Nov. 25, 2012
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Louisiana Tech committed three second half turnovers and its defense struggled all night long as San Jose State handed the Bulldogs a 52-43 loss Saturday night at Spartan Stadium.
Tech (9-3, 4-2 WAC) held a 30-24 lead early in the third quarter, but San Jose State (10-2, 5-1 WAC) used a strong running game, a potent passing attack and key defensive stops to pull away for the victory.
"It certainly wasn't our best effort," said Tech head coach Sonny Dykes. "I didn't think we played well. I'm disappointed. I guess we didn't have them ready to go. We made too many mistakes on offense, but we can't put that type of pressure week in and week out on our offense. As we move forward (looking at the bowl), we have to do a better job of getting our players ready to play."
San Jose State running back De'le Eskridge rushed for a career-high 217 yards and three touchdowns as the Spartans averaged almost six yards per carry on the night.
"They ran it better than we anticipated," Dykes said. "They creased us on a couple of big runs. Their offensive line was a lot more physical than our defensive line and their defensive line was more physical than our o-line. I thought that was the difference."
Tech, which entered the game ranked in the Top 15 in the country in rushing offense, totaled just 58 yards on the ground on 22 carries.
"They whipped us up front," Dykes said. "We came out in the second half and made a few adjustments and ran the ball a little better early, but we had trouble running consistently. We had to score and keep scoring, and we didn't execute well enough. We have to get more stops on defense. I'm really disappointed we didn't play better."
San Jose State took an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter before Tech struck on an eight-yard touchdown run by Kenneth Dixon with 2:38 to play in the stanza. The score capped a five-play, 51-yard drive. Matt Nelson's extra point was no good as the Spartans led 10-6.
After SJSU quarterback David Fales hit Ryan Otten for an 18-yard TD to up the advantage to 17-6 in the second quarter, the Bulldogs pulled a trick out of the bag as David Gru hit Malon Lee on a 22-yard TD shovel pass on a fake field goal, cutting the deficit to 17-13.
Eskridge scored the first of his three touchdowns with 4:56 to play before the half as the Spartans once again built an 11-point lead at 24-13. However, Tech struck twice before the end of the quarter as Colby Cameron hit Quinton Patton on a 52-yard TD toss and then Cameron scored on a one-yard QB sneak with only 26 seconds remaining as Tech took a 27-24 lead into the locker room.
After a Nelson 29-yard field goal opened the scoring in the third quarter, San Jose State retook the lead on a four-yard run by Ina Liaina with 8:16 to play in the stanza as SJSU led 31-30. The Bulldogs answered on its ensuing possession as Cameron hit Myles White for a 33-yard strike as White made an acrobatic catch over the SJSU defender in the endzone for a 37-31 advantage.
However, Tech would be outscored 21-6 over the final 20 minutes of playing time as Eskridge scored on runs of 32 and 1 yards and Fales hit Jabari Carr on a 26-yard scoring toss. Cameron's third TD toss of the game - a 10-yard strike to Patton - was Tech's only score of the fourth quarter.
"I just didn't feel like we played well tonight," Dykes said. "I anticipated us coming here and playing well. Give San Jose State credit. They executed on both sides of the football."
Cameron completed 38-of-59 passes for a career-high 468 yards and three touchdowns but threw three interceptions in the game. Patton caught 10 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns while White added seven receptions for 126 yards and one score.
Dixon, who entered the game as the nation's leading scorer, rushed eight times for 33 yards and one TD.
Fales completed 25-of-37 yards for 367 yards and three touchdowns as the Bulldog defense intercepted him once in the game with Levander Liggins registering his first collegiate interception.
Tech will now wait to find out its bowl destination later this week.