Week 5 – Louisiana Tech at Virginia

Posted Sep 26, 2012

Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction – Louisiana Tech at Virginia

Louisiana Tech (3-0) at Virginia (2-2) Sept. 29, 3:30, ESPN3

Here's The Deal: In what was supposed to be a solemn year for the fading WAC, Louisiana Tech is giving the conference a much-needed identity … on a national level. At 3-0 for third-year head coach Sonny Dykes, the Bulldogs are acting as if they plan to become this year's Houston, contending for an at-large BCS bowl game behind a point-a-minute offense. Overstated? Nope. Tech embarrassed the Big Ten's Illinois in Champaign this weekend, 52-24, and will have two more cracks at BCS schools over the next three weeks. Win them both, and it's going to be a very interesting fall in Ruston. Virginia sure seems ripe for the picking these days. The Cavaliers haven't played a complete game since the opener, getting a fortunate win over Penn State before getting schooled in back-to-back losses to Georgia Tech and TCU. While the program was supposed to be rebuilding in 2012, the task is turning out to be a little tougher than most expected.

Why Louisiana Tech Might Win: It took some time before Dykes' high-powered offense really started to hum, but it's clicking on all cylinders now. The Bulldogs have scored at least 52 points in all three games, ranking a perfectly balanced 22nd nationally in both rushing and passing offense. Colby Cameron has been a deft distributor at quarterback, throwing 11 touchdown passes without a pick through the first three games. Quinton Patton is an ACC-caliber wide receiver, the playmaker of a deep corps of receivers. However, it's been the running of freshmen Tevin King and Kenneth Dixon that has really helped take this attack to a new level. King was injured last week, but Dixon appears capable of shouldering the load.

Why Virginia Might Win: The rub in Ruston has been the defense, which ranks 115th in the country. Opportunistic? You bet. Stingy? Uh-uh. The Cavaliers have issues on offense, but you might not know it this week. Whether Michael Rocco or Phillip Sims gets the ball from Mike London, he should find success through the air on the Louisiana Tech secondary. And this is one of those games that Virginia will relish the chance to pound a smaller opponent with backs Kevin Parks and Perry Jones behind Morgan Moses, Oday Aboushi and the rest of the UVA O-line.

What To Watch Out For: Like so many games, this one will come down to turnovers. Virginia ranks 114th nationally in turnover margin, while Louisiana Tech rose to No. 6 after causing five fumbles a week ago. However, the Bulldogs also put the ball on the ground five times, losing three of them. Although they've done a great job of stripping the ball over the first three games, they have to stop coughing it up in order to survive another road against a BCS conference opponent.

What Will Happen: Two teams heading in opposite directions will remain on those disparate paths this Saturday. Louisiana Tech will miss King, and will need to maintain its focus, but Cameron is evolving into the kind of leader that can keep his team surging ahead. Plus, Virginia is ripe for the picking and struggling in multiple areas. The Cavaliers offense will come to life for the first time in weeks, but not with enough potency or consistency to keep pace with a Bulldogs attack gaining a head of steam.

CFN Prediction: Louisiana Tech 34 … Virginia 28
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Louisiana Tech -3.5 O/U: 61.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ryder Cup 2012, 1 – SNL Thursday Weekend Update): 2.5