.
Prediction: BYU 42, Louisiana Tech 14
Podcast: CFB Week 5 Preview + Predictions
— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports, and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.
(Top photo by Gabriel Mayberry/BYU)