Posted Oct 14, 2005 20:32:26
Bulldogs Try to Continue Mastery of Wolf Pack
RENO, Nevada – When Louisiana Tech (2-2, 2-0 WAC) takes to the field at Mackay Stadium Saturday afternoon for a 3 p.m. CST kickoff against Nevada (3-2, 2-0 WAC), the odds won’t necessarily be in the Bulldogs favor.
After all, Tech has won four straight meetings with the Wolf Pack since joining the Western Athletic Conference in 2001, a streak that has to end sooner or later.
For Bulldog head coach Jack Bicknell and Co., they hope it’s later as opposed to this weekend as the top two teams in the current conference standings square off in a game that is already being talked about as having bowl implications.
“Obviously, this is a big game for both teams,” Bicknell said. “One of us will still be undefeated (in WAC play) come Sunday and feeling pretty good about ourselves. The other team won’t be nearly has happy.”
After losing its two non-conference games to Florida and Kansas, Tech posted impressive WAC victories over New Mexico State (34-14) and Hawaii (46-14) the past two weekends at Joe Aillet Stadium.
Meanwhile, Nevada dropped its season opener 55-17 to Washington State but has won three of its last four, including a 62-14 pasting of Idaho last weekend.
Thus, Saturday’s contest will feature two confident teams.
“We played extremely well on both sides of the football the last two weeks,” Bicknell said. “I think the offense is starting to hit its stride and the defense continues to get better every week. The big thing we’ve done the last two weeks is force eight turnovers while not turning the ball over once. I think that will be a key Saturday.”
Tech hopes to continue to run the football and control the clock while keeping Nevada’s high-powered offense off the field. Running backs Mark Dillard, Freddie Franklin and Patrick Jackson have combined to rush for 485 yards and six touchdowns over the past two games for the Bulldogs.
The Wolf Pack are led by quarterback Jeff Rowe and running back B.J. Mitchell, who ran for 149 yards and four touchdowns in the 48-point win over Idaho.
Mitchell is the WAC rushing leader, averaging 92.0 yards per game while scoring six touchdowns. Rowe has passed for 1429 yards and nine scores while throwing only three interceptions all season.
However, the duo will face a Tech defense that ranks No. 1 in the WAC and 19th nationally against the rush (98.6 ypg) and No. 2 in the conference in total defense (346.2 ypg). Opponents are also only converting 25.5 percent of their third downs against the Bulldogs this year.
Tech leads the all-time series against Nevada 4-1, including a 38-21 win in Ruston in the 2004 season opener.
The contest can be heard on KXKZ-FM 107.5 (Ruston) and KEEL-AM (710) Shreveport as well as via the Internet at www.z1075fm.com. Dave Nitz, Steve Davison and Benny Thornell will provide the play by play, color commentary and sideline reporting during the broadcast.
The two-hour Tech GameDay Radio Show will begin at noon Saturday as Sean Fox and Nick White talk Bulldog football.