Preview: LA Tech at SMU

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LA Tech vs. FIU
(Photo: Josh McDaniel)

RUSTON – The Louisiana Tech football team will look to continue its winning ways by traveling to Dallas, Texas, for a road matchup at SMU on Saturday (Sept. 2). Kickoff is set for 11:07 a.m., with the game being televised nationally on ESPNU.

Date: Saturday, Sept. 2
Time: 11:07 a.m. (CT)
Location: Dallas, Texas. (Gerald J. Ford Stadium)
Live Stats:
Radio: LA Tech Sports Network (KXKZ 107.5 FM)
TV: ESPNU (watch)
Game Notes: LTU | SMU

Series: LA Tech leads, 4-2
In Ruston: 2-0
In Dallas: 1-1
Neutral: 2-0

The Bulldogs are coming off a thrilling 22-17 come-from-behind win over FIU last Saturday in the season opener. LA Tech trailed by as much as 14 points on two different occasions in the first half, but the Bulldogs were resilient, scoring 19 unanswered points to earn the victory.

The Bulldog defense was brilliant in the victory, holding FIU to 182 yards of total offense and four passing yards. The Panthers’ total yardage was the fewest by a Tech opponent since Oct. 17, 2009, when New Mexico State accumulated 142, and the four passing yards were the least since Sept. 5, 1981, when Tech did not allow a passing yard in a game against West Texas A&M.

Stephen F. Austin transfers Myles Heard and Brevin Randle led the Bulldog defense with nine tackles apiece, while Deshon Hall Jr. (1.0), J’Dan Burnett (0.5) and Zion Nason (0.5) all recorded sacks. Defensive back Cecil Singleton Jr. recorded the Bulldogs’ first interception of the season when he picked off FIU quarterback Grayson James with just 49 seconds in the contest to seal the victory.

Smoke Harris is the Bulldogs’ most dangerous weapon on offense. The redshirt senior was named Conference USA Player of the Week after his performance in the victory over FIU. Harris caught a career-high 11 receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown, highlighted by a 64-yard touchdown reception during the closing minutes of the second quarter. He has tallied a reception in each of the past 33 games, which is the seventh-longest active streak among all FBS players. The redshirt senior has registered a touchdown reception in each of the last six seasons.

Quarterback Hank Bachmeier is the leader of the Tech offense. Bachmeier was impressive in his Bulldog debut, completing 34 of his 44 passing attempts for 333 yards and a touchdown while directing a seven-play, 69-yard game-winning touchdown drive that took just one minute and 27 seconds.

The Bulldogs relied on a committee of running backs to get the job done on the ground in the opener and expect to do the same against the Mustangs. Four different running backs recorded a carry in week zero as Tech rushed for 114 total yards, marking the seventh straight game the Dogs topped the century mark in rushing. Freshman running back Jacob Fields scored the game-winning touchdown after scampering 30 yards to the end zone on his first career carry. He also caught a 20-yard pass from Bachmeier on the game-winning touchdown drive.

The Bulldogs’ offensive line has a combined 234 career games played, which leads Conference USA and ranks sixth nationally among all FBS programs. LA Tech returns a combined 34 starts from a year ago. Abraham Delfin is the group’s most experienced member. The seventh-year senior has appeared in 52 games and recorded 26 career starts.

Head Coach Sonny Cumbie is in his second season at the helm of the LA Tech football program with a career record of 6-12.

SMU is coming off a 7-6 campaign that featured a 5-3 mark at home during head coach Rhett Lashlee’s inaugural season in 2022.

With the transfer of Tanner Mordecai to Wisconsin, Preston Stone will be the Mustangs’ quarterback in the opener. The redshirt sophomore has appeared in nine games with one start during his two seasons in Dallas. Stone has completed 31 of 55 attempts for 412 total yards, two touchdowns and an interception in his collegiate career.

Running back Tyler Lavine is back after rushing for a team-high 642 yards and 10 touchdowns. Like the Bulldogs, SMU has a very experienced offensive line with 254 combined career games played, which is the third-most nationally.

Jordan Kerley is the Mustangs’ top returning receiver. The senior wide receiver hauled in 37 passes for 588 yards and six touchdowns a season ago.

SMU overhauled its defense this offseason. Six of the Mustangs’ transfer additions currently top their depth chart. Leading returnees include defensive tackle Elijah Chatman, who made 11 starts last season, recording 39 tackles, four of which went for loss, including three sacks, while being named to the Bronco Nagurski Watch List and the Outland Trophy Watch List. Defensive end Nelson Paul also returns after registering 44 total tackles, including a team-high nine tackles for loss a year ago. Transfers Kobe Wilson (MLB, Temple), Ahmad Walker (LB, Liberty) and Charles Woods (DB, West Virginia) are all expected to be impact starters.

For all the latest in Bulldog Football, follow them on Twitter (@LATechFB), Instagram (@LATechFB) and Facebook (LATechFootball) or visit the official website at

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