Western Kentucky heads to Ruston, Louisiana, coming off an impressive 31-10 home win over Middle Tennessee to improve to 1-0 in C-USA play. Meanwhile, Louisiana Tech won its 3rd C-USA matchup on the road against UTEP 24-10 to improve to 3-0 in conference action.
Who will remain undefeated in C-USA? Find out with our predictions and best odds for Thursday night’s matchup between Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech for Thursday, October 5.
Takeaway Tops of Western Kentucky
The Hilltoppers were the best team in the nation at takeaways one season ago and have 11 takeaways already this season. The “Takeaway Tops,” as their fans like to call them, have 5.6 tackles for a loss, but they allow 476 yards per game in total offense, which is why they allow the 99th most points per game in FBS.
Western Kentucky QB Austin Reed leads the nation in passing yards and is the reigning C-USA Player of the Year. He’s thrown 11 scoring strikes with two picks and spreads the ball around with six Hilltoppers over 100 receiving yards. WR Malachi Corley is his big play guy, and they operate behind one of the best offensive lines in C-USA.
Western Kentucky’s Austin Reed To Moussa Barry 51-Yard TOUCHDOWN! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/uzbfhk0uM5
— LIGHT ON COLLEGE SPORTS (@LightOnSports) September 2, 2023
We’ve already discussed the big plays they make on defense, but that’s all they do well. Western Kentucky surrenders 472 yards and 29 points per game, but they have allowed less than their season average in four of their five games this season.
Louisiana Tech Undefeated in C-USA
Louisiana Tech will be without second-leading tackler Brevin Randle and might be without the services of starting QB Hank Bachmeier for Thursday’s home conference tilt. They did snap a 16-game away losing streak last week at UTEP, and they have to be feeling good about that.
Randle plays a huge role for a defense, allowing 152 passing yards per game. Safety Miles Heard averages the 15th most tackles in the nation, broke up three passes, and recovered a fumble in the victory over UTEP. The Bulldogs rushing defense allows the 132nd most rushing yards per game in FBS, but they have registered 11 sacks with four interceptions, including a pick-six.
Smoke Harris, Special Teams Player of the Week
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) October 2, 2023
The Bulldogs average 27 points per game, and Boise State transfer QB Hank Bachmeier leads the team in passing yards but has missed the past 2.5 games with an injury. His status for Thursday is unknown, but reserve QB Jack Turner has thrown for 592 yards with more TDs than picks. WR Smoke Harris is probably the best in the country, but the O-Line has allowed 13 sacks.
Western Kentucky vs. Louisiana Tech Best Bet
Louisiana Tech missing Randle and Bachmeir will hurt their chances, and my best bet is Western Kentucky -6.5 (-105) at FanDuel Sportsbook KY.
Austin Reed is going to play in the NFL, and he’s got enough weapons with a pass-heavy offensive game plan, and they are going to beat the Bulldogs through the air and cover the spread.
The Western Kentucky defense is opportunistic; because of that, they surrender plenty of yards per game. They also come up with big plays, and while there will be plenty of smoke from the Bulldogs, the Takeaway Tops will come up with a big play, and Reed and his offense will make them pay. This one should be a good one, but I have Western Kentucky -6.0 (-105) at FanDuel Sportsbook.
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