Post-Game Notes

Dec. 26, 2014

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DALLAS -

Louisiana Tech - 35, Illinois - 18

Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl

Dec. 26, 2014

Cotton Bowl Stadium

Dallas, Texas

 

 

POST-GAME NOTES

• Louisiana Tech defeated Illinois, 35-18, to claim the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl trophy in its seventh bowl game in the school's Division I history. LA Tech has now moved its all-time bowl record to an even .500 and is now 3-3-1 in bowl games. 

• LA Tech captains were Kenneth Dixon, Hunter Lee, Houston Bates and Mitch Villemez.

• Today's announced attendance: 31,297

• Louisiana Tech ends the season with a 9-5 overall record and 7-1 mark in Conference USA. The Bulldogs have recorded nine or more wins in a single season just six times since moving to Division I in 1975, while it is also the second time in the last three years LA Tech has recorded nine wins in a season.

• With a 35-18 victory over Illinois, LA Tech becomes the first Conference USA team to defeat a team from a Power 5 conference (Big Ten) this season. 

• LA Tech now leads the all-time series, 2-0, over Illinois after a bowl victory today, as well as a 52-24 victory in Champaign, Illinois in 2012.

• The Bulldogs are now an even .500 when playing in the state of Texas with LA Tech holding a 36-36-1 all-time record when playing in the Lone Star State.

• LA Tech now has a 16-3-1 overall record against teams from the state of Illinois, including a 2-0 mark against the Fighting Illini.

• Senior DE Houston Bates was named the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl Most Valuable Player after recording 5.5 tackles for loss, including 4.5 sacks for a loss of 32 yards.

• Louisiana Tech won the coin toss and elected to defer until the second half.

 

 

OFFENSE

Kenneth Dixon is now in sole possession of first place in LA Tech history with 53 career rushing touchdowns after a 2-yard rushing score with 6:15 remaining in the fourth quarter, which put LA Tech up 28-18 over Illinois. Dixon has rushed for at least one touchdown in 13 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the FBS.

Kenneth Dixon broke the Louisiana Tech record for career rushing yards (3,410 career rushing yards) with a 28-yard rush with over 8:00 remaining in the first quarter in the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl. He surpassed Daniel Porter's school record mark of 3,352 career rushing yards. 

Cody Sokol connected with Kenneth Dixon for an 80-yard touchdown reception with 3:28 left in the first quarter to put the Bulldogs up 14-3 over Illinois. It was Dixon's second touchdown catch of the season that went for 80 yards or more. The drive (1 play, 80 yards, 0:12 used) is the shortest scoring drive in Heart of Dallas Bowl history. It was also the longest single-play in LA Tech's bowl history.

• The 80-yard Sokol to Dixon TD pass ties for the fifth-longest college pass play in Cotton Bowl Stadium history. It was the first since Ramon Flanigan to Albert Johnson, SMU vs. New Mexico, 1996 - RS (covering 18 years).

With an 80-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter, Dixon has now scored in all 14 games LA Tech has played this season. He also became the first player in C-USA football history to score at least one touchdown in 14 games in one season.  

Dixon is tied for first all-time on LA Tech's career scoring list as the junior running back has scored 366 career points. He surpassed Matt Nelson for sole possession of first place with two touchdowns, one receiving and one rushing, against Illinois.

Jarred Craft rushed for his fourth touchdown of the season to open the scoring vs. Illinois with a 16-yard rushing score to put LA Tech up 7-0 over the Fighting Illini with 7:29 remaining in the first quarter. The Bulldogs are 5-3 this season when scoring first.

• With his 80-yard touchdown reception and a two-yard rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Kenneth Dixon now has the second-most touchdowns (28) in a season in Conference USA history.

Blake Martin scored his first touchdown of the season with a 28-yard rushing touchdown with 3:43 remaining in the game to give LA Tech a 35-18 lead over Illinois. It was Martin's longest rush of the season and his third career rushing touchdown.

• LA Tech QB Cody Sokol threw for 247 yards in a 14-for-28 effort with one touchdown, while Kenneth Dixon rushed for a team-high 63 yards on 13 attempts and a touchdown. Dixon also caught four passes for 79 receiving yards and a touchdown catch. 

Carlos Henderson led all LA Tech receivers with four catches for 93 yards, including a 70-yard reception. 

 

DEFENSE

Houston Bates was named the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas MVP after recording the most tackles for loss (5.5-35 yards) in Cotton Bowl Stadium history, including 4.5 sacks, which is the second-most sacks by a player in a college game in Cotton Bowl Stadium history. Bates' 4.5 sacks for a loss of 32 total yards is also a career-high mark for the senior defensive end, who now has 10.0 sacks this season for a loss of 79 total yards.

• By forcing two Illinois turnovers in the bowl victory today (one interception, one fumble recovery), Louisiana Tech finished the season ranked No. 1 in the nation in turnovers gained (42) with 16 fumble recoveries and 26 interceptions.

Xavier Woods returned an interception 69 yards for a LA Tech touchdown with 7:20 remaining in the second quarter to put the Bulldogs up 21-9 over Illinois. That is Woods' second interception returned for a touchdown this season and his sixth interception this season, making him the 11th player in C-USA history to have multiple interception returns for touchdowns in a season. Woods now has 230 interception return yards this season, which is second in the nation and a new LA Tech and C-USA record. His interception return is also the longest interception return in LA Tech bowl history.

After Xavier Woods' 69-yard interception returned for a touchdown, LA Tech has now scored 171 points off turnovers in 2014, a mark that currently leads the nation. The Bulldogs have also forced at least one interception in all but two games this season.

• LA Tech is now tied for sixth in the nation with five defensive touchdowns this season after Xavier Woods' 69-yard interception returned for a touchdown in the first half. 

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Wide receiver Paul Turner returned a punt for the first time in his career on Friday vs. Illinois and gained 11 yards on the play.

Gerald Shouse came in for LA Tech to punt in the second half and had a career-long 58-yard punt in his first attempt since Oct. 18 vs. UTSA. It is also the longest punt of the season by LA Tech punters.

 

BOWL NOTES

Cody Sokol connected with Kenneth Dixon for an 80-yard touchdown reception on the first play of LA Tech's scoring drive with 3:28 left in the first quarter to put the Bulldogs up 14-3 over Illinois. It was Dixon's second touchdown catch of the season that went for 80 yards or more. The drive (1 play, 80 yards, 0:12 used) is the shortest scoring drive in Heart of Dallas Bowl history. It was also the longest single-play in LA Tech's bowl history.

Xavier Woods returned an interception 69 yards for a LA Tech touchdown with 7:20 remaining in the second quarter to put the Bulldogs up 21-9 over Illinois. That is Woods' second interception returned for a touchdown this season and his sixth pick this season. Woods now has 230 interception return yards this season, which is second in the nation and a new school record. His interception return is also the longest interception return in LA Tech bowl history.

Houston Bates recorded the most tackles for loss (5.5-35 yards) in Cotton Bowl Stadium history, including 4.5 sacks, which is the second-most sacks by a player in a college game in Cotton Bowl Stadium history.

 


 

 

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