- The Miami Hurricanes take on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in the Independence Bowl on Thursday.
- Miami has not named a starting quarterback for the Independence Bowl.
- Louisiana Tech is an underdog against the Canes but they have a real shot to win the game.
SHREVEPORT, La. – The Miami Hurricanes enter the eye of the storm as they take on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on Thursday in the Independence Bowl.
The Hurricanes have struggled this season, and enter the game barely bowl-eligible at 6-6. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, are 9-3, and looking to lock up their first 10 win season in decades.
The Miami Hurricanes
This game should be a welcome reunion for head coach Manny Diaz. Diaz served as the defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech in 2014, under current Bulldogs head coach Skip Holtz. The connections actually run deeper – Blake Baker, Diaz’s replacement at Tech, is the current defensive coordinator for Miami.
However, this game could turn from a welcome reunion into a nightmare for Diaz.
Miami enters the game in disarray. The first year of Manny Diaz’s coaching tenure has not quite lived up to the swagger he projected in the offseason. The 6-6 Canes lost their last two games in embarrassing fashion, and the losses were so impactful that as of yet, they haven’t named a starting quarterback for this game.
More than that, the competition for the job is more than just Jarren Williams and N’Kosi Perry, the quarterbacks that have started for Miami this season. Tate Martell, a redshirt sophomore who has played snaps at wide receiver, is also under consideration for the job.
Miami, despite this, enters as the favorite, favored by 6.5 points. They are 6-6 not just overall, but ATS. Their mediocrity has even extended to the spread, which should be noted by college football bettors.
In games like this, however, the Canes have tended to falter against the spread. In their last 11 neutral site games, the Hurricanes are 2-9 ATS. In their last eight bowl games, the Canes are 1-7 ATS.
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Louisiana Tech enters this game as the underdog but is having its best season in a long time. The Bulldogs are 29th in the nation in points per game, 44th in points allowed, and their 9-3 record is an impressive one.
However, weight must be given to the fact that they play in Conference USA – their strength of schedule is -2.51.
The Bulldogs are led by quarterback J’mar Smith, who only played in 10 of their games during the season, but amassed excellent numbers: 2,814 passing yards, 65.8% completions, and an impressive 8.3 yards per attempt.
Indeed, the two games Smith missed were games Tech lost.
Head Coach Skip Holtz is aiming for his first-ever 10 win season, and the Bulldogs have every reason to come into this game fired up. They might not be able to match Miami’s talent across the board, but they are a good college team, and Miami has certainly lost to worse.
Make no mistake, the Bulldogs are a deserved underdog. Miami has more talent everywhere, except perhaps the quarterback position, where Smith likely outshines whoever Miami’s starter ends up being. That said, one thing to keep in mind is how familiar Miami’s staff is with Smith, who has been at LA Tech for five years.
Whoever wins the game, USAOnlineSportsbooks.com knows it should be excellent. An underdog on the rise against a struggling former power – what could be better?