Louisiana Tech – August 30
A Year Ago…
Things didn’t start out well for the Bulldogs in 2011. They lost by one possession in three of their first four games, including an overtime loss to the SEC’s Mississippi State. After a 44-26 home loss to Hawai’I on October 1st to bring their record to 1-4, it looked liked things might be headed south for the 2011 team. But they quickly righted the ship and went on to win their next seven games to close out the regular season. That streak included a 27-7 victory at Ole Miss, Tech’s first win over an SEC opponent since 2008. Their season ended with a 31-24 loss to TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Names to Know
Quinton Patton – WR
Patton caught 79 passes for over 1200 yards a season ago with 11 touchdowns on the year, and has been selected the preseason player of the year in the WAC by Blue Ribbon. Patton, a former JUCO transfer from Coffeyville CC has a good combination of size and speed.
Colby Cameron – QB
Another preseason All-WAC selection, Cameron returns for his senior season after throwing for over 1660 yards in his six starts a season ago. The California native took over late in the game in Utah State and never looked back.
Chad Boyd – S
Boyd was a second team All-WAC selection a season ago, and a preseason first team selection this year. He had 76 tackles from the safety spot last year to go along with three interceptions. Now a senior, Boyd has been a stable in the secondary since 2009 where he saw action in nine games as a true freshman.
Ryan Allen – P
You have to be a pretty special punter to make the “need to know” list, but that’s exactly what Allen is. In 2011, the former Oregon State transfer won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter with an incredibly punting average o 46.1 yards. He led the nation with 39 punts inside the 20 and an impressive 22 punts inside the 10.
Why Louisiana Tech could win this game…
Simply put, Louisiana Tech is a pretty good football team. Even though they lost five games a season ago, they were in all of them until the very end except for the game against Hawai’i. In addition, A&M will be coming out of the gates with a new coach, which historically has not been their strong suit. Both Dennis Franchione and Mike Sherman struggled in their first games as head coach (ironically, both games were against Arkansas State.)
Even if this wasn’t the first game of the season, there are quite a few variables around it anyway. For one, it’s in Shreveport, about 70 miles from Tech's campus in Ruston. The last time the Aggies opened on the road was in 2005 against Clemson, and Kevin Sumlin has never started a season on the road as head coach. Also, the game is on a Thursday Night, which throws off the schedule a bit. However, Kevin Sumlin should have a solid strategy for that, at Houston his Cougars played at all kinds of varied days and times.
Even with all of the variables taken out, you can’t ignore the fact that Louisiana Tech is a worthy first opponent, especially in a new coaches first game. If you include the likely absence of both Steven Jenkins and Howard Matthews as well who will be serving one game suspensions (though it hasn’t been specified that they’ll miss this game yet) you have a recipe for an interesting opening night to the 2012 season.