Arkansas State (9-3) vs Louisiana Tech (8-4)
When: Saturday, December 19th 2015
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Two high-scoring offenses will meet Saturday in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl when the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs take on the Arkansas State Red Wolves. The Bulldogs had one of the most prolific offenses in program history this season, finishing fourth all-time in total yards with 5,589 and points scored with 441. They finished 20th in FBS this season scoring an average of 36.8 points per game. Florida transfer Jeff Driskel was named Conference USA Newcomer of the Year after passing for 3,575 yards and 24 touchdowns, which was more than he had in four years combined playing for the Gators. Running back Kenneth Dixon ran for 971 yards this season and can become the first player in school history with three 1,000 yard seasons. The senior is tied with Navy’s Keenan Reynolds for the NCAA record in career touchdowns with 83. This is head coach Skip Holtz’s second bowl appearance in three years with Louisiana Tech after leading the Bulldogs to a 35-18 victory over Illinois in the Heart of Dallas Bowl last season. The Bulldogs won four of their final five games, but the offense sputtered a bit down the stretch including the loss to Southern Mississippi for the Conference USA West title.
One of the hottest teams in the country is Arkansas State. The Red Wolves won their final eight games and scored 37 or more points in each of those. The scored a 55-17 win over Texas State in their finale to win the Sun Belt Conference Championship. Quarterback Fredi Knighten took over for the ineffective James Tabary earlier in the season and won all seven of his starts. Knighten threw 19 touchdowns to only seven interceptions this season and ranks third in the Sun Belt with a passer rating of 140.5. Senior running back Michael Gordon broke 1,000 rushing yards for a second straight season and is coming off 148 yards against Texas State in his final home game for the Red Wolves. Arkansas State finished the season as the 10th highest scoring team in the nation with 41 points a game and 14th in rushing yards with 236.7 a game. Starting defensive end Chris Stone and backup receiver Tyler Trosin were arrested on drug charges Tuesday and will not play in the New Orleans Bowl. Stone is second on the team with 7.5 tackles for loss. The Red Wolves defense gave up a lot of yards through the air this season ranking 96th in FBS allowing 251.9 a game.
This Red Wolves team is just too hot to go against right now. Louisiana Tech’s offense was held in check in the last two games of the season. I’m getting points with the hotter team, so I’ll take it.
Pick: Arkansas State +2