Louisiana Tech vs. Navy Preview
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium – Fort Worth, TX
When: Friday, December 23, 4:30 PM ET
Line: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (-6) vs. Navy Midshipmen (+6); total 67.0 – view all NCAA Football lines
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Writer’s Pick: Navy Midshipmen (+6)
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Betting on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (-6)
Louisiana Tech had quite a journey toward 8-5 this season. The Bulldogs lost three of their first four games – although two were against Arkansas and Texas Tech – before reeling off seven straight wins. They then lost their last two games, including the Conference USA title game against Western Kentucky in a 58-44 shootout.
Points are almost guaranteed in La Tech’s games. The OVER went 10-3 in their 13 games this season. They have an explosive offense which averaged 44 points per game this season, 5th-most in the country. However, their defense will give up its share of points as well. It finished 96th in scoring defense, allowing 32.7 points per game.
But with Navy missing its starting quarterback and one of its top running backs, the Bulldogs could have enough firepower to outlast the Midshipmen. Senior quarterback Ryan Higgins had an outstanding season. His 350 passing yards per game is 3rd in the nation, while his 37 touchdown passes are tied for 5th.
Higgins also has the most prolific receiving pairing in the nation in Trent Taylor and Carlos Henderson at his disposal. The two finished in the top 8 in receiving yards and had nearly 3,000 yards combined. Henderson finished tied for second with 17 touchdown catches.
That Bulldogs passing game should do some significant damage on a Navy defense which has allowed the 7th-highest passer rating in the country this season.
Betting on the Navy Midshipmen (+6)
Navy’s once-promising season ended a bit of disappointingly. The Midshipmen were 9-2 at one point and were headed toward a possible New Year’s Six bowl game. However, they were sunk 34-10 by Temple in the AAC title game, and were also beaten for the first time in over a decade by rivals Army to finish 9-4.
Navy suffered a huge blow as star quarterback Will Worth and slot-back Toneo Gulley were both injured on the same play against Temple. Worth had a terrific season taking over for the record-setting Keenan Reynolds. He put up 1,198 rushing yards and 25 rushing touchdowns (the most in the country) while orchestrating Navy’s triple-option offense. Gulley, meanwhile, was fourth in the team in rushing with 427 yards and had four touchdowns.
Sophomore Zach Abey is set to start at quarterback once again for the bowl game. Abey has thrown two interceptions in each of his two games in place of Worth. He also ran for 143 yards and had three rushing touchdowns in those two games. But despite his shaky start, don’t completely count Abey out. He will have the benefit of extra time to prepare and get more comfortable in the system ahead of the bowl game.
While Temple’s and Army’s defenses had experience against the triple-option and were able to neutralize it, Louisiana Tech’s subpar defense does not. The Bulldogs defense’s lack of familiarity with the triple-option should allow the Midshipmen to continue moving the ball effectively even without Worth.
Louisiana Tech’s defense struggles to contain Navy’s triple-option attack as the Midshipmen (+6) do enough to cover in a high-scoring affair.
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