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Texas Tech faces dangerous Louisiana Tech

Texas Tech wants to get back on the winning track but must contend with a Louisiana Tech opponent that will attack the Red Raiders in all phases.

The two square off at 6 pm. Sept. 17 on Fox Sports Net.

The Bulldogs (1-1) crushed South Carolina State 53-24 last week after losing to Arkansas 21-20 to begin 2016.

Louisiana Tech played two different quarterbacks the first two weeks of the season. J’mar Smith started against Arkansas in place of Ryan Higgins, who was suspended because of a DWI he received during the offseason.

Higgins, who was the starter in 2015, didn’t show any rust in completing 34 of 52 passes for 409 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Still, Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury was impressed with Smith.

“I like their young quarterback, a true freshman went in there and handled things very well,” he said. “I think that was the one thing that jumped out at me was for a young kid, how poised he was in that atmosphere.”

In addition, he noted how Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz, the son of legendary coach Lou Holtz, has instilled his brand of football on the program. Kingsbury said Holtz is unafraid of challenging his players by scheduling tough opponents. It’s paid off, he said, since Louisiana Tech has played in the Conference USA championship game.

“He’s developed a good culture there,” Kingsbury said. “Even when he was at Eastern Carolina, they played anybody anywhere. They’ve taken that same approach at Louisiana Tech, so they’ll come in here confident, they’ll come in here expecting to win the game. They’re a very good football team.”

Defensively, the Bulldogs simply have a nose for finding the ball, he said. They held opponents to a total of 590 yards in two games.

“They swarm to the football, they’ll change up the looks, pretty much week to week,” Kingsbury said. “They play hard, they’re aggressive, they’re well coached, don’t make many mistakes.”

The Red Raiders (1-1) are coming off a 68-55 loss to Arizona State. Kingsbury answered numerous questions about his defense and the issues that plague that unit.

“We’re disappointed with how we played defensively,” he said. “But I believe in those guys, I believe in (defensive coordinator David) Gibbs. I watched the film. There were times we were in position to make plays and didn’t make plays. We got to keep growing, keep getting better, and go from there. But there’s not anything that’s broke. But we can improve it, no question, but we got to get it going in the right direction.”

He said the key is being fundamentally better when making tackles.

“We got to find a way to get them on the ground better,” he said. “We got to get more people to the ball. We need more bodies to get those guys down.”

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