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Offensive Balance Key for Louisiana Tech’s Push

Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire

Gawk at electrifying college football offenses all you want, they’re littered everywhere.

In the case of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, a 5-3 record doesn’t convey the threat it possesses in its offensive scheme, nor is it a team that seeks to run upwards of 85 plays per game. The balance, however, will thrust the Bulldogs into a complete force down the home stretch of the schedule. It’s been a fruitful season on offense that could give defenses fits as the season dwindles.

The post-Sonny Dykes era saw a minor drop off in offensive efficiency, but the Bulldogs have blossomed into one of the nation’s underrated attacks. It’s undoubtedly evident.

Skimming the statistics heading into Week 9, Louisiana Tech has managed to stabilize its structure without its top-notch tailback in Kenneth Dixon.  The senior—who’s missed time with an ankle injury—was absent for the early parts of October.

Even without his presence for a couple of contests, the Bulldogs rank 20th in total yards (480.6), 16th in passing yards (315.2), 75th in rushing (165.4), and 22nd in points per game (37.8).

Now that Dixon’s nearly rejuvenated back to full strength, it only impacts the stability going forward. Much of the production has to be distributed to quarterback Jeff Driskel, the graduate transfer managing to flourish without his partner in crime at tailback.

He’s completing 61.3% of his passes in 2015 and has yet to slip under the 56% mark in any game this season.

There were questions that certainly cropped up once he transferred: Would Driskel play the “game manager” role or would head coach Skip Holtz utilize his quarterback and activate the entire offense?

The latter has been obvious and Driskel’s dialed up his “surgeon” status; or as analysts like to describe it: He’s been “able to pick apart and slice up opposing defenses.”

The wide receiver slot has been a similar tale to what worked last season. Paul Turner, Carlos Henderson and Trent Taylor serve as first looks for Driskel, but both Marcus Gaines and Kameron McKnight have emerged as secondary outlets, piecing the receiving corps in unison.

The balance and variety of offensive looks should be well-suited for the Bulldogs as they take the next step in the season on Friday, heading down to Rice.

The Owls have been plagued on defense for much of the year, particularly to teams that are either run or pass heavy.

Even off a bye week with extra time to prepare for Army’s triple option rushing attack, Rice allowed a staggering 378 yards on 5.6 yards per rush last weekend. While Western Kentucky supported a balanced attack last season with a healthy Leon Allen at running back, the Hilltoppers were shorthanded without Allen at Rice in Week 5. Still, the Owls let Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Doughty throw for 424 yards and four scores.

In an era where college football personalities are infatuated with phrases such as “putting defenses on their heels” and “keeping defenses honest with frequent rushes to set up the passing game,” Rice should see a different animal that can exploit its defensive unit in both aspects.

Louisiana Tech may not have much competition down the stretch. It could seemingly wipe the floor as November nears.

A conference title however is well intact. It’s a well-balanced offensive structure that, even with three losses, can erase last year’s defeat in the title game with a win of its own.

Now that Dixon is back and Driskel has proven his dominance at the mid-major platform, don’t let the Bulldogs breeze under the radar when the Conference-USA Championship nears

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