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2018

La Tech

College Football

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Louisiana Tech had a disappointing 2017 for Skip Holtz’s standards, going just 7-6 with a huge 51-10 bowl win. The Bulldogs lost a few games they should’ve won and that led to four Conference-USA losses. With the first returning QB in the Holtz era in J’Mar Smith, better things are expected this season, although the over/under is still at seven wins with the third-best odds (+700) to win the conference at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

Smith isn’t the normal quarterback to lead Holtz’s fast-paced, spread attack and that led to a disappointing 56% completion rate and only 16 passing touchdowns. His arm is expected to be better in his junior season, although that’s not guaranteed. At the least, receiver should be more balanced behind top wide out Teddy Veal (950 yards, 7 TDs) as Alfred Smith returns from injury to go with Rhashid Bonnette (582 yards). Running back is a bigger question with Jaqwis Dancy (262 yards) expected to be the leader with help from former tight end Kam McKnight. The line battled injuries last season, but gets most of those guys back with experience so that figures to help the unit gel a little quicker. To have a shot at winning the conference, the offense has to be better overall and more consistent.

The defense was good last year, but still couldn’t win games when the offense wasn’t cooking. It figures to be just as good after allowing 25.4 points per game with six starters returning. Sack master Jaylon Ferguson is one of the best in the conference on the end and a future NFL player. Three other seniors are set to start on the line so that group is set. The same goes for a secondary that had 19 interceptions last year with sophomore corner Amik Robertson and junior safety Darryl Lewis two of the best. Linebacker is a bit of a question and there are some unknowns with how that unit will shape out, but in a 4-2-5, it’s not a position that will hold the defense back.

Once again, difficult non-conference games will lead to problems in reaching a bowl game as trips to LSU and Miss. State can be chalked up as losses. That said, the Bulldogs only lost to South Carolina 17-16 last year, so this team isn’t afraid. Getting more than seven wins is unlikely unless Smith really takes a jump at quarterback because road games at North Texas, FAU and Southern Miss will all be difficult. In fact, if they lose those five games listed, Tech needs to win the rest to reach seven wins and the finale against WKU isn’t a freebie. It’s logical to assume the Bulldogs will be better this season, but due to schedule, more than seven wins is a long shot and that also makes winning C-USA a difficult task. To win the division, they’ll need at least one win out of the trips to North Texas and Southern Miss, their biggest competition in the West.

 

2018 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Football Schedule

Sept. 1 at South Alabama

Sept. 8 vs. Southern

Sept. 22 at LSU

Sept. 29 at North Texas

Oct. 6 vs. UAB 

Oct. 13 at UTSA

Oct. 20 vs. UTEP

Oct. 26 at Florida Atlantic

Nov. 3 at Mississippi State

Nov. 10 vs. Rice

Nov. 17 at Southern Miss

Nov. 24 vs. Western Kentucky

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