UNT-LT Q&A

North Texas wide receiver Jaelon Darden (1) upends the Louisiana Tech defensive end Eric Kendzior on his way into the end zone last season during the Bulldogs win over the Mean Green. The teams will face off again on Saturday in Ruston, Louisiana. 

North Texas will face Louisiana Tech in Ruston on Saturday in a matchup of teams that are 1-2 on the season.

UNT lost its Conference USA opener 40-6 to UAB last week when Louisiana Tech lost to SMU 39-37 on a last second touchdown pass.

We are fortunate to welcome in Ben Carlisle of Bleed Tech Blue of the Rivals network to discuss the game.

Ben covers the Bulldogs for the site. One can find his work on the site and can also catch up with him on Twitter at @BCarlisle37.

Here is what Ben had to say about tomorrow's game.

1. How is Louisiana Tech emotionally after two heartbreaking losses to SMU and Mississippi State?

I think that's the big question for Louisiana Tech entering this match-up with North Texas. When defensive end Mykol Clark and wide receiver Samuel Emilus met with the media on Tuesday, the spirits seemed to be good.

The one word that has been repeated over and over throughout the week is "finish." This team has proved throughout the first three weeks that they can play with any team on the schedule, but we'll find out if the Bulldogs are true contenders in Conference USA against North Texas.

They must respond and find a way to win now that conference play has arrived.

2. Austin Kendall seems like he has fit right in at Louisiana Tech. Is that the case and why?

He's been the perfect fit. His play on the field has been superb, but the leadership and swagger that he's brought to the offense has been the most important factor.

He's brought a toughness to the position that the Bulldogs were lacking in 2020.

3. How big of a surprise has the emergence of Tre Harris and Bub Means at wide receiver been?

It's tough to say that it’s been a surprise because both guys are so talented. Entering the season, it was expected that Jawaun Johnson and Isaiah Graham would be the go-to guys outside but injuries to those two have forced Harris and Means to play big roles right away.

Harris had a monster day against SMU and Means had a 72-yard touchdown catch at Mississippi State. With both players possessing an impressive blend of size and speed they'll continue to be problems for opponents as the Bulldogs get into conference play.

4. Louisiana Tech has struggled a bit defensively. What’s been the issue?

Obviously, Miss State, SLU, and SMU possess three of the better passing offenses in the country. That said, there have been a good number of breakdowns in the secondary, especially when the defensive line is unable to get pressure.

Levi Bell is now out along the defensive line as well, so we'll see what comes of that up front. That said, with three games under their belt, it's time for David Blackwell's unit to start getting more stops consistently.

Prior to the Hail Mary play against SMU the unit had gotten four straight stops in the fourth quarter so there is some hope that unit is starting to turn a corner.

5. How do you see this game playing out?

I think it's going to be a good football game. Both teams need a win in the worst way.

There is no doubt that Tech is going to lean on Austin Kendall at quarterback. To this point, he's shown that he has the ability to lead the Bulldogs to 35-40 points a game.

Defensively, the secondary has had some issues for three weeks now, but I think the biggest thing for Tech is getting a pass rush on Jace Ruder. If they can force Ruder into a few mistakes, the Bulldogs should win.

I'll say Tech wins 48-35 in a high-scoring affair Saturday night.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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