Bulldogs host Panthers in Week Zero match-up

The Louisiana Tech football team opens its 121st season of play this Saturday by hosting FIU for an 8 p.m. Conference USA clash inside Joe Aillet Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.

The contest can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on 107.5 FM and via the LA Tech Athletics app with Malcolm Butler (PxP), Teddy Allen (color) and Jerry Byrd (sideline) providing a call of the action.

The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 4-1 although FIU won in double overtime in Miami last season.

Tech enters the 2023 season with a revamped roster as head coach Sonny Cumbie, and staff welcomed 65 newcomers, including 31 transfers in the offseason to complement their 48 returnees. LA Tech returns 13 total starters, including seven offensive, four defensive, and two special teams starters.

Quarterback Hank Bachmeier will make his Louisiana Tech debut on Saturday after transferring from Boise State, where he threw for 6,605 yards and 41 touchdowns during his four seasons as a Bronco. Bachmeier’s career average of 227.8 passing yards a contest ranks 14th nationally and leads all CUSA quarterbacks.

Experience will be a strength on the offensive line as the LA Tech line has a combined 228 career games played entering the season, which leads Conference USA and ranks sixth nationally among all FBS programs. The Bulldogs return a combined 34 starts from a year ago. Abraham Delfin is the group’s most experienced member. The seventh-year senior has appeared in 51 games and recorded 25 career starts.

Defensively, Louisiana Tech is projected to start seven returnees and four transfers. Linebacker Hugh Davis returns after leading the Bulldogs with 79 total tackles a year ago. Davis led the team in single-game tackles twice last year and started all 12 games.

Preseason Jim Thorpe Award Watch List selection Willie Roberts will be one of the leaders of the LA Tech secondary. Roberts made 11 starts a year ago while leading the Bulldogs and ranking 22nd nationally with four interceptions.

FIU is coming off a 4-8 campaign that featured a 2-6 mark in CUSA play during head coach Mike MacIntyre’s inaugural season in 2022. The Panthers return 15 starters from last season’s squad, with six offensive, five defensive, and four special teams starters returning in 2023. FIU has 57 lettermen returning and 55 newcomers (32 freshmen, 23 transfers).