Win the Turnover Battle: One-fourth of the way through the season and not much has changed on this list. Louisiana Tech is minus three in the turnover category through three games. Thankfully the ‘Dogs have been able to overcome the turnovers for the most part which has led to a 2-1 overall record. As the Bulldogs travel up to Columbia, South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks this weekend, they will be facing an opportunistic defense. The Gamecocks hold a plus four turnover margin against their opponents that includes recovering four fumbles. Tech will need to WIN the turnover battle this weekend in order to pull the minor upset.
Stop the Run: Last week on the road, Louisiana Tech was facing a Western Kentucky squad that had struggled to run the football. The Hilltoppers came out with a clear intention to use the ground game throughout the night. The defense was not spectacular, but held the ‘Toppers to a modest 3.7 yards per carry. Fast forward to this weekend, South Carolina will be looking to do much of the same. The Gamecocks are running for 86 yards per game with their leading rusher, Rico Dowdle, only totaling 98 yards. The Tech defensive line will be in for another challenge Saturday afternoon inside Williams Brice Stadium.
Flawless Special Teams: Special teams can play such a pivotal role in most games but will be especially important this weekend. Jonathan Barnes is coming off a game winning 21-yard field goal against Western Kentucky and is 6-7 early on in 2017. Looking at the opposite sideline, South Carolina has struggled to the tune of 1-5 on field goals. The edge favors the ‘Dogs in this category. Deebo Samuel, South Carolina’s most explosive playmaker will miss Saturday’s game after suffering a broken ankle against Kentucky this past weekend. Samuel has two kickoff return touchdowns in two opportunities. Running back A.J. Turner is expected to take over the kick return duties, and it will be essential that Tech holds him in check. Field goal kicking and kickoff coverage are two areas where Tech will need to be near perfect this weekend.