HOUSTON, Texas - Louisiana Tech introduced its own version of "Thunder and Lightning" Saturday night as freshmen running backs Tevin King and Kenneth Dixon scampered, plodded and plowed their way to more than 200 yards and four scores in their collegiate debuts as the Bulldogs downed Houston 56-49 at Robertson Stadium.
King - a speedster who showcased Barry Sanders-type moves - rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns while Dixon - a powerfully built battering ram - added 90 yards and one score in a game that lasted more than four hours and saw the two teams combine for almost 1,300 yards of total offense.
While King was electrifying the crowd with highlight reel touchdown runs of 13, 9 and 59 yards, Dixon was supplying the power which included a two-yard third quarter burst for a score.
Colby Cameron added three touchdown passes - a six-yard strike to Jon Greenwalt, an eight-yard toss to Hunter Lee and a 14-yard throw to RP Stuart - while adding 353 yards through the air as the Bulldogs scored the most points since totaling 63 in a win over Mississippi Valley State in the season opener in 2000.
After taking an early two touchdown lead, the Bulldogs saw Houston rally to cut the deficit to 21-20 at the half thanks to a pair of late scoring drives in the second quarter. However, Tech scored 21 third quarter points as Houston never got closer than two scores the rest of the way.
Tech defensive lineman Jon'al White recovered a fumble on UH's first possession of the game, King capped a three-play, 44-yard drive with a highlight reel 13-yard run. On the play, King took the handoff off the left side, was stopped cold at the 10-yard line and then spun inside and scampered untouched into the endzone.
On Tech next possession, King struck paydirt again, this time on a nine-yard run up the middle as Matt Nelson's extra point made the score 14-0 Bulldogs. The key play on the 5-play, 43-yard drive was a 24-yard hookup between Cameron and David Gru on third down and six.
After Hogan hit back-to-back field goals for Houston, Tech marched 66 yards on eight plays and scored on a six-yard strike from Cameron to Greenwalt in the back of the endzone as the Bulldogs took their biggest lead of the first half at 21-6 with 13:34 to play.
The Bulldogs appeared to have added another touchdown when Craig Johnson took a punt and raced 66-yards to paydirt. However, the play was brought back due to a block in the back penalty and the Bulldogs would come up empty on the possession.
Houston found the endzone for the first time in the game when Williams took a shovel pass and raced 32-yards around the right side untouched for a score. The play capped an impressive 81-yard drive.
Following a defensive stop by UH, the Cougars once again built on their momentum, driving 69 yards on eight plays and scoring on a Charles Sims two-yard run off right tackle with 53 second to play in the first half. Hogan's extra point closed the Bulldogs lead to 21-20 at the half.
Neither team was able to score on their first possession of the second half as Tech took over on the one with its back against its own goal line. After a pair of first downs, King took a handoff from Cameron, raced around the left side and bounced off multiple defenders as he raced 59 yards to give Tech a 28-20 lead with 10:40 to play in the third quarter.
Dixon added his first career score on a two-yard plunge with 8:21 to play in the third, capping an eight play, 58-yard drive as Tech led 35-20.
A 74-yard touchdown strike from David Piland to Daniel Spencer closed the gap to 35-27. Tech responded once again as Ray Holley scored the Bulldog's third touchdown of the quarter on a two-yard run as the Tech led 42-27 through three quarters.
Cameron tossed a pair of fourth quarter scores, an eight-yard strike to Lee and a 14-yard toss to Stuart as Tech appeared to have a comfortable 56-35 advantage.
However, Piland - who set the UH single game record with 77 pass attempts - threw two more late scores, including a 12-yard toss with 35 seconds to play forcing the Bulldogs to fend off an onside kick in the waning seconds.
Tech totaled 598 yards of total offense on 93 plays, including 353 yards through the air and 245 yards on the ground while Houston totaled 693 yards, including 580 through the air and 113 on the ground.
Defensively, Rufus Porter led Tech with a career-high 13 tackles while Jamel Johnson added 12 and Craig Johnson 10. IK Enemkpali added two sacks for minus 19 yards while White and Le'Vander Liggins each registered fumble recoveries.
Piland led Houston offensively, completing 53-of-77 passes for 580 yards and four touchdowns.
Tech returns to action Saturday when the Bulldogs host Rice at 6 p.m. at Joe Aillet Stadium in its annual Red Out game. For ticket information, call 318-257-3631 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.