Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (1-1) at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (1-1)
NCAAF: Saturday, September 16, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Western Kentucky -7
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs hit the road to take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers for a Saturday night contest. Louisiana Tech is looking to build off a strong season in which they went 9-5. The Bulldogs are led by J’Mar Smith who has 416 passing yards. Western Kentucky is hoping to have another season like they had in 2016. The Hilltoppers went 11-3 and they ended with a 20 point win against Memphis in the Boca Raton Bowl. Mike White leads the Hilltoppers with 502 passing yards on the season. Can Smith lead Louisiana Tech to a win in their Conference USA opener?
Bulldogs defense struggles in loss
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs lost 57-21 to the Mississippi Bulldogs on Saturday. A punt-return touchdown by Jeffery Simmons had Louisiana Tech down 10-9 but Mississippi State scored 20 straight points in the second quarter to take control. Louisiana Tech had trouble stopping Mississippi State’s ground attack as they had 327 rushing yards and three touchdowns. J’Mar Smith struggled with 140 passing yards and an interception. Boston Scott led the Bulldogs with 96 rushing yards on 13 carries. Jarred Craft added 81 rushing yards on 18 carries. Marcus Gaines led Louisiana Tech with 104 receiving yards. Louisiana Tech had three turnovers and Mississippi State only had one.
Hilltoppers fall to Fighting Illini
On Saturday, the Illinois Fighting Illini beat the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 20-7. Illinois scored the first 20 points of the contest and they never looked back. White had 238 passing yards and an interception in the loss. The Hilltoppers ground game was abysmal as they had six rushing yards on 16 attempts in the game. An offense that led the nation in scoring with nearly 46 points a game was limited to 244 total yards. Nacarius Fant led Hilltoppers receivers with 110 receiving yards on 10 receptions. The Fighting Illini controlled the game as they had possession for 37 minutes. It was the first time the Hilltoppers have scored in single-digits since Nov. 12, 2011 against LSU when they lost 42-9.
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in September.
- 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are:
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 conference games.
- 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
- 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
The Bulldogs will hang around early in this game before the Hilltoppers pull away. Look for White to have a big game against a struggling Bulldogs defense.