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Lousiana Tech 43-31 Winners Over Struggling FIU

Skip Holtz’s Bulldogs are talented enough to win the division and the league but snakebite by their own mistake-prone offense to not be hyped by the media or the general fan of the league.

When J’Mar Smith threw an interception by hitting a defender’s foot, the ball popping up and falling into the hands of a waiting Panther, it seemed like that old Louisiana curse was just popping back up again.

Instead Smith made the right decisions and the Dawgs rode Justin Henderson’s 141 yards on 15 carries and three scores to a win over the struggling FIU Golden Panthers. This was going to be a game featuring two of the league’s best teams but instead FIU has been struggling to do much of anything offensively.

Tulane may be better than previously thought but the early blowout did not made it easy to remain enthusiastic about the prospects of this team the basically blew a shot at the league title game down the stretch last season.

James Morgan has been hurt and simply not playing well. Tonight, he showed flashes of the game that made him a contender for Offensive Player of the Year. He also threw a terrible interception late that basically ended the chances for his team. A double-clutch throw into zone coverage to the far side of the field is not a throw anyone should make and expect good things.

His numbers 29/41 394 2 TDs 1 Int are slightly inflated by some late stat-padding, but he had his offense moving well and his crew led late in the third quarter.

He was not the problem, however. The Panthers have struggled to stop the run for a while. They came into this one allowing about 5-yards per carry on first down and basically the same rate overall.

Tech, meanwhile, had struggled to run the ball effectively but exploded against this defense for 6.4 yards per tote. Tech controlled the clock and helped keep FIU at arms length late. Tech’s offense was not perfect, settling for field goals instead of touchdowns but Bailey Hale was money five times from distance — including three in the fourth.

Tech moves into sole first place position — temporarily — in the division. Fans of Tech both fully expect this and yet are slightly surprised by the performance. Such is the state of Bulldog football right now.

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