Bulldogs Comeback Falls Just Short

Oct. 24, 2009

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LOGAN, Utah - Louisiana Tech's road struggles continued Saturday afternoon as Utah State downed the Bulldogs 23-21 at Romney Stadium.

Tech (3-4, 2-2 WAC) fell for the fourth time in four road games this season although unlike the first three road losses, this game came down to the final possession.

Trailing 23-7 after three quarter, the Bulldogs scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to make it a one possession game.

Trailing 23-21 with 4:01 to play, the Bulldogs took over possession on its own 16-yard line following a Utah State punt. After two first downs moved the football to the Tech 45-yard line, Tech found itself looking at a third down and nine when Jenkins hit a wide open Dustin Mitchell on an out route.

However, after making the catch, Mitchell tripped and fell to the turf at midfield, setting up a fourth down and five play. Jenkins dropped back and under the Aggies all out blitz, fired a pass downfield that was off the fingertips of intended receiver Adrian Linwood as Utah State took over and ran out the clock.

After a scoreless first quarter, Utah State struck first with 13:31 to play in the second quarter when Diondre Borel found a wide open Stanley Morrison for a 41-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline, giving the Aggies a 7-0 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, freshman Lyle Fitte fumbled and Utah State recovered on the Bulldog 30-yard line. Seven plays later, Chris Ulinski nailed a 28-yard field goal to up the Utah State advantage to 10-0 with 11:00 to play in the quarter.

However, on the ensuing kickoff, Phillip Livas fielded the ball five yards deep in the endzone, headed straight up field, broke the initial line of Utah State defenders cut back towards the middle of the field and outraced four Aggie defenders for a 100-yard touchdown return. Matt Nelson's extra point made the score 10-7 Utah State.

The 100-yard return tied the school record with five other Bulldog players, the last being Patrick Jackson against Fresno State in 2006. It was also Livas' sixth return (3 kickoffs, 3 punts) for a touchdown in his career, breaking the old record of five set by Larry Anderson in the 1970s.

It didn't take Utah State long to answer as the Aggies drove 80 yards on six plays and scored on a 44-yard run by Dervin Speight with 8:16 to play in the second quarter, giving the Aggies a 17-7 lead. On the play, Speights took the handoff, broke through the line of scrimmage and went untouched to the endzone.

The Bulldogs had an opportunity with under two minutes remaining in the half as tight end Dennis Morris was running open down the middle of the field but Jenkins underthrew him and Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner made an acrobatic one-handed interception.

The turnover led to a 27-yard field goal by Ulinski with 0:17 to play in the half as the Aggies led 20-7 at the break.

Utah State dominance in the opening 30 minutes was evidenced on the stat sheet as the Aggies totaled 10 first downs to Tech's 2 and outgained the Bulldogs 245-66.

After a third field goal by Ulinski - the lone scoring by either team in the third quarter - the Bulldogs offense finally found the end zone on some trickery as Jenkins hit RP Stuart on a 26-yard scoring toss off a flea-flicker with 10:39 to play in the final quarter. The touchdown capped an eight-play, 66-yard drive that took 3:37 off the clock.

It was Stuart's first touchdown reception on the season.

The Bulldog defense stiffened forcing a three and out on the next Utah State possession as Tech's offense took over on its own 30-yard line.

After an 11-yard run by Porter, Jenkins hit Roosevelt Falls on a swing pass in the flat and Falls rumbled 29-yards thanks to a mammoth block by Dennis Morris as Tech had first and 10 on the Aggies 30-yard line.

After two more first downs, Tech had a first and goal on the USU nine-yard line. On first down Jenkins was sacked and after an incomplete pass on second down, the Bulldogs faced a third and goal from the Aggies 20-yard line. Jenkins then hit a wide open Dennis Morris down the right hash mark for the score, closing the gap to 23-21 with 6:15 to play.

On the tying two-point conversion attempt, Jenkins overthrew Stuart in the back of the endzone as the Aggies held onto a two-point lead, setting up the final few minutes of the game.

Jenkins ended the game completing 17-of-26 passes for 155 yards with two scores and one interception, although 121 of the yards came in the final quarter when the Bulldogs scored two touchdowns to make a game of it.

After being outgained 329 to 108 through the first three quarters, Tech outgained Utah State 164-16 in the fourth and final quarter.

Stuart (3-45-1 TD) and Cruz Williams (3-31) led all Tech receivers while Daniel Porter led the Bulldog rushing attack with 68 yards on 18 carries.

Jay Dudley posted a career day for Tech, recording 15 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack while Adrien Cole added 12 tackles and one TFL.

Tech returns to the field Saturday when it travels to Moscow to face Idaho at 4 p.m.

 

 

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