Battle of the Canines Saturday in Starkville

Who: Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State

Where: Davis Wade Stadium (Starkville, Miss.)

When: 3 p.m. Saturday

TV: ESPNU w/ John Schriffen (PxP), Rene Ingoglia (Color)

Radio: KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston), KDBS 1410 AM (Alexandria), KDBS 94.7 FM (Alexandria), WUBR 910 AM (Baton Rouge), KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield), KZBL 100.7 FM (Natchitoches), KOKA 980 AM (Shreveport), KOKA 93.3 FM (Shreveport), KNCB 1320 AM (Vivian), KNCB 104.1 FM (Vivian), KVCL 92.1 FM (Winnfield)

Radio Talent: Malcolm Butler (PxP) and Teddy Allen (Color) w/ pregame at 1:30 p.m.


It will be a battle of the canines Saturday afternoon when Louisiana Tech opens its 2021 season on the road in Starkville against Mississippi State.

The Bulldogs and the Bulldogs will face off for the 15th time in the history of the series, including the fifth time as the season opener for Tech. MSU leads the series 11-3.

Despite the Mississippi-based Dogs coming off a 4-7 record in the inaugural year under coach Mike Leach, Tech head coach Skip Holtz knows that this season’s version of the SEC foe will most likely be vastly improved.

“I have great respect for Coach Leach,” said Holtz. “I have known him for a long time. Followed him for a long time. Studied his offense for a long time. He does a great job. Last year they were 4-7 but had no spring ball and very little fall camp. We all fought the same problems. I was in year eight going through it, and I know how hard it was. He was only in year one.”

Leach-coached teams have historically aired it out, and Tech’s defense will be in for an early season test. Much like Louisiana Tech, one of the big battles in fall camp for State has been at quarterback where it appears Will Rogers has earned the start Saturday.

Rogers saw action in nine games last year, passing for 1976 yards and 11 scores.

“They are very experienced,” said Holtz. “They are very explosive. They have a quarterback coming back who started the second half of the year. Both of their running backs are back. One running back was their leading receiver.

“They have three receivers back that are very, very talented. Their left tackle … their center … all experienced. I mean it is an explosive offense. They have a huge nucleus returning for them. I think you are going to see a much different team than you saw a year ago.”

Louisiana Tech will go with Austin Kendall at quarterback. The West Virginia transfer will make his first appearance for the Bulldogs after enrolling in late July.

Tech is coming off a 5-5 campaign that saw the program earn its seventh straight bowl appearance last December. Due to 20 DI transfers on this year’s roster, Holtz believes this year’s group is one of the most experienced depth-wise in his time in Ruston.

Leach agrees.

“(LA Tech is) a good team,” said Leach. “I think they are good. I think they got some size up front. They have a lot of guys back. They are kind of an upperclassman team, and we are a lowerclassman team. I think they have quite a lot of experience, good speeds on some positions, good size on others.”

Photo:  Donny Crowe (LA Tech Athletic Communications)






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