Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech Prediction, New Orleans Bowl Preview


The Arkansas State Red Wolves (9-3) and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (8-4), teams with a past together, hook up in the 15th edition of the New Orleans Bowl. Check out the Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech prediction and game preview.


Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech Game Preview

Broadcast

Date: Saturday, December 19
Game Time: 9:00 ET
Network: ESPN

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Why You Need To Care

Separated by only 300 miles of highway, Arkansas State and Louisiana Tech have a long and rich history in football.

This will be the 38th meeting between the Red Wolves and the Bulldogs, who once shared membership in the Southland Conference and the Big West Conference. These days, Arkansas State plays out of the Sun Belt, a league it won this past year. Following a rocky start against a tough non-conference schedule, the Red Wolves reeled off eight straight wins by double-digits to land this fifth bowl invite in a row. However, head coach Blake Anderson, feeling his kids don’t get enough respect, hopes to use this event to make a statement.

La Tech enters the postseason with a sour taste in its mouth. True, with a victory Saturday the Bulldogs will string together back-to-back nine-win seasons for the first time since those Southland days four decades ago. And that’s not to be discounted. But anything less than a second straight Conference USA West Division crown wasn’t going to cut it for this veteran squad. However, hopes of a rematch with Western Kentucky came crashing down in a 58-24 implosion at the hands of Southern Miss in the regular season finale.

Why Arkansas State Will Win

The offense has been cooking ever since QB Fredi Knighten returned from injury in mid-October.

The dual-threat senior missed three early games to a groin pull, but the Red Wolves have been virtually unstoppable since his return. They average 41 points per game, scoring at least 52 in the final three. Knighten will keep an underachieving Bulldog secondary on its toes, as will the supporting cast. Backs Michael Gordon, Warren Wand and Johnston White all average more than six yards a carry, while receivers Tres Houston and Dijon Paschal are field-stretchers on play-action. Defensively, A-State leads the country with 34 takeaways, aided by pressure applied off the edge by DE Ja’Von Rolland-Jones.

Why Louisiana Tech Will Win

Yeah, Arkansas State is cruising, but the Bulldogs harbor the right balance to keep pace on offense.

The Red Wolves will score, but so will La Tech. In fact, the Bulldogs boast the more developed pro-style passing game, with Florida transfer Jeff Driskel pitching the ball around the field to Trent Taylor, Paul Turner and Carlos Henderson. And RB Kenneth Dixon, an Arkansas native, will be his team’s version of Gordon on the ground. Arkansas State is vulnerable on defense, allowing almost 29 points a game, a situation that worsened after playmaking veteran BANDIT Chris Stone was arrested in early December on drug charges.

Player Who Matters

Can Driskel avoid the turnovers and forced throws that plagued him in Gainesville?

While Driskel turned things around as a senior in Ruston, he is coming off his worst game of 2015, throwing three interceptions in the loss to Southern Miss. And the Red Wolves like to attack and jump routes much the way the Golden Eagles do. Even worse, there’s no single defender that Driskel must avoid, since 15 different Arkansas State players have picks this year. Linebackers Khari Lain and Xavier Woodson-Luster are glorified safeties, while nickel Money Hunter is one of the better cover guys on the squad.

What’s Going To Happen?

Similarly talented teams. Very different mindsets.

The matchup between A-State and La Tech is a toss-up based on personnel. The difference lies in the current direction of each program. The Bulldogs are still smarting from the Southern Miss spanking, feeling as if they warranted a different December destination. The Red Wolves, meanwhile, are streaking and fired up to close the year with 10 wins for the third time this decade. Knighten and his playmakers will be slightly more potent than Driskel and his supporting cast, outgunning Louisiana Tech in an entertaining and high-scoring matchup in the Superdome.

Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech Prediction

Final Score: Arkansas State 28, Louisiana Tech 23, Line: La Tech -2.5, o/u: 54
Must See Rating: 5: The Big Short – 1: CMA Country Christmas … 4

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