By Malcolm Butler
Louisiana Tech opens the home portion of its 2022 schedule tonight when the Bulldogs hosts Stephen F. Austin.
Kickoff for Joe Aillet Stadium is set for 6 p.m. The game can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network with the pregame show starting at 4:30 p.m. and Malcolm Butler, Teddy Allen and Jerry Byrd providing the call of the game.
Tech leads the all-time series against Stephen F. Austin 4-1 with the Lumberjacks prevailing 34-31 in overtime in the last meeting in 2000.
The Bulldogs starting two cornerbacks played at SFA last year, making an intriguing story line in the game. Both Willie Roberts and Myles Brooks wore the purple and grey as Lumberjacks until transferring to Tech during this past off-season.
“It’s a very interesting match-up, and I think that sums up the epitome of what college football and roster management has done to the game and how it’s changed,” said Tech head coach Sonny Cumbie. “You didn’t used to see this very often. Last week it was interesting to see Jack Abraham play for Louisiana Tech and then played against Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss, at Mississippi State, and now at Missouri. I think that set some sort of transfer roster management record in terms of that.
“With Willie and Myles they are very both excited to compete against some really good receivers from Stephen F Austin. Xavier Gibson is one of the best receivers we will see all season long.”
Tech defensive coordinator Scott Power, defensive backs coach Marcus Walker and offensive line coach Nathan Young were also on the SFA staff last year until being hired away by Cumbie.
“Some of our coaches know the SFA players very well. The staff on the offensive side of the ball at SFA knows Coach Power and his staff well. They got used to going against each other for three years. At the end of the day all those things create a great storyline.
“They create some sense of emotion. But once you settle into the game and play the game, that’s when execution has to take over on both sides of the ball. None of those coaches are going to play any snaps in this game.”
SFA (1-1) opened the season with a 42-17 loss to Jacksonville State and then rallied last weekend to defeat former Tech signal caller Aaron Allen and Alcorn State 31-27 in Lorman, Mississippi.
Cumbie was highly complimentary of the SFA offense, especially QB Trae Self.
“They are explosive,” said Cumbie. “They have a quarterback who’s played a lot of football. He’s played in a lot of games and he’s a competitor. You would classify him as a gamer. He’s elusive and he keeps plays alive with his feet. He keeps his eyes down the field and he’s able to find the open receiver. A lot of their players are the same guys that we played against at Texas Tech last year. And that game came down to a fourth down stop in the fourth quarter when they were driving to take the lead. They are a football team that has a lot of experience.”
Offensively, Cumbie said the Bulldogs will have to do a good job up front protecting the quarterback.
“I think their defensive ends set the tone for them up front,” said Cumbie. “They have some guys that can really get after the passer. A lot of those guys played against Texas Tech last year and we competed against them. Their linebackers and safeties are all back. They have some guys that can really run. Their talent on that side of the football is very good.”