FACTS & STATS: Site: Legion Field (71,594) — Birmingham, Alabama.
Television: American Sports Network. Home Record: LA Tech 3-1, UAB 3-1. Away
Record: LA Tech 3-2, UAB 2-3. Neutral Record: LA Tech 0-0, UAB 0-0. Conference
Record: LA Tech 5-0, UAB 3-2. Series Record: Louisiana Tech leads, 4-0.
GAME NOTES: One of the hottest teams in Conference USA will attempt to
continue their reign atop the West Division standings on Saturday afternoon,
as the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs travel to Legion Field to take on the UAB
Louisiana Tech has reeled off four straight victories to move to 6-3 overall,
earning bowl eligibility for the third time in the past four seasons. The
Bulldogs had one of their most dominant performances of the season last week
in a 59-10 blowout of Western Kentucky to improve their league record to 5-0.
UAB had lost two straight heading into last Saturday’s contest but managed to
salvage a three-game road trip with a 31-28 victory at Florida Atlantic. The
Blazers are now 5-4 overall (3-2 C-USA) and have won three of four on their
Louisiana Tech has defeated UAB in all four previous meetings in the all-time
series, most recently in 1999, 41-20.
The Bulldogs’ offense has been very efficient this season, putting up 35.8 ppg
and 394.6 ypg. Last week’s effort was their best yet as they amassed more than
500 yards and scored seven touchdowns.
Cody Sokol was outstanding in the win over WKU, completing 30-of-42 for 335
yards while accounting for a career-high six touchdowns (one rushing). Sokol’s
season as a whole has been stellar, as he’s throwing for 257.0 ypg with 24
touchdowns and nine interceptions.
The biggest beneficiary of Sokol’s performance last week was Trent Taylor, who
hauled in nine passes for 113 yards and three touchdowns. Taylor leads the way
in receptions (41), yards (538) and touchdowns (five), and the deep receiving
corps boasts five players with at least 250 receiving yards.
Kenneth Dixon is an outstanding three-down back. He not only has 758 rushing
yards and 11 touchdowns, but he’s also a threat catching the ball out of the
backfield with 21 grabs for 257 yards and five scores.
Louisiana Tech’s defense shined just as brightly as the offense last week in
allowing just 10 points and forcing five turnovers, a performance that went a
long way in helping the unit’s year-to-date numbers (24.1 ppg, 344.8 ypg).
The defense is tied for second in the nation in turnovers gained with 25 (16
interceptions, nine fumble recoveries). Kentrell Brice is the leading tackler
with 58 stops to go with three forced fumbles and an interception. Terrell
Pinson (40 tackles) has made plays all over the field with 7.0 TFL, 1.5 sacks,
two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. Xavier Woods and
Adairius Barnes have combined for seven picks.
UAB has also performed well offensively, scoring 34.6 ppg while ranking third
in the league in yardage (440.3 ypg).
Most of the Blazers’ production comes out of the backfield. Jordan Howard has
been outstanding, ranking fourth in nation in carries (205) and 14th in yards
(1,009), while scoring nine touchdowns, with 167 yards and two of those scores
coming last week. D.J. Vinson has also been actively involved with 549 yards
and four touchdowns on 74 attempts.
With UAB having nearly twice as many rushes than passes, Cody Clements isn’t
asked to do much, but he’s still been efficient in completing more than 68
percent of his passes for 1,724 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions
while adding solid rushing totals as well (159 yards, four TDs).
J.J. Nelson has been an excellent deep threat with 571 yards and three
touchdowns on just 26 catches (22.0 ypc). Kennard Backman has a team-best 27
receptions for 297 yards and three scores.
While the Blazers’ offense has played well, the defense has let them down by
allowing 30.2 ppg and 396.7 ypg.
Jake Ganus is the unit’s top playmaker with 49 tackles, 11.5 TFL and 5.0
sacks. Diaheem Watkins (8.0 TFL, 6.0 sacks) and Shaq Jones (8.0 TFL) have been
solid up front. Lamarcus Farmer has a pair of interceptions.
UAB has the rushing attack to keep Louisiana Tech’s offense off the field, and
on its hkles, INT), Howard Matthews (52 tackles, 2.5 TFL) and Justin Bass (50
tackles) are all jostling for the team lead in stops.
Auburn’s offensive attack has been outstanding this season, as it puts up 38.8
ppg while ranking 18th in the nation in total offense (498.1 ypg). The Tigers
conquered one of the nation’s best defenses last week by displaying a nearly
perfect balance (254 passing yards, 253 rushingd
scored the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Corey Grant (283
yards, two TDs) is also mixed in.
D’haquille Williams (37 receptions, 598 yards, five TDs) is Marshall’s
favorite target in the passing game. Sammie Coates has just 18 receptions but
has made the most of them by piling up 358 yards (19.9 ypc) and two scores.
Although Auburn’s defense (22.0 ppg, 378.6 ypg) was outstanding early in the
season, its production has fallen off considerably in the last three games
Jonathan Jones is a ball-hawk in the secondary with five of the team’s 13
interceptions. Other defensive standouts include Johnathan Ford (60 tackles,
two INTs), Cassanova McKinzy (52 tackles, 8.0 TFL, INT), Kris Frost (46
tackles, 6.0 TFL, 2.5 sacks, three FF) and Montravius Adams (29 tackles, 6.0
TFL, 2.0 sacks, INT).
Although Texas A&M broke out of its funk last week, it hardly looked
impressive doing so against a non-conference opponent. Auburn’s offense will
have plenty of success against a leaky Aggies’ defense, and expect the Tigers’
defense to get back on track against an inexperienced quarterback.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Auburn 44, Texas A&M 21