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Tulane (1-1) at Louisiana Tech (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, September 12, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Joe Aillet Stadium (30,600) -- Ruston, Louisiana. Television: Fox Sports 1. Home Record: Tulane 1-1, LaTech 1-0. Away Record: Tulane 0-0, LaTech 0-1. Neutral Record: Tulane 0-0, LaTech 0-0. Conference Record: Tulane 0-0, LaTech 0-0. Series Record: Tulane leads, 7-0.
GAME NOTES: The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs will experience Conference USA competition for the first time on Thursday as they host the Tulane Green Wave at Joe Aillet Stadium.
Curtis Johnson's Green Wave are coming off a tough, 41-39 loss to South Alabama in a non-conference matchup at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The setback came after Tulane's 34-7 rout of Jackson State in its season opener. Johnson is in his second season at the helm of the program. The Green Wave finished 2-10 overall, including a 2-6 mark in C-USA play in his rookie year as a head coach.
The Bulldogs enter their C-USA debut with a 1-1 record thanks to their 27-14 win over Lamar last week. The victory marked the first of the Skip Holtz era in Ruston. Holtz was the coach of South Florida from 2010-12 and compiled a 16-21 record with the Bulls. He also held the same position at East Carolina from 2005-09 and led the Pirates to the C-USA championship in his final two seasons in Greenville. Louisiana Tech fell in its first opener under Holtz to NC State by a 40-14 margin.
This will be the eighth meeting in history and first since 1998 between Tulane and Louisiana Tech. The Green Wave are 7-0 against Louisiana Tech, but they have never faced the Bulldogs in Ruston before in the rivalry's history.
Louisiana Tech led the FBS in both total offense (577.9 yards per game) and scoring offense (51.5 points per game) in 2012 with Colby Cameron under center. The Bulldogs have clearly lost a lot of their firepower from that record setting squad. They were held to 321 yards and 14 points in their opener by the Wolfpack.
The offense looked much better last week against an FCS opponent. Texas Tech transfer Scotty Young threw the first two touchdown passes of his career to go along with 166 yards on 22-of-32 efficiency. Young didn't have to do too much as Tevin King took over the game from the backfield.
Star tailback Kenneth Dixon was held out of action for precautionary reasons after taking a hit early in the second quarter. The Bulldogs relied heavily on Dixon in the opener as he racked up 118 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. They didn't miss a beat when he left last week as King stepped in to gain a game-high 182 yards, including a career-long rush of 64 yards.
Louisiana Tech's defense allowed 542 yards of total offense to NC State in the uninspiring loss. The Bulldogs were once again weak against the pass last week, allowing Lamar's Caleb Berry to throw for 272 yards. Kentrell Brice is leading the squad with 20 total tackles, but he is just one of nine Bulldogs with at least nine stops already.
The Bulldogs' difficulty defending against the pass will be a factor in this one as junior quarterback Nick Montana leads the Tulane offense into Joe Aillet Stadium. The son of NFL Hall of Fame passer Joe Montana, Nick set new career-highs last week against USA with 327 yards and three touchdowns on 29- of-47 passing.
Montana already has a great chemistry with 2012 C-USA First Team wide receiver Ryan Grant, who comes into week three with a 22-game reception streak. The senior wideout posted career highs with 14 catches for 187 yards, while tying a personal-best with a pair of touchdown grabs.
Senior tailback Orleans Darkwa was limited to 32 yards on 10 carries but found the end zone twice against the Jags. The Green Wave rushed for only 45 yards on 27 carries in the contest after surpassing the century mark on the ground in the opener versus JSU.
The Green Wave have one of the top place kickers in the nation in Cairo Santos, who was perfect against USA with a 47-yard field goal and four successful PATs. The preseason All-American has converted each of his last 24 field goals and 34 PATs dating back to last season.
Tulane forced three turnovers against USA (two interceptions, one fumble recovery) to bring its season total to nine. The Green Wave were lit up by the Jags through the air for 327 yards and three scores. The previous week they held run-heavy JSU squad to 308 yards of total offense.
Junior strong safety Sam Scofield and senior linebacker Dominique Robertson both set new career-highs in tackles with respective totals of 15 and 11 against USA. Robertson also made his first career interception, as did freshman linebacker Nico Marley.
Both of these teams are very weak defensively and too one-dimensional on offense. Dixon coming back to the lineup for Louisiana Tech will be a big help. The Bulldogs have a chance to make a statement to the rest of the C-USA against an up-and-coming Tulane team, but they will need to figure out a way to frustrate Montana.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulane 41, Louisiana Tech 38
09/11 10:33:37 ET