New Orleans Bowl – Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (-2) versus Arkansas State Red Wolves

Posted: December 18, 2015 in College football, Football
Tags: , , ,

new orleans bowl

These schools met every year from 1970-1998, but haven’t met since. Louisiana Tech leads the all-time series 25-12 and has won nine of 10. This will be Arkansas State’s second appearance in this bowl (Tech’s first). They lost to Southern Miss, 31-19 (+15.5) in 2005. Head coach Blake Anderson coached his first bowl last year (GoDaddy), a 63-44 (+3) loss to Toledo. Louisiana Tech has been to three bowls in the last seven years (2-1 SU/3-0 ATS), including winning last years Heart of Dallas Bowl, 35-18 (-6.5) over Illinois. Prior to Louisiana Tech, head coach Skip Holtz was 2-3 SU/3-2 ATS in bowls at East Carolina & USF.

Louisiana Tech entered the season as the favorite to win the CUSA West, but fell one gm short. After starting the season 1-2, they reeled off three straight wins, then lost as expected at Miss State, then won four straight before falling to Southern Miss in the finale. Former Florida Gator quarterback Jeff Driskel had a resurgence in Ruston, as he finished with six games over 300 passing yards to lead an offense that averages 466 yards per game. Running back Kenneth Dixon entered the season as the schools all-time leading rusher and is nearing 1,000 yards for the third time, despite an injury plagued year. Louisiana Tech has an average rushing defense and faces Arkansas State’s potent rushing offense.

Arkansas State was one of the favorites to win the SBC as they returned a second year head coach for the first time since 2003 and went undefeated in conference play. They enter this game red hot, having won eight straight. Quarterback Fredi Knighten was banged up early, but is healthy and threw for over 300 yards twice in the last three games. Running back Michael Gordon leads a rushing attack that averaged 237 (5.0) yards per game as the Red Wolves averaged 449 total yards per game on the season. Defensively Arkansas State has a top notch secondary as they allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete just 52.7 percent of their passes with a 23-26 ratio.

It’s hard to pick who will have the crowd edge as while Louisiana Tech is closer, Arkansas State’s backers travel well. The Bulldogs are minus 8 yards per game versus bowl teams, but the Red Wolves are minus 74 yards per game against bowl teams. Arkansas State also lost two year starting left tackle Jemar Clark for the year against New Mexico State. Both teams are excited to be in this bowl and there should be a lot of scoring. Arkansas State has played better of late, and Louisiana Tech hasn’t played since November 28th.

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