April 12, 2014
RUSTON, La. - The Blue Team will be singing the Car Wash Blues in the near future as the Manny Diaz-led Red Team topped Blue, 37-20, in the T-Day Spring Game in front of approximately 5,000 fans at Joe Aillet Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Losers of Louisiana Tech’s annual spring game, players on the Blue Team will be holding a car wash soon with all monies raised going towards a charity.
Paul Turner led the Red Team with 114 yards receiving and two touchdowns on five catches including a 70-yard pass from Ryan Higgins on the first play of the game. Higgins would finish the game 23-for-39 for 301 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions for the Red Team.
The Blue Team would respond with trickeration as Trent Taylor took the pitch and threw it to Sterling Griffin for a 27-yard touchdown pass to tie the game on the next possession. Taylor paced the Blue Team with 118 yards on 10 catches.
“Trent Taylor made some plays today and those are big plays,” Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz said of the perimeter plays Taylor and Turner made in the T-Day Spring Game. “Those have a chance to make a difference. Paul Turner breaks a tackle early in the scrimmage and goes 70 yards with it for a touchdown. Sanford Seay makes a great catch down in the end zone with some of those circus catch-type opportunities we have talked about [needing].”
The Red Team would retaliated with trickeration of its own as Conner Smith, a quarterback in high school, tossed a 37-yard touchdown pass to Turner and the Red Team would not relinquish the lead after that. Kyle Fischer would connect on three straight field goal attempts to finish the half, including 57-yard field goal with 3:30 remaining in the second quarter, as the Red Team took a 23-7 lead into halftime.
The most notable event of the day occurred at halftime as Louisiana Tech held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony for its South End Zone facility as part of the University’s Quest for Excellence campaign. The ceremony begins the construction process on a 70,000-plus-square-foot facility to be built in the South End Zone of Joe Aillet Stadium.
“I was really excited about the halftime ceremony, putting the shovel in the dirt and being able to make progress. I keep using the expression that building is a game changer. It changes the face of this program, it changes the commitment level and it speaks volumes for where this program is going right now.”
Coming out of halftime, the Red Team struck again with Sanford Seay catching a 33-yard touchdown pass from Higgins as Seay made a diving catch in the end zone.
The Blue Team regained some ground at the close of the third quarter as Scotty Young connected with Blake Meredith for an eight-yard touchdown pass as time in the quarter expired. Young was 19-for-34 for 197 yards and a touchdown with all three of his interceptions being picked off by Colby Brown.
D.J. St. Julien gave the Red Team a 37-14 lead with 8:47 remaining in the game off a 48-yard touchdown pass from Kamal Brown and the Blue Team would score once more as time in the game expired as Grant Childress caught a two-yard touchdown pass from Higgins, who swapped jerseys and finished the game for the Blue Team.
Diaz’ Red Team was also impressive defensively with seven tackles for a loss of 17 yards in a game where blitzing was not allowed. Bryson Abraham was solid in the secondary for the Blue Team with four pass break-ups, two of which almost went for interceptions. Tony Johnson and Xavier Woods were responsible for Higgins’ two picks.
“They have had an incredible spring,” Holtz said of a secondary that combined for five interceptions and 11 pass break-ups. “I think Le’Vander Liggins, Adairius Barnes, even Bryson Abraham – despite missing a tackle on that opening play – have had a great spring. Xavier Woods, Lloyd Grogan, Kentrell Brice and Thomas McDonald – those guys are all doing a really good job. That is seven guys giving you a two-deep for four positions and any one of them can play so we can keep fresh bodies in there. When you have that kind of depth, it allows you to do all kinds of different things. When you have the experience that group has, it is also giving us the chance to mix some things up and do some different things in coverages.”
Saturday’s T-Day Spring Game concluded spring practice for Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs will return to the fields in August for fall camp as LA Tech gears towards the opening of the 2014 season beginning Aug. 30 at Oklahoma.
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