Bulldogs Stifle Roadrunners, Become Bowl Eligible
Nov. 25, 2017
RUSTON, La. - In order to get win No. 6 on the season to become bowl eligible, Louisiana Tech turned to No. 6 Boston Scott, who put the Bulldogs on his back on Senior Night, rushing for a career-high 138 yards and a touchdown in LA Tech’s 20-6 victory over UTSA on Saturday night at Joe Aillet Stadium.
The victory marked Louisiana Tech’s fourth straight over UTSA as the Bulldogs improved to 6-6 overall on the season and 4-4 in Conference USA play. LA Tech becomes the 10th team in Conference USA to reach bowl eligibility, while the Bulldogs are now bowl eligible for the fourth straight season following Saturday night’s victory.
“I really want to see these seniors have an opportunity to go enjoy a bowl game,” head coach Skip Holtz said. “They have worked extremely hard. They have put a lot of time, effort and energy into this program and be a great way to say thank you. But it's Thanksgiving weekend, there's so much to be grateful for, so much to be thankful for and I'm excited to have the opportunity to work with these guys.”
The Bulldog defense turned in a stellar performance on Saturday night, holding UTSA to a season-low six points and 201 total yards of offense (91 pass, 110 rush), while forcing two turnovers in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. The Roadrunners were held to 50 percent in the red zone with two field goals.
“Defensively, oh my gosh, what an incredible effort,” Holtz said. “They got down in there on that goal line and they wouldn't give in. They just kept banging that rock and really proud of them. (Amik) Robertson came up with a huge interception down there after the one turnover but, defensively, it was our best effort of the year. I mean, statistically, just the togetherness, the energy, the way everybody was into it.
“I thought the offensive line did a great job with the running game. They changed some things after the first couple series and made a couple little adjustments but I thought the way Boston Scott ran, tough little son of a gun. He just keeps competing and really proud of what he was able to do tonight on the offensive line. But like I said, I thought the defense was the real hero of this game the way the defense stood up on these goal line stands was huge.”
Louisiana Tech entered the fourth quarter with a 10-point lead, but a UTSA field goal made it a one-possession game with just over 12 minutes to play.
Jaqwis Dancy returned the ensuing kickoff 53 yards into UTSA territory, but LA Tech could not make anything of the good field position and was forced to punt it back to the Roadrunners. Despite the defense forcing a punt on UTSA’s next drive, Teddy Veal muffed the return, allowing the Roadrunners to regain possession deep inside Bulldog territory at the 15-yard line.
From there, momentum began to swing in favor of the Bulldogs.
On the first play of the its next drive, UTSA quarterback Dalton Sturm’s pass into the end zone was picked off by LA Tech cornerback Amik Robertson for the true freshman’s fourth interception of his rookie season with seven minutes to play.
Needing to drain the clock, the Bulldogs turned to No. 6 once again to close things out. Scott ran the ball six times during the next offensive possession and ate up nearly five minutes off the game clock on his way to a 35-yard rushing touchdown to make it a 20-6 lead for Louisiana Tech.
The momentum continued to favor Louisiana Tech after UTSA took back over with 2:23 left on the clock only for the Bulldog defense to create its second turnover of the night, this one an interception by Darryl Lewis that allowed LA Tech to run out the clock and earn its sixth win of the season.
Defensively, Louisiana Tech was led by senior Russell Farris, who registered a career-high 13 total tackles (5 solo, 8 assists), including two tackles for loss. Jaylon Ferguson had five tackles on the night, three of which went for a loss, including 1.5 sacks on the night.
In addition to Scott’s career night, receiver Rhashid Bonnette had four catches for 64 yards. Overall, LA Tech struggled to make much happen in the passing game as quarterback J’Mar Smith was 7-of-21 for 101 yards, including 18 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Midway through the first quarter of play, Louisiana Tech’s defense forced an early punt on UTSA’s opening drive of the game, while the Bulldog offense followed that up by driving 80 yards down the field with the help of three penalties by the Roadrunners to take a 7-0 lead on J’Mar Smith’s one-yard quarterback keeper. Jonathan Barnes connected on a 26-yard field goal with 36 seconds left in the first half gave the Bulldogs a 10-0 advantage at the break.
For the second straight game, the Bulldog defense stood tall in the first half and recorded a shutout in the first half of the game, but the strong play continued early in the third quarter. Despite LA Tech throwing an interception on the first drive of the third quarter that gave UTSA the ball inside the red zone, the Bulldog defense held the Roadrunners to a field goal to make it a 10-3 lead for Tech.
On LA Tech’s next possession, Barnes saved a drive by drilling a season-long field goal of 53 yards, one shy of his career long, to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to 10 midway through the third quarter of play.
The Bulldogs will now await next week’s bowl announcement to find out their fate.
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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