Louisiana Tech Looks to Continue Streaks at Virginia
Sept. 27, 2012
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech fights for a chance to start a season 4-0 for the first time since 1975 as the Bulldogs (3-0) are tested by another BCS opponent when they take on Virginia (2-2) at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va. Saturday afternoon.
The game, set for a 2:30 p.m. CT start, will be broadcast on ESPN3 with John Sadak (play-by-play), John Gregory (analyst) and Angela Mallen (sidelines) calling the action.
LA Tech’s lightning quick offense – a unit that has scored seven touchdowns in one minute or less this season – has outscored opponents 56-13 in the first quarter while the Cavaliers have been outscored 35-7 in the first frame in their last three games.
The Bulldogs have made a habit of putting up gaudy offensive numbers through three games as they are the only team in the nation to have scored over 50 points in every game this season. Last week in a dominating win at Illinois Tech scored a season low 52 points and posted a season low 403 offensive yards.
Compare that to a UVa team that has lost four of its last five games against FBS competition by 19 points or more.
“They just have not gotten on track yet,” head coach Sonny Dykes said of the Cavaliers. “We just have to make sure they do not get on track against us because they are capable of being a very good offensive football team. They are big up front. They have two really good backs, and like I said, a lot of good wide receivers, so it is going to be a big challenge for us.”
“I think we want to make them [throw the football],” Dykes continued. “They are going to try to come at us I am sure and run over us. They are big and physical up front and we are going to need to be able to hold up in the run game. If we can, I think like anything else, they will throw the ball. That is probably the part of their offense that is not playing as well as they would like for it to. We need to force them to throw. That means we are stopping the run.”
Meanwhile Virginia coach Mike London understands the threat Tech’s offense poses and how to combat that.
“I don't know if you slow them down,” London said earlier this week. “They scored 50-something -- first two games - 56 points, last game - 52 points. They have given up some points, as well, so it's kind of been a back and forth, coming from the WAC conference, there's a lot of spread out, throw the ball all over the place. But the interesting thing about this team is they are like 22nd in the country in rushing, 22nd in passing. They are up there - obviously points scored. And so their balance is that they move the ball on the ground and in the air. So it's a style of offense that we have similarly played against.”
“I think we are going to have to score some points,” London continued. “We are going to have to hang on to the ball and put some drives together and with the style of offense, because they will run a ball, they will run a play and then they will throw deep, touchdown. You will see that -- you go back and look, there's probably been several times during the course of the season you look after three or four plays, touchdown, because that's what they do. It's up to us to stay on the field and limit that, and when we get the ball and score ourselves.”
Louisiana Tech’s “GATA” defense – a unit that has helped accumulate a plus-21 turnover margin in the team’s last 11 games – is hoping to jump on a team that is tied for 114th out of 120 FBS teams in turnover margin and is minus-seven on the year.
“We have always tried to emphasize taking care of the football on offense,” Dykes explained. “That comes with having some guys that have played a lot and having experience makes a difference with not turning the ball over. Colby (Cameron) has not thrown a pick all year. I think that is one thing he does a fantastic job of doing is not forcing balls. He always done that and I think that has been one of his strengths is taking care of the ball.”
“That is a huge thing in college football. When you are getting extra possessions because you are getting turnovers, it gives you extra opportunities to score, good field position and everything that goes along with that.”
That is also a Tech defense that is ranked 19th in the nation in sacks and 25th in the nation in tackles for a loss.
However that defense will face its greatest challenge to date in a Cavalier team that won eight games and went to bowl game last year.
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