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Louisiana Tech

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Louisiana Tech had another successful season under Skip Holtz finishing with nine wins including its third-straight bowl win. But the Bulldogs have some work to do if they want to make another C-USA title game and win another bowl. With only 11 returning starters and some big names gone on the offensive end, things could be difficult this time around.

J’mar Smith steps in as the likely quarterback with no one else on the roster having major experience. Smith was solid in his one game last year and adds a new running element to the offense, which could make this group more dynamic. Still, it’s hard to see them averaging more than 44.3 points per game without stud receivers Trent Taylor (1,803 yards, 12 TDs) and Carlos Henderson (1,535 yards, 19 TDs) on the roster. Alfred Smith, Kam McKnight and Tulane transfer Teddy Veal should form a nice core, but losing record-breaking receivers is tough. Jarred Craft should match last year’s numbers out of the backfield with 1,074 yards and nine touchdowns to go with 340 receiving yards. The line returns three starters and that should be enough to keep pace even without their stud left tackle, Forrest Lamp.

Defense has always been the question for this team after giving up 33.6 points per game last year and 50-plus to WKU in both games. There are a couple playmakers on the defensive side, but that’s it. End Jaylon Ferguson is one of the best after a 14.5-sack season with Deldrick Canty joining him on the other side. But outside of them and linebacker Russell Farris, the front seven is lacking experience and depth. The secondary was gashed last year and now only gets one starter back with safety Secdrick Cooper. Even if the offense is elite, the defense will have its usual struggles.

Once again, the Bulldogs could drop a couple in non-conference play with Miss. State and South Carolina early on. A trip to WKU doesn’t help either, but the West division could still be decided with the late matchup against Southern Miss, which is at home for La. Tech. Other than that, the Bulldogs get a nice run in conference play with all of their road games coming against beatable opposition.

It’s hard seeing Louisiana Tech being better than a year ago with a new quarterback and new wide receivers, but the offense should keep this team as one of the best in the C-USA yet again. Winning the title game may be another question due to defense, but the Bulldogs should be around last season’s nine wins (over/under is 8.5). They have the second-best odds at +525 to win the conference (at 5Dimes Sportsbook), which places them in first in the West division.


2017 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Football Schedule

Sept. 2 vs. Northwestern State
Sept. 9 vs. Mississippi State
Sept. 16 at Western Kentucky
Sept. 23 at South Carolina

Sept. 30 vs. South Alabama
Oct. 7 at UAB
Oct. 21 vs. Southern Miss

Oct. 28 at Rice
Nov. 4 vs. North Texas
Nov. 11 vs. Florida Atlantic
Nov. 18 at UTEP
Nov. 25 vs. UTSA

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