Tech Falls to Kiffin and Florida Atlantic
By: Rob Wied
Louisiana Tech hosted Florida Atlantic on Saturday losing their sixth game of the season 48-23. Florida Atlantic won their sixth straight game as they move to 7-3 (6-0 CUSA) and the Dogs fall to a disappointing 4-6 (2-4 CUSA).
Tech received the ball to begin the game however the drive stalled after six plays punting the ball away to the Owls. FAU proceeded to drive the ball down the field on an 88-yard drive scoring on a short 3-yard run by Devin Singletary. FAU was aggressive and went for two but failed to convert.
The Bulldogs went right back down the field but stalled inside the red-zone and were only able to manage to get a 26-yard field goal from Jonathan Barnes.
Louisiana Tech forced FAU to punt and marched right back down the field on their next possession again stalling inside the red-zone settling for a field goal attempt. Barnes missed the 26-yard attempt leaving the score at 6-3 early in the second quarter.
The Owls wasted no time on the ensuing possession as Jason Driskel connected with Kalib Woods for a 77-yard catch and run on the second play of the drive. On the following Owl possession, the passing game struck again as three quick passes from Driskel to three different receivers moved FAU straight down the field finished off with a 33-yard pass to Harrison Bryant.
Tech would stall two more times inside of the rezone in the first half and Barnes converted on both of his efforts including a 24-yarder and a 22-yarder to send the game into halftime 20-9
The Owls received the second half kick-off and didn’t waste any time as Kerrith Whyte Jr. took the kick 98-yards to the house. After forcing the Bulldogs to punt, FAU tacked on another touchdown this time on the ground on a two-yard run by Devin Singletary, extending the lead to 34-9 FAU.
Tech took their next drive down the field before stalling once again at the FAU 24-yard line and turning the ball over on downs. The Tech Defense stepped up forcing Devin Singletary to fumble on the first play for the Owls. Finally, the offense broke through scoring a touchdown on a 34-yard strike from J’Mar Smith to Teddy Veal.
FAU added two more touchdowns before the end of the game while Tech added only one on a five-yard Boston Scott run yielding the final score of 48-23 in favor of the visitors.
The disappointment of the 2017 season continues. A season that had its sights set on repeating as CUSA West Champions now has left Bulldog fans wondering if they will even make a bowl game. In order to become bowl eligible, Tech would have to win both remaining games against the University of Texas-El Paso and the University of Texas-San Antonio. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Tech has an 84.8% chance to beat UTEP and a 54.4% chance to beat UTSA. Tech a historically great home team has seen their home record fall to 2-4 with senior day remaining against UTSA the only remaining home game.
The theme from Saturday was that while FAU was scoring touchdowns, Louisiana Tech settled for field-goal attempts, having two possessions stall on the FAU 9-yard line, one stall on the 7-yard line and one on the 5-yard line. This is something that has been haunting the Bulldogs all season long, as the Bulldogs have only scored touchdowns on 50% of their red-zone trips.
As I wrote last week, something that Louisiana Tech has not done well all season is come out in the 3rd quarter and execute. Tech was outscored on Saturday 22 – 7 including allowing the opening kickoff to be returned for a touchdown. This brings the season edge to 87-31 for Bulldog opponents. After averaging 9.3 points per game more than opponents in 2016, Tech has seen this slide to now scoring 4.2 points fewer than opponents this season ranking them 89th in the nation in this category, far from what Bulldog fans have become accustomed to seeing from a Skip Holtz led football team.
The absence of Jarred Craft was evident in the Bulldogs play-calling as J’Mar Smith had a very busy day attempting 51 passes, connecting on 30 of them for 326-yards and a touchdown on the afternoon. Teddy Veal once again posted another 100+ yard afternoon hauling in six receptions for 112-yards and a score. J’Mar Smith also had 17 carries for 78-yards. Hopefully moving to the last two games of the season, Craft can get healthy and restore some balance in the Tech offense.
Louisiana Tech plays UTEP on Saturday, November 18 at 2:00 pm in a must-win game for the Bulldogs.
Florida Atlantic returns home to clash with Florida International in a battle of the top two teams in CUSA East at 6:00 pm on Saturday