Bulldogs to Face No. 18 Clemson
Posted Sep 29, 2006 10:12:05
CLEMSON, S.C. – Louisiana Tech (1-2) faces its third top 25 opponent in four games Saturday when the Bulldogs take on the 18th ranked Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium at 6 p.m.. CST with the contest being televised on ESPNU.
Tech enters the game after a 45-14 loss to Texas A&M last weekend while Clemson (3-1) annihilated North Carolina 52-7.
Bulldog head coach Jack Bicknell said believes Clemson is one of the top 10 teams in the country.
“When I watched the film of their win over North Carolina, I knew they weren’t the 18th ranked team in the country,” Bicknell said. “They have top 5 or top 10 talent. They remind me of some of the top 5 teams we’ve played over the last few years like LSU (in 2003), Auburn (in 2004) and Miami (in 2004). They are that good.”
Statistically, Clemson ranks among the nations best in almost every offensive and defensive category, including ranking No. 3 in scoring offense (41.5), No. 10 in pass efficiency defense (90.24), No. 12 in total defense (234.75), No. 18 in rushing offense (202.5), No. 19 in total offense (425.0) and No. 20 in rushing defense (78.25).
The lone blemish on Clemson’s record was a 34-33 overtime loss at 25th ranked Boston College on September 9.
“When you scout team, you always hope to find an area you feel like they might not be strong in; something maybe you can exploit,” Bicknell said. “They don’t really have any weaknesses. It will be a great opportunity for us to go out and test ourselves and get better.”
The Bulldogs have relied on a balanced offensive attack and are averaging 5.7 yards per offensive play despite playing against Nebraska and Texas A&M.
Sophomore Patrick Jackson leads the Bulldogs ground game averaging 80.0 yards rushing per contest and 4.5 yards per carry while quarterback Zac Champion has been steady, throwing four touchdowns and only one interception in his first three career starts.
Defensively, Tech is led by sophomore linebacker Quin Harris (29 tackles, 2 FF, 2 FR) and junior nose tackle Josh Muse (19 tackles, 2 TFL). However, the young Bulldog defensive unit has been hurt by big plays.
“We have to cut down on giving up big plays,” Bicknell said. “They’ve killed us. No one has really been able to run the ball down our throats but we’re simply giving up too many big plays. We have talent, we just have to quit making mental mistakes.”
Dave Nitz and Steve Davison will provide the play by play and color commentary for the contest which will be carried live on KXKZ-FM 107.5 (Ruston) and KEEL-AM 710 (Shreveport) with the pregame show starting at 5 p.m.