Junior running back Ryan Moats ran for 236 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Louisiana Tech University Bulldogs past the No. 17 Fresno State University Bulldogs in a thrilling 28-21 upset at Joe Aillet Stadium on Saturday night.
In a contest between two teams nicknamed Bulldogs and billed the “Battle of the Bone,” Tech proved its grit and ability to play with the nation’s best, as Fresno State was the first Top 25 team to visit Ruston and only Tech’s second Top 25 victim in school history.
Fresno State jumped on top of Tech quickly in the first quarter when Paul Pinegar floated a four-yard touchdown pass to Robbie Dubois to open the game 7-0. Brett Visintainer added two field goals to bump the score to 13-0 with 5:31 remaining in the first half, before Tech’s offense starting rolling.
Moats sparked Tech with a six-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and ignited the entire stadium with an 83-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to give Tech a 14-13 lead heading into the final stanza.
Wendell Mathis, who led Fresno State with 191 yards on 28 carries, scored with 13:14 in the fourth quarter. Needing a two-point conversion, Pinegar hit Jermaine Jamison to make the score 21-14 in favor of the visiting Bulldogs.
Tech’s offense again met the challenge as Moats delivered one-yard touchdown on the ensuing, but kicker Brad Oestriecher’s point after was blocked, leaving Tech down 21-20.
After Tech’s defense had allowed 130 yards and eight first downs in the first quarter, it shut down Pinegar and Fresno State’s offense for the remainder of the contest. Fresno State looked to jump back on top of Tech, when it started a potential game-clinching drive at the 5:42 mark.
Tech’s Byron Santiago made the play of his career when he picked off a Pinegar pass and returned it 16 yards to the Fresno State 16-yard line. Back to back eight-yard runs by Moats scored another Tech touchdown, and Kubik hit Eric Newman for the two-point conversion to give Tech a 28-21 lead with 3:20 remaining in the game.
Fresno State then took over and marched down the field all the way to the Tech 30-yard line before Tech forced Fresno State into a 4th and eight to go with 1:19 left.
After a Fresno State timeout and Tech needing a stop to clinch the win, Pinegar rushed for ten yards and gained a first down at the Tech 20-yard line.
Fresno State looked to be in full control to tie the game with a touchdown, but Tech’s cornerback Tramon Williams stepped in front of a Pinegar swing pass and set stone to Tech’s upset with an interception.
Kubik started at quarterback for Tech and completed 15 of 22 passes for 158 yards.
Pinegar finished with 13 completions in 28 pass attempts for 104 yards and one touchdown. However, most of Fresno State’s offensive attack came on the ground as Mathis led Fresno State with 194 yards, followed by Bryson Sumlin’s 57 yards on 11 carries.
Tech’s offense produced 402 yards, while the defense allowed only 373 yards of total offense.
Louisiana Tech will be back in action on Oct. 9 with its fourth straight game against a Top 20 opponent as the Bulldogs play at Auburn in a 2:30 p.m.
Louisiana Tech vs. Fresno State Game Notes
Oct. 2, 2004 Joe Aillet Stadium
" Captains for today's game are Chris Van Hoy (96), Jemelle Cage (99), Erick Franklin (19) and Travon Brown (45).
" Sophomore linebacker Gregory Hollins made his first career start today at WILL linebacker. Hollins has seen action in a reserve role in all four previous games for the Bulldogs this year.
" Jemelle Cage blocked a 20-yard field goal attempt by Fresno State's Brett Visintainer early in the second quarter. It was the first blocked kick of the year for Louisiana Tech and the first of Cage's career.
" Ryan Moats scored his sixth rushing touchdown of the season with 2:31 remaining in the second quarter on a six yard dash up the middle, capping an 89-yard drive (the longest yardage wise of the season for Tech).
" With a 10-yard run at the 13:47 mark of the third quarter, Ryan Moats moved past Joe Smith (2,090) for ninth place in the Tech record books for career rushing yards. Moats later moved past Arry Moody (2,135) for eighth place with an 83-yard run at the 1:18 mark of the third quarter.
" Ryan Moats' 83-yard touchdown run with 1:18 remaining in the third quarter was the third longest in school history (Gerald Lawrence 88 yards vs. So. Illinois, 1988; Bobby Ray Tell 84 yards vs. UL-Lafayette, 1999).
" With a nine-yard rush at the 4:41 mark of the third quarter, Ryan Moats surpassed the 100-yard mark in the game. Moats now has nine career 100-plus yard performances, tying him with Joe Smith and Charles McDaniel for fourth place in the Tech record books.
" With an eight-yard rush at the 12:15 mark of the fourth quarter, Ryan Moats surpassed the 200-yard mark for the fifth time in his career, a Louisiana Tech record. Jason Cooper and Jason Davis are second on this list with three 200-plus yard performances each.
" Ryan Moats finished the night with 236 yards rushing and four touchdowns. The 236 yards ranks No. 7 in Tech history. The four rushing touchdowns is a career high and is tied for second in the Tech record books with Shane Benoit (4 vs. Eastern Michigan) and Joe Smith (4 vs. UTEP, 2002).
" Louisiana Tech did not pick up its first penalty of the game until the 4:22 mark of the third quarter on an offensive holding call on a third down and inches rush by Ryan Moats.
" Junior Barry Robertson recorded his third sack of the season on the first play of the fourth quarter. Robertson now has 2.5 sacks on the year.
" Louisiana Tech dominated the second half statistically. After being 247 to 140 in the first half, Tech turned the tables on Fresno State outgaining them 262 to 126.
" Byron Santiago's interception in the fourth quarter was his first of the season and the first of his career.
" Tramon Williams interception to end Fresno State's final drive was his first of the season and of his career.
" Louisiana Tech's win over No. 17 Fresno State was only the program's second over a ranked foe (Defeated No. 18 Alabama 29-28 in 1999).
" The game was the first ever against a ranked opponent in Ruston.