LA Tech back from bye to host UMass Saturday night

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RUSTON, La. – The Louisiana Tech football team will return from its bye week and look to continue its hot stretch of play, taking on the UMass Minutemen on Saturday at 6 p.m. from Joe Aillet Stadium.

Date: Saturday, October 12
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: Ruston, La.
Venue: Joe Aillet Stadium (28,562)
Live Stats: LATechSports.com
Live Audio: Tunein.com (Louisiana Tech Football)
Live Updates: @LATechFB (Twitter)

Media
TV: ESPN 3
PxP: Lyn Rollins
Analyst: Stan Humphries
Sideline: Madison Kaufman

Radio: LA Tech Sports Network
PxP: Dave Nitz
Analyst: Teddy Allen
Sideline: Luke McCown

The Bulldogs (4-1), winners of their last four meetings, currently sit on top of Conference USA’s West Division with a 2-0 mark in league action. Tech most recently pulled out a 23-20 overtime road victory over the Rice Owls.

The Bulldogs’ 4-1 start to the season is its best start since 2012.

Meanwhile, UMass (1-5) enters Saturday’s contest on the heels of a 44-0 defeat to another C-USA foe in FIU. This will be UMass’ third game vs. a C-USA team this season, as the Minutemen were defeated by Charlotte, 52-17 in week three.

This is only the second all-time meeting between Tech and UMass. The Bulldogs won the first and only other matchup in 2016, 56-28 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

In Tech’s win over Rice, head coach Skip Holtz improved to 50-34 at the helm of the Bulldogs. He is just the third coach in program history to reach the 50-win milestone and tied Joe Aillet for second quickest to 50 wins (both did it in 84 games).

Tech senior quarterback J’Mar Smith rushed for the game-winning touchdown in Tech’s 23-20 overtime win vs. Rice, while also throwing for one touchdown in the victory. Smith is now tied with Terry Bradshaw and Gene Johnson for 39 career touchdown passes. One more will move him into a tie for 6th place with Matt Dunigan (40).

The Bulldog offense ranks in the top half of C-USA in scoring offense (6th – 27.0 PPG), rushing offense (6th – 146.2 YPG), total offense (4th – 423.0 YPG), pass offense (276.8 YPG) and first downs (1st – 23.0 per game).

Meanwhile, the Bulldog defense has been relentless when opponents get into the red zone this season. Under first-year defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, the Tech defense has allowed 14 opponent scores in the red zone on 24 attempts. That clip of 58.3 % is good for 5th best in the nation. Tech is the only G5 team in the top 5 in the category so far this season.

Junior cornerback Amik Robertson has the 7th-most passes defended among FBS active career leaders with 37. UMass senior CB Isaiah Rodgers is 6th on the list with 38 for his career.

This season, the Louisiana Tech receiving corps has been a “all-hands-on-deck” approach. Through the team’s first four games, 13 different receivers have caught at least one pass. Nine of which have caught at least five.

Tech has five different receivers averaging at least 31 yards per game, but not one over 60 yards per contest.

Since missing his first two field goal attempts of the season at No. 10 Texas, Teck placekicker Bailey Hale has been nearly automatic – connecting on eight consecutive attempts. Hale additionally, has not missed an extra point this season (15-for-15). Against FIU, he tied his own program record, going 5-for-5 on FG attempts en route to being named the C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week.

For complete coverage of Bulldog Football, please follow Louisiana Tech on social media at @LATechFB (Twitter), /LATechFootball (Facebook) and @LATechFB (Instagram) or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.

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