Idaho has surrendered more than 60 points twice already this season – at then-No. 3 LSU in September and two weeks later at North Carolina. Neither of those teams, however, has an offense as prolific as what the Vandals will see up close today in Ruston, La. Nor do they have a receiver as explosive as Quinton Patton. Idaho (1-6, 1-1) is next in line to try to slow Louisiana Tech (5-1, 0-0), the nation’s top-scoring team. The Western Athletic Conference counterparts meet at Joe Aillet Stadium at 4 p.m. PDT. Saturday's contest likely marks the last against the Vandals - against whom the Bulldogs own a 5-2 series advantage - as Louisiana Tech enters its final year in WAC play before moving to Conference USA next year.
Led by third-year coach Sonny Dykes, a Mike Leach disciple, the Bulldogs’ Air Raid offense averages an FBS-best 53.8 points per game. Quarterback Colby Cameron has completed 70 percent of his passes with no interceptions, and LTU has two of the top five rushers in the WAC. Yet the Bulldogs’ offensive star is Patton, a 6-foot-2 redshirt senior who last week had 21 receptions – the most by any receiver in the nation this year.
A win could also mean the start of a new winning streak for the Bulldogs, something the team is looking for after a 59-57 heartbreaking loss to No. 22 Texas A&M last week. Tech's 24-11 win at Idaho last year began the team's seven-game overall and 12-game winning streak; the latter of which led the nation before the loss to the Aggies. Tech's defense, much maligned in the media for yards and points allowed but forcing more turnovers than any other team in the nation, has a chance to focus and build confidence this week. The Vandals enter Saturday's game ranked 108th in the nation in total offense (out of 120 teams) and 115th in turnover margin.
The Idaho season in a nutshell has been not enough scoring from the offense while there has been too much scoring coming from the opposition. This trend has led the Vandals to a 1-6 mark and was readily apparent in week seven's 38-7 defeat at Texas State. The Bobcats dominated total yards 519-315 with Idaho mustering just 15 first downs while committing seven penalties and giving the ball away three times. The running game was 100+ yards but not much more with the Vandals playing from behind early on. That put the focus of moving the ball on the right arm of Dominique Blackman (15-28/161) struggling to get the ball down field. The special teams also struggled with Texas State bringing back a punt 36 yards and a kick 51 yards.
This game is all about scoring the football and nobody has done that better than Louisiana Tech. The flip side is their defense puts up marginal resistance, but at the rate they put up points this one should be over by the third quarter. Best of luck however you play!