Texas A&M-Louisiana Tech Preview
The season opener between Texas A&M and Louisiana Tech was
postponed, but it was definitely worth the wait as these surging
teams will meet for the first time when both are in the Top 25.
The 22nd-ranked Aggies look to improve to 11-0 in this series
Saturday night in Shreveport, where the 23rd-ranked Bulldogs will
try to extend the nation’s longest regular-season winning streak to
13 and improve to 6-0 for the first time.
Looking to open its inaugural SEC season and first under coach
Kevin Sumlin on a positive note, Texas A&M (4-1) never made the
trip for the Aug. 30 matchup against Louisiana Tech due to
Since losing 20-17 to then-No. 24 Florida in their season opener
Sept. 8, the Aggies have rolled off four straight victories – the
team’s best run since a six-game win streak Oct. 23-Nov. 25,
Despite a season-high six turnovers, Texas A&M won its first
SEC road game last Saturday, 30-27 over Mississippi. Redshirt
freshman Johnny Manziel led two late fourth-quarter touchdown
drives, running for a 29-yard score and throwing a 20-yard TD pass
to senior Ryan Swope.
Manziel’s passing efficiency of 162.8 is 12th in the FBS, and he
leads the Aggies with 495 rushing yards and seven scores on the
“Their quarterback play has been really good. He is kind of a
unique player with talent,” Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes said.
“He is very, very difficult to contain. He is somebody that if you
rush him he makes more plays, but if you let him sit back there and
have all day then he will pick you apart throwing the football. So,
it is kind of a unique challenge.”
Sumlin also realizes his squad faces a tough test. The Bulldogs
are third in the nation with 53.2 points per game and are averaging
523.4 yards, 11th-most in the FBS. They defeated UNLV 58-31 last
“I’m not surprised by them being ranked,” Sumlin said. “…
They’re not going to be intimated by us one bit, and they shouldn’t
be. This is a game that doesn’t surprise me where they are. As a
matter of fact, I think they’re probably a little low being
The Bulldogs are in the Top 25 for the second time and first
since 1999, and they’re trying to surpass the 1975 team that also
opened with five wins.
“(Being ranked) is just a distraction,” senior cornerback Quinn
Giles said. “We do not really look at that. We are not worried
about being ranked right now. We are just trying to win games.”
Louisiana Tech, though, is winless in 13 straight against ranked
opponents since a 40-28 victory at then-No. 23 Fresno State on Dec.
However, the Bulldogs could change that if they remain among the
best in turnover margin, as they are tied for second in the FBS at
Senior Colby Cameron can take plenty of credit for that with 13
TDs and no interceptions, while the defense has recovered 10
fumbles and recorded five INTs – all in the last three games.
Louisiana Tech’s secondary could have its hands full with Mike
Evans, Thomas Johnson, Uzoma Nwachukwu and Swope, who is one shy of
200 receptions, but Dykes’ team cannot ignore a rushing attack
that’s totaled 218 yards or more during each of the last four
The Bulldogs’ running game is 16th in the FBS with 232.2 yards
per game. Senior Ray Holley and freshman Kenneth Dixon, who was
named the Western Athletic Conference offensive player of the week
after running for 102 yards and four TDs last Saturday, should get
plenty of touches against the Aggies with Tevin King out for the
year with a torn ACL.
Texas A&M, which is holding opponents to 3.2 yards per
carry, is 14th in the FBS in scoring defense at 14.8.
The Aggies, a 48-16 winner the last time these teams met Sept.
11, 2010, posted a 37-17 victory in their only road game versus
Louisiana Tech on Sept. 4, 1999.