Right off the bat, the key matchup is TCU's 20th ranked rushing attack against the Bulldog's frot seven. Ed Wesley and Waymon James team up to account for over 140 of TCU's 210 rushing yards per game. The 5'8" 200 pound James averages 7.7 yards per carry and has 6 touchdowns on the season. Wesley, a 5'9" 200 pound junior averages 6.2 yards per carry and has 5 touchdowns.
Matt Tucker, a 6'1" 220 pound junior, is the touchdown machine for the Frogs with 11 on the season. Tucker averages 5.9 yards per carry. With so many weapons in TCU's rushing attack, the Bulldog's defense faces a huge challenge.
Louisiana Tech is ranked 25th in the nation against the run, giving up 122 yards per contest. The Bulldogs made a habit of holding opponents under their rushing average this season. Justin Ellis, a 6'2" 330 pound sophomore, leads the way inside for the Bulldogs. Senior linebackers Adien Cole and Jay Dudley combined for 194 tackles on the season and five interceptions.
Dudley led the team with four interceptions. The Bulldogs had 20 interceptions on the season, helping the Dawgs reac 11th in the country in turnover margin at .92 on the season. Chad Boyd, Dave Clark, and Quin Giles had three interceptions each.
The Bulldogs were 27th in the country in pass efficiency defense. TCU Quarterback Casey Pachall is 7th in the country in pass efficiency. Once again, we find the two teams matching stregnth against strength. Pachall threw for 2800 yards on the season with 25 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions.
TCU runs the ball extremely well and their quarterback takes care of the ball. Louisiana Tech holds up against the run and is opportunistic against the pass. Who will force their will against the other team? It should make for an exciting matchup when TCU has the ball.
On the other side, TCU is known for their defense under Gay Patterson. The Frogs are 30th in scoring defense, holding opponents under 22 points per game. TCU is 32nd in total defense, holding other teams under 350 yards per contest. The offensive line Frogs allow just one sack per game.
Kenny Cain, a 6'1" linebacker from John Curtis High School in Louisiana, leads TCU with 67 tackles on the season. Fellow linebacker Tank Carder, 6'3" 237", added 66 tackles and he added two interceptions for 95 yards. 6'4" safety Tekerrein Cuba had 65 tackles on the season and two forced fumbles.
Both teams certainly have playmakers on defense. TCU will try to limit Louisiana Tech from making big plays on offense. Quinton Patton had over 15 yards per catch with 1135 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season. Myles White had over 13 yards per catch and added two scores. Tech was 49th in the country in total offense at just under 400 yards per game. The Bulldogs scored over 30 points per game, good for 41st in the country.
Special Teams will be a big factor in the game. Louisiana Tech punter Ryan Allen already took home the Lou Groza award and was also names All-American by the Sporting News. Tech is 8th in the country in net punting at over 40 yards per game. Allen led the country in punts downed inside the 20. TCU leads the country in kick return yardage with 28.57 yards per return. Greg McCoy is 4th in the country at over 31 yards per return.
If Tech can force TCU to put together long drives, it might keep the Frogs out of the end zone as much as they are used to. On the other side, if McCoy breaks a long kick return and TCU can mix in a quick score, the Bulldogs could be playing from behind early. A good start is important for both teams, but it is highly important to the underdog Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.
Tech is no stranger to being the underdog, and they showed they can come from behind against Nevada. It's the WAC Champions against the Mountain West Champions. Two teams from the Central Time Zone getting it on out in San Diego. The 2011 Poinsettia Bowl should make for an exciting game.