Is Louisiana Tech a Trap Game for Mississippi State?


Oct 10, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; A Louisiana Tech Bulldogs cheerleader performs against the UTSA Roadrunners during the second half at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

I hate playing Louisiana Tech. You’re probably wondering why I hate playing Louisiana Tech since they are supposed to be an easy win for the Bulldogs. They should be and the opening line reflected this feeling when the Mississippi State version of the Bulldogs were favored by 15.5 points.

It’s for this reason we haven’t spent a ton of time breaking down all of the match ups in this weekend’s game. Mississippi State will have the advantage in just about every aspect. That is what happens when you have a Conference USA team playing an SEC team.

But Louisiana Tech is a good team. Not so good that they would be able to win consistently in the SEC if they played in the conference, but good enough to give most teams in the conference a challenge if they try to sleep walk through the game.

And on many occasions, the Bulldogs from Ruston have given the Bulldogs from Starkville quite the challenge. Mississippi State has won 8 of the 11 meetings between the two schools, but Louisiana Tech has won two of the past three. Louisiana Tech defeated Jackie Sherrill’s squad in 1996 by a score of 38-23. Sylvester Croom took the team to Ruston in 2008 and lost 22-14. It was the first loss in what would be Sylvester Croom’s final season as the head coach of Mississippi State.

The most recent meeting was in 2011. The Bulldogs went 7-6 that season, but much of the season was a struggle. The Louisiana Tech game was no different. The Bulldogs needed overtime to avoid the upset and won the game 26-20.

And sometimes a win over Louisiana Tech has been an ominous sign. In 1988, Mississippi State prevailed in the season opener by a score of 21-14, but went on to lose the remaining ten games on the schedule. The 1988 team has since been referred to as “Tech and Ten”.

As a matter of fact, Mississippi State has had only one truly dominant performance against the Bulldogs from Ruston since 1968. In 1980, Mississippi State won 31-11. But in the meetings since 1968, Louisiana Tech has won three of the games, and Mississippi State has won four. In those four wins, Mississippi State’s average margin of victory has been 8.5 points. And if you take out the 20 point win in 1980, Mississippi State has won the last three times over Louisiana Tech by an average margin of just under 5 points a game.

And if you want any other reasons to worry about this game, there’s the Manny Diaz factor. Manny Diaz spent last season as the defensive coordinator for Louisiana Tech after being relieved of his duties at Texas. The Bulldogs from Ruston should be very familiar with the schemes and formations they will see when they take the field this Saturday.

So back to the question at hand. Is Louisiana Tech a trap game for Mississippi State? Yes, it most certainly is, especially with the resumption of SEC play next week against Kentucky on the horizon.  I still expect the Maroon and White Bulldogs to be victorious, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if fans are a  little more stressed out by the end of the game.

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