2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 2 - Central Ark. at Louisiana Tech
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at Louisiana Tech 48 … Central Arkansas 42 OT
CFN Analysis: Uh oh. The passing game was fine, with Nick Isham completing 22-of-37 passes for 318 yards and two touchdowns with a pick, and Lennon Creer was fantastic with 177 yards and three touchdowns, but Central Arkansas did even more with its passing attack, with Nathan Dick throwing for 372 yards and four scores. The Tech attack needs playmakers to emerge, and Quinton Patton became one with eight catches for 211 yards and two scores, and the D finally came up with a stop in overtime, but this was hardly a confidence builder. There were too many penalties, too many mistakes, and too many breakdowns, and to make matters worse for the beleaguered pass defense, Houston is up next. The WAC season doesn’t start for a few weeks, but the opener is against Hawaii. The nation’s 107th ranked pass defense is getting help from the pass rush, but the defensive backs aren’t making plays.
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Central Arkansas (1-0) at Louisiana Tech (0-1) Sept. 10, 12:21, ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … This could be an interesting shootout, and for Louisiana Tech, it’s time to get the offense to finally start working. The Bulldogs couldn’t get anything moving against Southern Miss last week, but playing in hurricane weather didn’t exactly help the cause in a 19-17 loss. The passing game is supposed to be dangerous, but it only came up with 176 yards, and while the defense did its job in the poor conditions, it couldn’t hold on.
Central Arkansas will be a test with a passing game that has enough talent to push the ball all over the field and a defense that’s just good enough to get by. If this isn’t the best team in the Southland Conference, it’s not far off, and it has the firepower, led by quarterback Nathan Dick, who could be the conference’s player of the year. The two teams are good enough to combine for well over 600 passing yards and the points should be flying on the board, and it should be fun.
Why Central Arkansas Might Win: The Louisiana Tech secondary is a question mark, and it’s about to get bombed on. It was saved by the bad weather against Southern Miss, but it could have problems if the defensive front doesn’t get into the backfield. The Bulldog defensive front has a spotty pass rush at best, and if it doesn’t get to Dick and doesn’t throw off the timing of the attack, the Tech defense give up too many big plays. On the other side of the ball, the secondary oculd be the Bears’ strength, and the Tech offense that hasn’t shown much of anything under head coach Sonny Dykes could be wildly inconsistent.
Why Louisiana Tech Might Win: Louisiana Tech isn’t Henderson State. Central Arkansas had the win well in hand when it allowed 14 points in the second half, and while the passing game worked with Dick throwing for 280 yards and three scores, the running game sputtered a bit with just 108 yards on 31 carries. Tech’s secondary might be a question mark, even after a decent day against USM, but the front seven should be a rock against the run at times this year and it’s not going to allow a thing on the ground. By shocked if the Bears come up with 100 yards rushing.
What To Watch Out For: This offseason, Colby Cameron and Zach Griffith were supposed to be in a battle to handle the Louisiana Tech offense, but the coaching staff turned to the new guy, and Nick Isham is made for the role of a spread quarterback. The true freshman isn’t all that big at 6-0 and 185 pounds, but was the National High School Player of the Year after completing 73% of his throws for 2,990 yards and 34 scores. He wasn’t bad in his debut against Southern Miss completing 20-of-36 passes for 176 yards, and now he has to show that he can get the passing game going down the field. He spread the ball around well, but his job against the Bears will be to come up with big plays.
What Will Happen: Central Arkansas will move the ball well and will have its moments, but it’s not going be able to run the ball a lick. The Louisiana Tech offense won’t explode, but it’ll be far more effective and far better than it was last week with Isham coming up with a strong game both on the ground and through the air.
CFN Prediction: Louisiana Tech 38 … Central Arkansas 16
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