Updated Nov 7, 2003 16:28:51
Bulldog, SMU Set for Battle
RUSTON - Prior to its loss to No. 4 ranked LSU last Saturday, the Louisiana Tech offense has put up some pretty impressive numbers in the prior four games.
The same Bulldog offense that sputtered in a 16-6 Western Athletic Conference opening loss at Fresno State on Sept. 20 had righted ship and averaged 39.5 points during a four game stretch.
Even in the setback to the Tigers of Baton Rouge, the Bulldogs were only one 15-yard excessive celebration penalty away from putting another touchdown on the board which would have given Tech 17 points, the second most allowed by the stingy LSU defense ranked No. 1 in the country in scoring defense entering the game.
Tech head coach Jack Bicknell hopes the Bulldogs offense can pick up where it left off Saturday when it faces a winless but dangerous SMU squad at 2 p.m. at Joe Aillet Stadium.
"The thing to this game is don't expect it to be easy because it won't be," Bicknell said. "It wasn't easy for Nevada when they won 12-9 (over SMU). It wasn't easy for either Fresno State or UTEP (against SMU). (The Mustangs) have been right there in a lot of games, and we have to understand that."
Despite SMU's struggles this season, second-year head coach Phil Bennett, who orchestrated Kansas State's fierce defense both years the Bulldogs lost in Manhattan, Kansas, is known for slowing down potent offenses.
However, Bennett and staff will have their hands full with the dangerous duo of Tech quarterback Luke McCown through the air and running back Ryan Moats on the ground. McCown ranks No. 14 in the country in total offense at 290.4 while Moats ranks No. 21 in the country in rushing at 104.8 yards per games.
"There is no question that Ryan's emergence over the last month has made us a better offense," Bicknell said. "Now defenses have to respect both the run and the pass and it simply makes us tougher to game plan for. However, we will have to play well. We can't just expect to show up and win."
SMU is actually ranked No. 2 in the WAC in total defense this season. Where the Ponies problems have come are on the offensive side of the football, ranking No. 117 in the country in total offense (258.3 ypg) and scoring offense (10.6 ppg).
The game can be heard on KXKZ-FM 107.5 and via the Internet at www.z1075fm.com.