Louisiana Tech vs. Hawaii -1 (o/u 61.5)
In the last bowl game before Christmas, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs will be looking to overcome late season doldrums. After what was shaping up to be a decent season going into November, everything turned into a train wreck with 3 losses over the last 4 games. The problem was an offense that went to sleep, scoring an average of only 16.5 PPG over those contests. On the year, the passing game, under the control of QB J’Mar Smith (2,875 yards, 14 TDs, 9 interceptions) remained effective in spite of a rushing attach that only accounted for just over 126 YPG. On defense, the Bulldogs held its own, allowing 350.9 PPG, good enough for #33 in the NCAA.
For Hawaii, this is a home game. After a solid start to the season, the Rainbow Warriors hit the skids, which resulted in a devastating 4-game mid-season losing streak. The losing streak was attributable to a tough schedule and a defense that went to sleep, giving up 49 PPG over that period. The good news is the Rainbow Warriors were able to right the ship, winning the last two games over UNLV and San Diego State. The offense relied heavily on a solid passing game that featured top-level QB Cole McDonald, who passed for 3,790 yards and 35 TDs with only 8 interceptions. His favorite receiver, John Usrua, caught 89 passes for 1,343 yards and 16 TDs, good enough to rank 5th in the country for receiving yards. The defense gave up over 35 PPG on the season.
Hawaii would seem to have the momentum and will certainly benefit by playing at home. The question for the Bulldogs is will they be able to generate enough offense to stay up with a Rainbow Warriors passing attack that ranked 18th in the country (321 YPG).
Prediction: The feeling here is Louisiana Tech should be able to move the ball against a poor Hawaii defense. During the regular season, only two of Hawaii’s games failed to cover this total. Play over 61.5