#60 Louisiana Tech 2018 Football Preview

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #60
#3 Conference USA
 Louisiana Tech Logo
Louisiana Tech had a bit of a setback last season. The team did win nine games each of the previous three years and have emerged as a consistent contender in Conference USA. Last year the Bulldogs won seven games, including a 51-10 Frisco Bowl victory over SMU, but went just 4-4 in conference play. If things go right, Louisiana Tech should get closer to that nine win mark in 2018.
2017 Record: 7-6, 4-4
2017 Bowl: Frisco Bowl vs. SMU (W 51-10)
Coach: Skip Holtz (38-28 at Louisiana Tech, 38-28 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Todd Fitch
Defensive Coordinator: Blake Baker
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: J’Mar Smith, QB, 371 yards
Passing: J’Mar Smith, QB, 2,974 yards
Receiving: Teddy Veal, WR, 950 yards
Tackles: Dae’Von Washington, LB, 70
Sacks: Jaylon Ferguson, DE, 7.0
Interceptions: Amik Robertson, CB, 5
Other Key Returnees: WR Rhashid Bonnette, OL O’Shea Dugas, OL Ethan Reed, S Darryl Lewis, DT Jordan Bradford
Key Losses: RB Scott Boston, RB Jarred Craft, OL Joshua Outlaw, DB Secdrick Cooper, LB Russell Farris
Quarterback J’Mar Smith returns after throwing for 2,974 yards and 16 touchdowns and adding 371 yards and six more scores on the ground. Coach Skip Holtz has never had a returning starter at quarterback during his time with the Bulldogs so there are high hopes that the offense can take a big step forward in 2018. Smith’s ability to make plays with his feet also adds a dynamic to the offense that can be difficult for the opposition to contain. Teddy Veal returns at wide receiver after catching 74 passes for 950 yards and seven touchdowns. Louisiana Tech needs a secondary target to take the pressure off Veal and the return of Alfred Smith, who missed most of last season, should provide just that. The Bulldogs lose their top two running backs, including 1,000 yard rusher Boston Scott. Jaqwis Dancy should be the next 1,000 yard rusher, while former tight end Kam McKnight will pick up the tough yards.
Louisiana Tech’s defense improved last season, but there is still plenty of room to grow. The secondary was a huge reason why the Bulldogs ranked fifth in the country with a plus one turnover margin. Cornerback Amik Robertson picked off five passes as a freshman and should be in for a big sophomore season. Safety Darryl Lewis added four interceptions and 45 tackles. Dae’Von Washington is a proven linebacker who led the team with 70 tackles last season, but there are questions around him. The front line is a very experienced group, but they did not do that good of a job getting to the quarterback last year. Jaylon Ferguson is a superb pass rusher, but he will need some help.
The Bottom Line:
Louisiana Tech has a good offense and a promising defense. If they can continue to win the turnover battle, Louisiana Tech has the tools to beat just about anybody on the schedule. The big conference game this year will likely come on October 27th at Florida Atlantic. Many expect that contest to be a preview of the Conference USA Championship game.
Projected Bowl: Gasparilla Bowl
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 172.5 (55th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 230.5 (67, 7)
Total Offense: 403.0 (62, 4)
Scoring Offense: 30.5 (48, 3)
Rushing Defense: 176.6 (80, 9)
Pass Defense: 208.9 (46, 5)
Total Defense: 385.5 (60, 7)
Scoring Defense: 25.4 (54, 6)
Turnover Margin: 1.00 (5, 1)
Sacks: 1.85 (83, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (54, 7)
Madness 2019 NFL Draft Rankings:
#56 Jaylon Ferguson
Madness 2018 Recruit Rankings:
#245 Maureese Wren