Updated Sep 24, 2004 20:43:35
Bulldogs Face Tough Tennessee Saturday
RUSTON - No one can blame Louisiana Tech head coach Jack Bicknell if he sounds like a broken record over the next few weeks when talking about the Bulldogs opponents.
After all, Bicknell and Co. will face the second of four straight Associated Press Top 25 teams Saturday evening when Tech plays Southeastern Conference foe Tennessee at Neyland Stadium at 6 p.m. CST.
The game is being offered as part of this weekend's ESPN GamePlan package as well as on DirecTV.
One week ago, Tech fell to No. 4 ranked Miami 48-0. Following Saturday's game, the Bulldogs return home to host No. 17 ranked Fresno State before finishing the suicidal stretch at Auburn the following week.
"We have to play better than we did last week in all phases of the game," Bicknell said. "Tennessee is a great team. We know that. We also know that we've beaten great teams before and have to believe that we can do it again. It will be a challenge."
A homecoming crowd of over 105,000 is expected for the game, which would be the largest crowd a Louisiana Tech team has ever played before, surpassing the 104,000-plus the Bulldogs faced at Penn State in 2002.
Tech junior running back Ryan Moats, the nation's leading rusher averaging just over 198 yards per game, will once again be the focal point of the Bulldog offense and the opposing Vols defense. For Tech to succeed offensively, Moats will be counted on to be a force.
"Ryan will have his chances," Bicknell said. "However, we have to be able to throw the football. More and more teams are going to load up to stop the run and we have to prove we can win the battles on the outside with our receivers."
Bicknell might also be hoping for a Tennessee letdown after the Vols emotional 30-28 win over Florida last weekend.
The game can be heard on KXKZ-FM 107.5 and KRMD-AM 1310 as well as via the Internet at www.z1075fm.com.