Like FIU, Louisiana Tech is one of the youngest teams in the nation. The matchup of cats and dogs, Panthers and Bulldogs, is at 6 p.m. Saturday at FIU Stadium. You can watch and/or listen to the game on FIUSports.com and the FIU Sports Radio Network by CLICKING HERE. Join me and former FIU quarterback Dr. Paul McCall for the call of the game beginning at 5:55 p.m. McCall is about to earn his doctoral degree in engineering.
LA Tech has a couple of players that may be playing on Sundays real soon. Running back Kenneth Dixon, who is a load to bring down at 220 pounds, will force the FIU defense to gang tackle him. Senior defensive lineman IK Enemkpali, whose full name is Ikemefuna Chinedum Enemkpali, is a fast, hulking defender at 6-1, 272 pounds and leads the Bulldogs in virtually every defensive statistic.
For more on the Bulldogs here is their beat writer Sean Isabella from the Monroe News Star. If that paper sounds familiar, Tabby Soignier, who covered the ULM Warhawks was a regular on "5 Questions" on this blog over the past six years.
1. Is Kenneth Dixon usually the player opposing defenses focus on in stopping LA Tech? What makes him such a good running back?
SI: North Texas certainly did, and Louisiana Tech’s offense struggled. Dixon had his worst game of the season last week, totaling 34 total yards on 16 touches. As a team, Tech was limited to 37 rushing yards. As he goes, the offense goes. Dixon had an outstanding freshman campaign and he’s been leaned on even more heavily this season with a redshirt freshman under center. He’s not the fastest player, but he runs with aggression. He takes pride in running people over and it will take more than a shoulder to get him down.
2. What is going on with the Bulldogs quarterback situation? I noticed Scotty Young started the season as the No. 1 then got hurt and it's been Ryan Higgins since then. Is Higgins the new starter? Also is either quarterback a runner or are both pocket type passers?
SI: Yeah, I get asked this a lot. Young started the season, but injured his ribs in the third game. Higgins took over and has started four games since. He provides an added dimension with his legs, and Tech has run more read option with him in there. With the dual-threat ability comes more turnovers, though. His inexperience has showed, especially against North Texas when he was picked off twice on silly mistakes.
3. Outside of beating Lamar and UTEP, LA Tech has had trouble scoring points this season. The Bulldogs have averaged 13.6 points per game in their other five games. What has been the issue with the offense?
SI: Overall inconsistency. Tech regularly puts up 400 yards of total offense but never has the points to show for it. The Bulldogs are terribly inefficient in the red zone, converting just 20 of 27 opportunities, which is among the worst in the nation.
4. Should IK Enemkpali be the main focus for the FIU offensive line? Who are the other playmakers on defense for LA Tech?
SI: Enemkpali is certainly the leader. The line as a whole is the key of the defense with guys like Shakeil Lucas, Justin Ellis, Vernon Butler, Vontarrious Dora, to name a few. A name to watch in the middle is Texas Tech transfer Daniel Cobb, who seems to be all over the field. The defensive backfield is young and inexperienced, but Adairius Barnes has played well of late, and Tech also has a true freshman, Xavier Woods, who should be a good one.
5. How do you see Saturday's game playing out between FIU and LA Tech?
SI: If Tech can match the offensive production with points, I can see the Bulldogs playing like they did in a 38-35 win over UTEP. If not, the game will likely be in the high teens or low 20s, which benefits FIU.