While Louisiana Tech finished 3-9 last year, two of those wins were in Conference USA play. And there’s plenty of reason for the Bulldogs to be optimistic about 2023.
For one, five of those CUSA teams the Bulldogs lost to are now in the AAC. Secondly, they made multiple additions – including at quarterback – which should help them finish with a better record than last year.
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Louisiana Tech Football’s Conference USA Title Odds
Louisiana Tech Football’s Over/Under Win Total
Louisiana Tech’s win total Over/Under is 5.5, with Under 5.5 at +145 and Over 5.5 at -175.
Louisiana Tech Football’s Schedule
8/26 vs FIU
9/2 at SMU
9/9 vs Northwestern State
9/16 vs North Texas
9/23 at Nebraska
9/29 at UTEP
10/5 vs Western Kentucky
10/10 at Middle Tennessee
10/24 vs New Mexico State
11/4 at Liberty
11/11 vs Sam Houston
11/18 at Jacksonville State
Bold indicates CUSA contests.
Key Louisiana Tech Football Returners
2022 All-Conference USA 1st Team
PR Smoke Harris
KR Smoke Harris
RB Marquis Crosby
OL Carson Bruno
OL Dakota White
OL Bert Hale
DB Willie Roberts
Hank Bachmeier Gives Louisiana Tech’s Offense A Boost
Louisiana Tech might be behind only Western Kentucky for the best set of players at the skill positions in CUSA.
At quarterback, Hank Bachmeier joins the Bulldogs after seeing plenty of success at Boise State. In 29 career appearances since 2019, Bachmeier threw for 6,605 yards, 38 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions on a 62% completion rate.
His presence could greatly help the Bulldogs, who were sixth in CUSA last year with 29 points per game and 392 yards per game. And while Tre Harris, who led the team with 935 yards and 10 touchdowns on 65 receptions, is gone, Louisiana Tech still has one of the top wideouts and playmakers in CUSA.
Smoke Harris has recorded 2,112 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns on 225 catches in the past five years, totaling 66 receptions for 640 yards and five touchdowns a year ago. He also was seventh among all FBS teams with 12.4 yards per punt return and 27.2 yards per kick return.
Cyrus Allen, who recorded 500 yards and four touchdowns on 22 catches, is also back. Nebraska transfer wideout Decoldest Crawford and Cal Poly transfer tight end Ryan Rivera could also help Louisiana Tech’s offense.
Marquis Crosby is arguably the best running back in Conference USA and will help give the Bulldogs a balanced offense. His 918 rushing yards was third best in the league and his nine rushing touchdowns tied for second.
Charvis Thornton was second on the team with 464 yards and three touchdowns on 80 carries, and he’s back. Tyre Shelton, a transfer running back from Miami (Ohio), could also be a factor in Louisiana Tech’s offense.
Louisiana Tech was eighth in CUSA with 124.8 rushing yards per game and allowed 32 sacks, which was the fourth most. However, the Bulldogs should improve in those areas with the returners they have on the offensive line.
Left tackle Dakota White, left guard Bert Hale, and right tackle Carson Bruno are all back after making the All-Conference USA honorable mention list. Wyoming transfer Mykel Janise could also help the Bulldogs up front.
Willie Roberts To Help Louisiana Tech’s Defense Take Next Step
Louisiana Tech’s defense will look much different in 2023 after allowing the second-most yards (468.8 per game) and points (37.9) in Conference USA last year.
Louisiana Tech returns just four of its top 13 tacklers from a season ago. Hugh Davis, who led the team with 76 tackles to go with four tackles for loss, is one of those players coming back, though.
Willie Roberts, an All-CUSA honorable mention defensive back, is also returning. He led the team with four interceptions and seven pass breakups to go with 29 tackles in 2022.
The Bulldogs hoped to bolster their defense with several new players transferring from other Division I programs.
In the secondary, Louisiana Tech added defensive backs Demarcus Griffin-Taylor (Houston), Zion Hopes (Tulsa), Roderick Roberson (SMU), and Myles Heard (Stephen F. Austin).
The Bulldogs also picked up linebackers Kolbe Fields (LSU), Zach Zimos (Arkansas), Jeslord Boateng (Akron), and Brevin Randle (Stephen F. Austin), as well as defensive end Jayden Gray (Iowa State).
Louisiana Tech Football Season Prediction
The Bulldogs won’t win the Conference USA title, but they should win more than five games.
The key stretch to reaching six wins will be their non-conference slate. They begin the year with a matchup against FIU, which should be a Louisiana Tech win. They should also be able to beat Northwestern State at home two weeks later.
The Bulldogs travel to take on SMU and Nebraska, and I don’t see them winning either of those games. But I could see them beating North Texas, especially since it’s at home.
But Louisiana Tech might not even need that victory to get to six wins. While the Bulldogs probably won’t beat Western Kentucky or Liberty, they should be able to take care of Sam Houston and Jacksonville State to end the regular season.
That leaves games vs. New Mexico State at home and against UTEP and Middle Tennessee on the road. I could see the Bulldogs winning one and potentially even two of those contests.
In short, plenty has to go right for the Bulldogs. But if their offense clicks with Bachmeier at quarterback, they might finish the year .500 or better.