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Brenden Welper | NCAA.com | December 25, 2019

Louisiana Tech vs. Miami: Independence Bowl prediction, time, TV channel, preview

These are the must-watch bowl games (outside of CFP) in December

Louisiana Tech (9-3) will face the Miami (Fla.) (6-6) in the 2019 Independence Bowl. Find the game time, television info, preview and prediction below.

Louisiana Tech vs. Miami (Fla.): Independence Bowl time, TV channel

The 2019 Independence Bowl kicks off at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 26 at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. ESPN will have the television broadcast. 

Louisiana Tech vs. Miami (Fla.): Independence Bowl preview, prediction

The 2019 Independence Bowl will be the fifth all-time meeting between the Bulldogs and Hurricanes. Miami is undefeated in this series with a 4-0 record. In two of those victories, the Hurricanes shut out Louisiana Tech.

Miami's regular season ended the way it began: with back-to-back losses. But there were signs of growth for the Hurricanes under first-year head coach Manny Diaz.

The high point was, arguably, a 19-7 upset victory over then-No. 20 Virginia on Oct. 11. Those Cavaliers would eventually win the ACC's Coastal Division, which earned them a trip to the conference championship game. So the Hurricanes handed the ACC runner-up one of its two conference losses in 2019.

Miami's 52-27 win over Louisville on Nov. 9 made the program bowl eligible for the seventh straight year. This season in Coral Gables wasn't what some Hurricane fans expected, but the Hurricanes did just enough to receive a postseason invitation.

BOWL CENTRAL: Complete bowl schedule, TV listings

Louisiana Tech will make its fifth Independence Bowl appearance, which is tied with Ole Miss for the most all-time in the 43-year history of the game.

The Bulldogs opened the season with a dud, suffering a 45-14 drubbing at the hands of then-No. 10 Texas. They wouldn't lose again for another two and a half months. 

Louisiana Tech went on an eight-game winning streak following the loss in Austin. And despite dropping the final two road games against Marshall and UAB, the Bulldogs secured their fourth nine-win season under Skip Holtz thanks to a 41-27 triumph over UTSA on Nov. 30. 

Their last 10-win season came in 1984. A victory in the Independence Bowl would change that.

CONFERENCE COMPARISON: Tracking each conference through bowl season

While this game could turn into a shootout, the real matchup to watch is Louisiana Tech's offense against Miami's defense. 

Even after a rollercoaster year, the Hurricanes only gave up 20.8 points per game in 2019. That's not elite, but it's the 25th-best defense in all of FBS when it comes to opponents points per game.

Watch out for sophomore cornerback DJ Ivey, who has a team-high three interceptions on the year.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL 150: National championship history

On the flip side, the Bulldogs are averaging 34.0 points per contest. And their 46 offensive touchdowns have come from a balanced attack: 26 scores on the ground, 20 through the air. 

Junior running back Justin Henderson has ran for 15 touchdowns in 2019. That's tied for the 12th-most in the country. He's averaging 5.8 yards per carry, and finished just shy of a 1,000-yard regular season with 967.

Bulldogs' quarterback J'Mar Smith will face his biggest test of the year going against an ACC defense. He completed 65.8 percent of his passes, while throwing for 2,184 yards and 17 touchdowns. Smith was picked off 10 times in 2018. But he's only thrown four interceptions this season. 

Louisiana Tech vs. Miami (Fla.): Independence Bowl score prediction

The one consistency with the 2019 Miami Hurricanes has been their unpredictability. So there's no telling how they'll fare against a non-conference opponent in what is, essentially, a home game for Louisiana Tech. 

It's much more simple for the Bulldogs. Can they execute offensively, to the point where they won't have to rely on their defense? If so, they'll reach double-digit victories for the first time in 35 years.

Louisiana Tech 27, Miami 17

Louisiana Tech vs. Miami (Fla.): All-time series history

Date Location Winner Score
Sept. 18, 2004 Miami, Fla. Miami (Fla.) 48-0
Aug. 28, 2003 Shreveport, La. Miami (Fla.) 48-9
Oct. 28, 2000 Miami, Fla. Miami (Fla.) 42-31
Sept. 29, 1979 Miami, Fla. Miami (Fla.) 6-0

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