Sept. 15, 2012
RUSTON - With its 56-37 win over Rice Saturday night at Joe Aillet Stadium, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs accomplished something that hadn't been done in Ruston in more than 100 years.
For the first time since the 1910 season, LA Tech (2-0) scored 50 or more points in back-to-back games in the same season and the Bulldogs did it in impressive fashion.
When senior quarterback Colby Cameron wasn't torching the Owls secondary for 276 yards and four touchdowns, Tech's freshman tandem of Tevin King and Kenneth Dixon combined to rush for 317 yards and three more scores.
It was a complete effort by the LA Tech offense which amassed 609 yards on 72 offensive plays while recording 30 first downs - the second straight game of 30 or more first downs.
"It was a great crowd out there tonight," said Tech head coach Sonny Dykes, who saw 23,228 red-clad Bulldog fans in the stands. "It's our job to give them a quality product and keep them coming back. We had some chances early to pull away. That was a little disappointing in the first half. We didn't score as many points in the second half, but our play was better and cleaner."
Tech opened the onslaught by scoring the first 21 points of the game as the Bulldogs built an early first quarter lead. Tech struck early when Cameron connected with Quinton Patton for a 65-yard touchdown on only the second offensive play for Tech.
"That is a lot of what they do," said Rice coach David Baliff. "It is a very frustrating offense. We worked on that all week with the tempo. Louisiana Tech gets in your head with the deep ball and then they attack the perimeters when your safeties are backed up a little bit."
Cameron tossed two more first quarter touchdowns - a 14-yard pass to Hunter Lee and a 16-yard hookup with Myles White - as the Bulldogs defense held Rice scoreless in the opening quarter. The final score of the quarter was set up when Dave Clark recovered a fumble by Rice running back Charles Ross.
The Owls came to life in the second quarter, scoring 17 points while Tech put two more touchdowns on the board as Dixon scored on runs of one and eight yards. The Bulldogs took a 35-17 lead into the halftime locker room.
Both teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter as Tech struck first with a Cameron 11-yard toss to Patton with 11:56 to play in the frame gave the Bulldogs a 42-17 lead. Patton ended the night with seven receptions for 119 yards and two scores, one week after having a subpar game in the win over Houston.
"I got back to the basics," Patton said. "I got a little complacent, so I had a heart-to-heart with my position coach and got back in the right frame of mind. It's Louisiana Tech football. There's no quitting for sure."
Rice came right back and scored on a 13-yard run by Taylor McHargue as the Bulldogs led 42-23 through three quarters.
Dixon added a nine-yard run early in the fourth quarter while Hunter Lee hit paydirt from six yards out to cap the scoring for the Bulldogs.
Although King didn't find the end zone for Tech, he did rush 22 times for 204 yards - averaging 9.3 yards per carry. Dixon added 14 carries for 113 yards and three scores.
"Being so young, you expect young guys to be young, but they don't act young," said Cameron. "Each week they've matured, and they've done an awesome job the last two games. It helps us so much to balance the attack. It's great having them."
McHargue led Rice, passing for 205 yards and two touchdowns and adding another 93 yards rushing and three more scores. Ross set a career-high for the Owls with 116 yards on the ground while adding a receiving touchdown.
"Because of the nature of our offense, our defense is going to have to play a lot of plays," said Dykes, who saw his team surrender 477 yards. "We need more stops on defense. We need to get better on third down defensively."
Tech returns to action Saturday when the Bulldogs travel to face Illinois at 7 p.m. CT.