Louisiana Tech brings major offensive problems for K-State’s defense

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Louisiana Tech senior quarterback Jeff Driskel at the game against Western Kentucky in Bowling Green, Kentucky on Sept. 10, 2015. (Photo Courtesy of Tom Morris | Louisiana Tech University)

After a 30-3 blowout last week against UTSA, K-State encounters an even bigger challenge with Louisiana Tech coming to Manhattan.

Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz and his team are coming off a heartbreaking three point loss to fellow Conference USA foe Western Kentucky.

“We have played with more energy and we have had a better week of practice,” Holtz said in an article from latechsports.com. “We have had a great week of practice. We played a little bit on our heels last Thursday and I feel like maybe the time away for a couple days (helped) them getting the chance to get back out here.”

Even with the loss, this Bulldog team is still very dangerous led by one of the best offense units in the country.

Louisiana Tech ranks 11th in the country in total yards, 11th in passing yards and eighth in overall points and points per game.

Leading this Bulldogs attack is led by senior quarterback and Florida transfer Jeff Driskel.

Driskel leads the nation so far in single game quarterback efficiency. His 321.44 ranking is the best so far that the FBS has seen since 2006.

“The transfer quarterback that they have is getting ingrained in the system,” K-State head coach Bill Snyder said at last Tuesday’s press conference. “You can see him getting better and better in only two games, but you can see the improvements being made. He is comfortable in the offense, and he throws the ball well. He can get it from here to there in a heartbeat. They throw the short game, but they throw the ball vertical down the field.”

Another threat that might be even greater than Driskel is their senior running back Kenneth Dixon.

The records that Dixon holds could fill a large book but he has the longest rush from scrimmage, the most rushing touchdowns in a season and the most games scoring a touchdown in a season just to name a few.

Currently, Dixon leads the nation in career rushing yards and ranks in the top-10 for career overall touchdowns with 65.

“Their running back, Dixon, has half a million yards or whatever it is,” Snyder said. “Obviously, he is a very, very fine player. He can make that cut and make you miss, so getting him out in space makes him a difficult guy to tackle, and he can run hard to go along with it.”

K-State’s rushing defense, which ranks eighth in total yards and yards per game, will have quite a test to contain Louisiana Tech’s talented senior.

“He is one heck of a running back,” K-State senior defensive tackle Travis Britz said “We are really going to have to improve our tackling and our run defense if we are going to have a chance against him. Their offensive line is filled with a lot of big guys. They are probably the biggest offensive line that we have seen so far. So it is going to be a challenge for us, but it is a good challenge and we like challenges.”

Defensively, the Bulldogs aren’t as prolific but their secondary deserves to be feared.

Last week, their streak of having 10 straight games with at least one interceptions was broken in their loss to the Hilltoppers. Even with the streak broken, Bulldogs senior cornerback Adairius Barnes is seventh in the NCAA active career interception list.

“Defensively, I know their secondary, the returners, three of four are starters in their secondary,” Snyder said. “That group has a total 23 interceptions in their career, which is the most of all teams in the world. They have the third-highest returning interceptions – that is a heck of a statistic. It caught my eye. You can see that they play that way.”

K-State is 2-1 against Louisiana Tech all-time with the last loss coming in 1988, a year before Snyder was hired.

Kick-off between the Wildcats and the Bulldogs is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

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Tim Everson was born in Wichita, KS in 1994. Before fifth grade he moved up to Manhattan for one year before settling in Riley, KS where he graduated from Riley County High School in 2012. Tim has worked for the Collegian since spring of 2014 and took over as Sports Editor during the summer of 2015. Tim loves sports, music, movies and good food when he can get it.