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UMass takes on Louisiana Tech in a non-conference matchup on Saturday night from Joe Allet Stadium in Ruston. UMass is having a rough time right now as an Independent. Their lone win came against Akron on Sept. 28, 37-29 as a nine-point home dog. But last week, they were blanked by FIU, 44-0 on the road.
The Bulldogs are coming off a 23-20 overtime win over Rice on the road on Sept. 28. They had a week off to rest and nurse some injuries.
Quarterback issuesWith Andrew Brito (concussion) not likely to play, UMass will go with Michael Curtis at quarterback. Brito had struggled, completing 58.8% of his passes for 315 yards with two TDs and three picks. Curtis played against FIU and completed just 5 of 19 for 66 yards with two picks.
On the season, Curtis has 239 yards passing (44%) with two TDs and three picks. This will be the fifth start of his career. Randall West leads with 362 yards passing with three TDs and two picks. He started the first two games of the season against Rutgers and Southern Illinois. West is a senior who did not play football in 2018, but played as a reserve on the basketball team.
Passing wasn't the only issue against the Panthers as the Minutemen ran for just 38yards on 24 carries and possessed the ball for just 19:14. Defensively, they allowed a whopping 541 yards, including 278 on the ground.
On the season, UMass is allowing 528.7 yards per game overall and 244 on the ground. On offense, they are near the bottom of the country, averaging just 294 yards overall and 159.3 in the air.
Take an ugly win over a pretty lossTwo weeks ago, Rice came into their matchup against Louisiana Tech at 0-4. The 3-1 Bulldogs were the heavy road favorite and may have shown up flat. They trailed 14-7 at the half and finally evened up the game late in the third quarter on a Justin Henderson run. Both teams made late field goals to send the game into overtime. That's when Louisiana Tech held the Owls to a field goal and quarterback J'Mar Smith won the game with a rushing touchdown to help edge the Owls by three.
Smith went 21 of 39 for 210 yards and a passing score. Henderson ran for 64 yards and a TD. On the season, Smith has completed 64.8% of his passes for 1,318 yards with six TDs and two picks. Henderson leads in rushing with 341 yards and five TDs (7.3ypc).
While UMass was blanked by FIU last week, the Bulldogs defeated the Panthers, 43-31 on Sept. 20. They also crushed Bowling Green, 35-7. Their only loss came at the hands of Texas, 45-14.
Overall, Louisiana Tech is averaging 423 yards per game and passing for 276.8 per contest. They are allowing 415.4 yards per game and 250.6 yards in the air.
Louisiana Tech is:
- 1-4 ATS last 5 vs. Indep.
- 1-5 ATS last 6 after a bye week.
UMass is: n/a
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
A bye week can hurt and help a team. It's a time to rest the injuries, but a team that comes back, often loses momentum and their flow, at least in the first half. That's what's going to happen here and the fact that Louisiana Tech allows over 400 yards of total offense is a reason I'm not going to lay over 30 points at home. I know UMass is not a great team and that's an understatement. But they will cover.
Prediction: UMass +32
Full-Game Total Pick
Shop for the best line, especially if you can get close to 60. UMass can't stop anybody so I do expect La Tech to score over 40, but I think the Minutemen can get at least 20 points int his one against a defense that gives up a lot of yards. UMass has gone over in three of four games and they are 18-7 Over their last 25 overall.
Prediction: Over 61.5