September 13, 2011

Tech vs. Houston game preview







RUSTON, La. - In a game that could go on for days, Saturday's matchup between Louisiana Tech and University of Houston should be an offensive showdown. Houston brings Heisman trophy candidate Case Keenum into Joe Aillet Stadium against a suspect pass defense of Tech. Tech's Nick Isham brings an uncanny moxy for a true freshman quarterback. Neither team's pass defense is very good and should result in a high scoring game.


Las Vegas has the line in this one between 7 and 9 points in favor of the Houston Cougars. Given a sixth-year senior quarterback and Tech's pass defense against FCS Central Arkansas this seems fair. When Tech hosted Boise State when they were in the top 10, Tech was rarely a very large underdog as they play well at home.


Now for the breakdown.



















HOUSTON COUGARS EDGE LOUISIANA TECH BULLDOGS
SECONDARY
PASSING ATTACK

Junior college transfer corner back D.J. Hayden has been the leader of this group thus far this season. This group as a whole however is giving up an average of 247 yards per game through the air for 83rd in the country. The pass efficiency defense is 94th in the country.

True freshman quarterback Nick Isham has been "Mr. Cool" in the pocket. No matter if he gets sacked or throws an interception (thrown only one so far) he remains calm. Junior college transfer receiver Quinton Patton is leading the receiving corps for Tech with 153 yards per game.
LINEBACKERS
GROUND ATTACK

Houston lines up in the 3-4 defense which means they have 4 linebackers on the field at a time. Sammy Brown (pictured) led Conference USA last season in tackles for loss. Marcus McGraw has racked up 100 tackles in each of the three years he has played.

Tech senior running back Lennon Creer is the work horse of the backfield. Last season, Creer ran for over 1,000 yards and last week against Central Arkansas Creer ran for over 100 and for more than 5 yards per carry. Fellow senior Ray Holley had over 5 yards a carry as well.
DEFENSIVE LINE
OFFENSIVE LINE

The Cougar defensive line is a bit undersized and is ancored by nose guard Dominick Smith in the middle of that 3-man front. This group has struggled to get pressure on the quarterback this season as they have yet to pick up a sack.

The offensive line for Tech has struggled at times this season but has the potential to be very good. The group gave up 3 sacks to Southern Miss and 2 to Central Arkansas.
PASSING ATTACK
SECONDARY

With Houston quarterback Case Keenum in his sixth year of eligibility following a medical redshirt last season, it is hard to give anyone but the Houston passing game an edge when he's behind center. Houston's passing offense ranks first in the nation with 436.5 yards a game.

Against Southern Miss, Tech lost what many believed to be the key component to a terrible pass defense a year ago when senior defensive back Ryan Williams went down with a significant knee injury. How will Tech replace him and will they slow down the Houston passing attack remains to be seen as they currently rank 107th against the pass.
GROUND ATTACK
LINEBACKERS

Houston sports a three-headed monster of sorts in the backfield with Bryce Beall (pictured), Michael Hayes and Charles Sims. Sims was injured against UCLA and did not play against North Texas. His status is unkown at this time against Tech.

Tech's run defense ranks 45th in the country going into the Houston game and really stifled any run game UCA tried to muster last week as the Bears were able to average less than 4 yards per carry.
OFFENSIVE LINE

DEFENSIVE LINE

The Cougars have three first-year starters across its offensive line and a converted guard playing center Sneior Chris Thompson. This group ranks 11th in the country in sacks allowed but some of that should be credited to a veteran quarterback.

With stronger play this season from its tackles, Tech's defensive line is improved. The ends are the strength of this group with senior Matt Broha and sophomore IK Enemkpali. Junior college transfer tackle and Ruston native Jon'al White is a force inside.
SPECIAL TEAMS

SPECIAL TEAMS

Cougar punter Richie Leone is an elite punter and can flip the field easily when he gets the opporunity. Patrick Edwards (pictured) is a good return man and is a threat to return a kick the distance at any time.

With punter Ryan Allen and kicker Matt Nelson (pictured) returning for the Bulldogs and Lyle Fitte returning kickoffs, the Bulldogs are a force to be reckoned with in special teams. Andrew Guillot is a threat to return punts as well as he returned one for over 50 yards last week.



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