College Football

Old Rivals Louisiana Tech and Arkansas State in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

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The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (Saturday, December 19, 9:00 p.m. EST, ESPN) will feature two teams that are familiar with one another. Arkansas State from the Sun Belt Conference meets Conference USA stalwart Louisiana Tech in this year’s edition of the game at the Superdome. The two schools have been in the same conference on two different occasions, in both the Southland and Big West Conferences.

The Red Wolves won the Sun Belt Conference title this season, winning their last eight games of the season. Louisiana Tech had a disappointing finish to its season, losing 58-24 to Southern Miss, denying them a second straight C-USA West Division title and a conference championship game rematch with Western Kentucky.

Both teams are prolific scoring machines. Fredi Knighten leads a potent passing offense for Arkansas State, while Florida transfer Jeff Driskel is the signal caller for the Bulldogs. It should be a high scoring affair, since both teams struggle defensively, particularly against high-powered passing offenses. The Red Wolves are putting up over 40 points per game. Running backs are also featured in the offense, with Warren Wand, Johnston White and Michael Gordon all averaging better than six yards per rush. Wide receivers Dijon Paschal and Tres Houston are speed burners that can catch the deep passes. The Red Wolves forced 34 turnovers on defense, the most of any major college team in the country this season.

Driskel will rely on three pass catchers to fuel the Bulldogs’ pro-style passing attack. Paul Turner, Carlos Henderson and Trent Taylor will lead the way in the receiving dept. Kenneth Dixon will handle the rushing responsibilities for Tech. Arkansas State will likely surrender quite a few points, so the outcome will probably depend on which team can score more points effectively on offense. Turnovers will also dictate which team can establish and maintain momentum. A-State features some strength at linebacker with Xavier Woodson-Luster and Khari Lain.

The game will likely be a high-scoring shootout between two great offensive teams.

Prediction:  Arkansas State 49, Louisiana Tech 42.

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