R&L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL
ARKANSAS STATE RED WOLVES vs. LOUISIANA TECH BULLDOGS
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT
Las Vegas Line: Louisiana Tech -2
Saturday night marks a farewell to one of college football’s all-time greats. Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon is playing his final game with a chance to surpass Montee Ball’s 83 career touchdowns from scrimmage.
Dixon is tied with Ball, as well as Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds. A huge game Saturday against Arkansas State could give Dixon the NCAA record outright.
The senior running back penned a thank you letter to Louisiana Tech fans this week, which came with one request: fill the SuperDome to cheer on the Bulldogs. The New Orleans Bowl has been one of the better attended postseason games in recent years, so if Dixon gets his wish, that trend will continue.
It could be a magical night in New Orleans for Dixon and Tech, but Arkansas State’s equipped to spoil it.
The Red Wolves’ undefeated run to the Sun Belt Conference championship marked the culmination of a half-decade process. Arkansas State enjoyed sustained success amid coaching tumult, going from Hugh Freeze, to Gus Malzahn, to Bryan Harsin, to Blake Anderson in four years.
Anderson’s the first to stay for more than one season, and appears to be building for more than a two-and-done. Capping Year 2 with a New Orleans Bowl victory would be huge for the direction of the program.
Despite ranking 82nd nationally in scoring defense, Arkansas State’s improved on that side of the ball for the last month, holding every opponent to 28 points or fewer.
Meanwhile, the Red Wolves offense has put up no fewer than 37 points in the last eight. At 41 points per game, Arkansas State ranks No. 10 nationally.
Dual-threat quarterback Fredi Knighten’s play since returning from early-season injury is outstanding. He’s scored 23 touchdowns between the run and pass, and given a capable, fourth option in Arkansas State’s multifaceted ground attack.
Louisiana Tech’s front seven is loaded with veteran Vernon Butler and Freshman All-American Jaylon Ferguson. They’ll have their hands full against the nation’s No. 14-ranked rushing offense.
Expect plenty of points in what could be Saturday’s most exciting matchup.