Higgins, Taylor Lead @LATechFB to Weather-Delayed Win
Sept. 11, 2016
RUSTON -- Louisiana Tech overcame a four-hour weather delay and Ryan Higgins passed for 409 yards and four touchdowns in his first start since 2013 to lead the Bulldogs to a 53-24 win over South Carolina State before just over 16,000 rain-soaked fans at Joe Aillet Stadium Saturday.
In a contest that was scheduled to start at 6 p.m., the Louisiana-based Bulldogs and the South Carolina-based Bulldogs didn't kick until 9:55 p.m. after lightning kept both teams in their respective locker rooms for over four hours.
Sloppy weather led to a sloppy first half by LA Tech, which committed four turnovers in the opening two quarters while committing five penalties, including one that took a touchdown off the board. Despite the turnovers, Tech led 19-10 at the break.
The second half was much crisper as Tech scored on its first four possessions after intermission and didn't commit a second half turnover.
"Much cleaner in the second half," said head coach Skip Holtz. "I mean, the first half, we had 355 yards of offense and had four turnovers; two of them were backed up that led to ten points for them. We put our defense in bad field position twice, and then two of them inside the 10 before the half and then the one fumble as we were going into the end zone.
"So it was a sloppy game, but we came back in the second half. I thought we cleaned some things up. We did a much better job of protecting the ball in the second half and we got an opportunity to play a lot of guys in this game which is always good. I mean, we got a chance to give some guys some valuable experience, some guys that are one play away from being starters."
Higgins completed 34-of-52 passes for 409 yards and four scores while senior wide receiver Trent Taylor caught 11 passes for 178 yards and three scores.
Louisiana Tech got on the board early when Ryan Higgins made his first start since 2013 and led the Bulldogs on a 9-play, 50-yard scoring drive that resulted in Jonathan Barnes connecting on a 47-yard field goal early in the first quarter.
A mishap by South Carolina State on the next possession allowed LA Tech to tack on two more points for a 5-0 lead after a safety when a bad snap resulted in quarterback Caleb York kicking the ball out of the end zone for a safety.
Higgins and Marcus Gaines connected on the next drive for LA Tech with a 24-yard touchdown pass to extend Tech's lead to 12-0 with over seven minutes still remaining in the first quarter.
"We thought that Louisiana Tech was a good bit better than the team we played against last week, and for us to have the success we had in some phases of the game I thought was better for us," said South Carolina State head coach Buddy Pough. "We are just trying to work our way through these first couple games, first three games actually right now to see if we can be the team that we want to be once we get to our league in about another two weeks. I've got to take my hat off to Skip and this crowd. That Higgins kid was pretty good."
After SCSU scored on a six-yard run early in the second quarter, Higgins connected on the first of three TD passes to Taylor, this one covering six yards and capping 11 play, 78-yard drive that took 4.:21 off the clock.
"I think Trent Taylor is outstanding," Holtz said. "He shows up each and every week. He had the one fumble on the punt return, but I thought he played a tremendous football game and I thought Jarred Craft showed up and did a lot of good things. There were a lot of positives in this game.
"I think Xavier Woods constantly is making his presence felt. And then it's always good to get guys like Ronald Lewis and Cyril both in the game tonight and let them play quite a bit at corner because they are two upper classmen that just lack experience."
Tech opened the third quarter with a Jonathan Barnes 27-yard field goal -- one of three on the night, along with a 45- and a 47-yard field goal.
Following a three-and-out by SCSU on its next possession, Higgins found Taylor again for a 21-yard TD as the lead increased to 29-10 with 10:51 to play in the third quarter. Just over two minutes later, Higgins found Taylor on an inside screen for a 35-yard scoring strike.
The Bulldogs reserves surrendered a pair of late passing TDs to SCSU.
Offensively, Tech amassed 727 yards of total offense, including 518 yards through the air. SCSU gained only 293 yards of offense on 70 plays, much of it coming against the second and third team defense.
The Bulldogs travel to Lubbock, Texas, next weekend to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Football, please follow Louisiana Tech on social media at @LATechFB (Twitter), /LATechFootball (Facebook) and @LATechFB (Instagram) or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.
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