Brought to you by: Big Shucks
By Zach Walker
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs SMU Mustangs
Wednesday – December 20 – 7:00 p.m.
Toyota Stadium – Frisco – Texas
Records Before the Game
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (6-6)
SMU Mustangs (7-5)
How did these teams get to this bowl game?
Four out of the final five teams that Louisiana Tech played in their regular season were Texas teams, and following a loss to Lane Kiffin’s FAU Owls, the Bulldogs needed to finish the season with victories against UTEP and UTSA to gain bowl eligibility. The Mustangs were bowl eligible after their win against Tulsa to close out October, then they ran into a buzzsaw with UCF (A game they were in until the end), at Navy (a comeback that almost got them a huge win), then at Memphis a shootout loss. The Tulane game came down to a one yard play at the goal line tackle by Kyran Mitchell to finish the season with seven wins.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs – The heat isn’t exactly coming from the quarterback position, especially compared year’s past. J’Mar Smith has been solid, with a 55 percent completion percentage, but in the final game of the season Smith completed just seven passes for a tick over 100 yards. The Bulldogs do have quite the rushing attack, which includes the quarterback Smith. Boston Scott will likely reach the millennium mark in Frisco, though it’s not a stretch to think that he could reach ten rushing scores on the year, he’d need a pair of scores to get there. The junior Teddy Veal has double the number of catches as the next closest receiver and five touchdowns on the season. Cornerback Amik Robertson has an interception in each of the last two games for the Bulldogs, but likely won’t see action against Courtland Sutton, as he’s a sub five foot ten.
SMU Mustangs – Sonny Dykes is a pretty solid, non-deviate from the brand of ball choice. He coached Jared Goff to a first overall status and a win in the Armed Forces Bowl two seasons ago. This is likely the swan song for wide receiver Courtland Sutton in Mustangs’ career, as he’s likely a first round pick in April’s draft. This is a chance for Dykes to get used to what Ben Hicks can bring to the table, and get his tenure on the Hilltop off on the right foot. Hicks didn’t reach 60 percent completions for the season, but threw for 32 touchdowns and 3400 yards. The Mustangs ground game is perhaps the sneakiest group in all of FBS. Xavier Jones finished the regular season with a flat-six yards per carry average, nine scores, and a one thousand yard season. Not bad coming back from an injury. Ke’Mon Freeman is the bruiser and had eleven touchdowns. Braeden West only found the endzone twice, but in terms of efficiency, West had 512 yards and averaged 7.9 per rush. It’s a solid bunch to toss towards. Sutton needs no introduction, though he’ll be getting one with a hat and a jersey soon, but Trey Quinn crushed catches reeling in 106 of them and twelve touchdowns to match Courtland Sutton’s total. James Proche is a nightmare for opponents if he’s the third option, because his hands are incredible. On defense, there are a few players with possible Sundays in their future. Justin Lawler has been a leader and given teams big time trouble. Jordan Wyatt will miss this game, and perhaps mean that he’ll be back for his senior season, but if he can respond to injury, he’ll be a lock for Sundays. Kyran Mitchell is a tone setting linebacker.
SMU 45 – LA Tech 31