Preview: LA Tech set for Homecoming clash with Rice
RUSTON – The Louisiana Tech football team looks to get back in the win column when it hosts Rice for homecoming on Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 22
Time: 2 p.m. (CT)
Location: Ruston, La.
Live Stats: LaTechSports.com/stats
Radio: LA Tech Sports Network (KXKZ 107.5 FM)
Series: LA Tech leads, 9-5
– In Ruston: 5-1
– In Houston: 4-4
ABOUT LA TECH (2-4)
The Bulldogs are looking to rebound after a 47-27 setback at North Texas that was much closer than the final score indicated as Tech trailed by just a touchdown going into the final stanza.
Quarterback Parker McNeil threw for a career-high 424 yards and two touchdowns. His 424 yards were the most in a single game by a C-USA player this season and the 17th most nationally. It was the most by a Bulldog since Ryan Higgins in 2016. He became the 11th quarterback in program history to throw for over 400 yards in a single game (45th 400-yard game in school history). McNeil has thrown for 1,591 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. He currently ranks third in the FBS in passing yards per completion (15.30).
The Bulldogs receiving core is led by the trio of Tre Harris, Smoke Harris and tight end Griffin Hebert.
Smoke Harris and Tre Harris eclipsed the century mark at UNT, becoming the first receiver duo to do so in the same game since Alfred Smith and Adrian Hardy did so against WKU on Nov. 14, 2018.
Tre Harris is the Bulldogs leading receiver with 505 yards and four touchdowns, while Smoke Harris has accumulated 356 yards and four touchdowns.
Griffin Hebert is second on the squad with 403 receiving yards, which ranks fourth among all FBS tight ends. Hebert ranks 17th nationally in average yards per catch (20.15).
On the ground, running back Marquis Crosby leads the way with 369 total yards and three touchdowns this season.
LA Tech ranks first nationally in scrimmage plays over 50 yards (8), second nationally with six plays from scrimmage over sixty yards (6) and eighth nationally in plays from scrimmage over 40 yards (12).
Defensively, LA Tech has had a knack for taking the ball away from opposing offenses. BeeJay Williamson recorded an interception at North Texas, extending the LA Tech streak of games with a turnover forced to 11.
Despite being limited due to injury, Linebacker Tyler Grubbs leads the Bulldogs with 48 total tackles and four and a half tackles for loss this season. He ranks among the FBS active career leaders in total tackles per game (5th, 9.04) and solo tackles per game (13th, 4.19). The New Orleans product has tallied five or more tackles in 26 of his 27 career games.
Willie Roberts leads the secondary in interceptions with two. Roberts has recorded an interception in the loss at South Alabama (Sept. 24) and win over UTEP (Oct. 8).
Defensive back Jaiden Cole has led LA Tech in tackles in back-to-back games, with nine at North Texas and 11 against UTEP. His 11 tackles against the Miners were the most by a LA Tech DB since 2019.
Kershawn Fisher is the Bulldogs leading tackler on the defensive line with 14 total stops, followed by Deshon Hall and Rasheed Lyles with 13 and 10, respectively.
Cumbie is in his inaugural season at the helm of the LA Tech football program. LA Tech is one of 29 FBS programs with a new coach this season.
ABOUT RICE (3-3)
Rice is coming off a 17-14 loss at Florida Atlantic. The Owls are 3-3 overall and 1-1 in Conference USA play with a 28-24 win over UAB in their conference opener.
In non-conference play Rice picked up wins over McNeese State and Louisiana Lafayette while falling to USC and Houston.
Rice comes into the matchup averaging 28 points a contest while surrendering 28.7 points. Rice leads the C-USA in both time of possession (32:40) and red zone offense (.875).
The offense is led by quarterback TJ McMahon, who has completed 59.1 percent of his passes this season for 1,277 yards and 10 touchdowns while throwing 10 interceptions.
Ari Broussard is the Owl’s leading rusher with 233 yards and nine touchdowns.
Wide receiver Bradley Rozner is McMahon’s top target with 19 receptions for 447 yards and four touchdowns.
Linebacker Myron Morrison leads the Rice defense with 40 total tackles, an assisted sack, four and a half tackles for loss, three pass breakups an interception and a fumble recovery.
Rice is led by head coach Mike Bloomgreen who is in his fifth season at the helm with an overall record of 14-34.
For all the latest in Bulldog Football, follow them on Twitter (@LATechFB), Instagram (@LATechFB) and Facebook (LATechFootball) or visit the official website at LATechSports.com.
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