Oct. 6, 2012
RUSTON - Kenneth Dixon rushed for four touchdowns and Louisiana Tech racked up more than 600 yards of total offense to lead the Bulldogs to a 58-31 win over UNLV before 21,850 fans at Joe Aillet Stadium Saturday night.
Dixon rushed for 106 yards and the four scores, Ray Holley added a career-high 140 yards on the ground and the Bulldogs improved to 5-0 on the season for the first time since 1975. Tech, which is the only remaining undefeated team in the state of Louisiana, also extended its regular season win streak to 12 games which is the longest in the country following losses earlier in the day by LSU and Georgia.
"It was a good, hard-fought win," said Tech head coach Sonny Dykes. "The players were a little frustrated in the locker room at halftime after we didn't get the field goal at the end of the first half. That was my fault. They went in frustrated, but that's the mark of a good team when you have a 10-point lead and still go in angry."
After leading by as many as 20 in the first half, Tech saw UNLV (1-5) close the gap to 27-24 on a 46-yard pass from Nick Sherry to Marcus Sullivan with 12:25 to play in the third quarter. However, the Bulldogs then reeled off 31 unanswered points behind the running of Dixon, who hit paydirt three times in the second half.
It marked the third straight game that the Bulldogs have reeled off at least 31 unanswered points, including wins over Illinois and Virginia.
Colby Cameron was solid under center, completing 31 of 45 passes for 316 yards and one touchdown while registering his fifth straight game without throwing an interception. Cameron has now thrown 12 touchdowns without a pick this season.
After a Matt Nelson 27-yard field goal gave Tech an early 3-0 lead, UNLV took their only lead of the contest as Sherry found Taylor Barnhill for a 33-yard scoring strike as the Rebels led with 9:42 to play in the first quarter.
Following a 33-yard field goal by Nelson, Tech scored its first touchdown on a six-yard pass from Cameron to Quinton Patton, who finished the game with nine receptions for 116 yards as the Bulldogs took a 13-7 lead with 2:48 to play in the opening quarter.
The Bulldogs special teams unit then came up big as Malon Lee blocked a punt and Tech took over on the UNLV nine-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Holley raced nine yards to the endzone as Tech upped the advantage to 20-7.
UNLV appeared ready to strike again when the Bulldog defense came up with a big stop on a fourth down and one play from the Tech two-yard line. Following the turnover on downs, Cameron hit Patton for a 55-yard gain on a post route that started a 10-play, 98-yard drive that ended with a Dixon one-yard TD run. Tech led 27-7.
However, the Rebels would score the final 10 points of the half as the two teams entered the locker room with the Bulldogs leading 27-17.
Following UNLV's touchdown drive to open the second half, Tech scored on five of its next seven possessions to pull away. Dixon started the assault with a 10-yard run with 10:42 to play and then added a 15-yard run late in the third quarter and a seven-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
"If you get a chance to make a play, you've got to make it," Dixon said. "Our offensive line did great. Words cannot express how good they are."
The Bulldogs final score was a 17-yard run by Hunter Lee with 2:42 to play, capping an eight-play, 55-yard drive that saw Lee haul the football on every play.
Tech registered 35 first downs in the game along with 622 yards (306 yards rushing, 316 yards passing) while UNLV recorded 23 first downs and 536 yards.
"We're banged up at linebacker but I'm proud of our young guys stepping up," Dykes said. "When someone goes down you have to have enough depth. I'm proud of the way Chip Hester played tonight. Ty Hook also saw his first major action."
Defensively, Antonio Mitchum led Tech with 10 tackles while Dave Clark and Chip Hester each added nine tackles. Jamel Johnson recorded five tackles and one interception while Andre Taylor registered a fumble recovery. The Bulldogs were plus two in turnover margin.
"We're not the kind of team that can look ahead to the next game," Dykes said. "We just have to keep improving every game. Next week won't define our program, but it will tell us where we stand right now."
The victory sets up a showdown next Saturday night against Texas A&M at Independence Stadium in Shreveport set for an 8:15 p.m. kickoff.