No. 24 Louisiana Tech Looks to Keep Offense Rolling at New Mexico State
Oct. 23, 2012
Louisiana Tech just enjoyed one of the best offensive performances in program history, but coach Sonny Dykes wants his team focused on this weekend's game.
The 24th-ranked Bulldogs shouldn't have much trouble putting up big numbers again.
Louisiana Tech goes for a ninth consecutive road win Saturday night against a New Mexico State team that's dropped six in a row.
Led by Colby Cameron's second straight 400-yard passing game and freshman Kenneth Dixon's 232 rushing yards and program-record six touchdowns, Louisiana Tech (6-1, 1-0 WAC) piled up team records with eight rushing scores and 839 total yards in last Saturday's 70-28 win over Idaho.
The 56 first-half points tied a WAC single-game record and the yardage total was the most by an FBS team this season.
The result vaulted the Bulldogs back into the Top 25 after they'd fallen out when their nation-best 12-game winning streak was snapped with a 59-57 loss to then-No. 22 Texas A&M on Oct. 13.
"As I have said many times, you do not want to be a one-hit wonder," said Dykes, whose team is undefeated on the road since a 26-20 overtime loss at Mississippi State on Sept. 24, 2011. "Last time we got in the polls, we did not handle it very well and did not play well against Texas A&M and got beat because of it. Hopefully, it will be a challenge for us and we will handle it better."
Louisiana Tech likely won't have much trouble handling New Mexico State (1-6, 0-3). The Bulldogs are second in the FBS in total offense (581.6 ypg) and first with 56.1 points per game, numbers not lost on Aggies coach DeWayne Walker.
"Pretty scary," said Walker, whose team ranks 103rd in the nation in total defense (451.0 ypg) and scoring defense (34.3). "These guys aren't going to allow us get a lot of sleep this week.
"They have a chance to win out and get a chance to be 11-1 and really start emerging as the top mid-level team in the country. We definitely have our hands full with this group."
The Aggies wouldn't be the first team to feel that way about Dixon, who leads the FBS with 16 rushing scores. The WAC offensive player of the week needs three TDs to break the team's single-season record, set by Ryan Moats in 2004.
"I think he has a chance to break a bunch of records and that kind of stuff is all about being fortunate and staying healthy and all that," said Dykes, whose team is 12th in the FBS with 247.7 rushing yards per game. "He is a good back and we will see what he can do the second half of the season."
Cameron and senior wide receiver Quinton Patton also have a chance to do plenty of damage during the final five regular-season games. Cameron, a senior, has completed 71.3 percent of his passes for 2,306 yards with 20 TDs and no INTs. He broke an NCAA mark last Saturday by throwing a 275th consecutive pass without an interception.
Patton is tied for fourth in the nation in catches per game (8.4) and receiving yards per contest (115.1).
While the Bulldogs can score at a dizzying pace, they also give up plenty of points - ranking 114th in the FBS with 38.0 allowed per game. Louisiana Tech is second-to-last in total defense (519.6 ypg).
"Defensively, they'll bend but not break," Walker said.
To stay close, the Aggies will likely need big nights from quarterback Andrew Manley and wide receiver Austin Franklin, who is among the nation's best with 826 receiving yards and eight TDs. A Manley-to-Franklin strike was the only offense New Mexico State put on the scoreboard in Saturday's 41-7 loss at Utah State.
The Aggies have lost 17 straight to ranked opponents, getting outscored 310-29 in six contests since 2008.
The Bulldogs have won five in a row in this series following a 44-0 home win Nov. 26 that clinched their first WAC title since 2001.
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