Oct. 29, 2009
RUSTON, La. -
► GAMEDAY CENTRAL
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Louisiana Tech (3-4, 2-2 WAC) travels to Moscow, Idaho to face the upstart Vandals (6-2, 3-1 WAC) at 4 p.m. CT on a Halloween afternoon battle. The Vandals are looking to rebound after their first loss since Sept. 12 after allowing Nevada to score 70 points in a 70-45 defeat.
► LA Tech is looking to record its third consecutive win over Idaho.
► LA Tech is undefeated at home this season (3-0) but Tech is still searching for its first road victory (0-4).
► LA Tech has never lost a game in Moscow (2-0).
► Derek Dooley is 2-0 against Idaho.
► With a 9-15 mark since 2005, Idaho ranks second-to-last among WAC schools in home records with only a .375 winning percentage in Moscow (see p. 5).
► Saturday's game marks the second consecutive week the Bulldogs can be seen on ESPN GamePlan and/or ESPN360.com.
► D'Anthony Smith is expected to make his 40th career start on Saturday.
► Saturday's game marks two coaches who made their debuts in 2007: Derek Dooley is 16-16 as coach of Tech while Robb Akey is 9-23 at the helm of the Vandals (see p. 15).
► LA Tech has won nine of its last 10 games in the friendly confines of Joe Aillet Stadium, but has not won on the road yet.
► Louisiana Tech is in its third season under the direction of head coach Derek Dooley. The Bulldogs have improved dramatically under Dooley, going from a 3-8 record prior to his arrival to an 8-5 season and an Independence Bowl win last year.
► LA Tech's 2008 Independence Bowl victory over Northern Illinois marked the Bulldogs as the only WAC team to record a bowl win in 2008.
► Louisiana Tech will be hosting two games that will air live on ESPN2, the first time that Joe Aillet Stadium will be the stage for multiple live national television audiences.
Could It Be the Opponent?
Louisiana Tech seems to be a tale of two teams this season with three dominating wins at home and four losses on the road. But that could not just be the Bulldogs not playing on the road when you take a look at the competition level Louisiana Tech is facing. Using the Sagarin ratings, Tech's home opponents have an average rating of 163 while Tech's road opponents have an average Sagarin rating of 67.
With only one exception on either side, no home opponent has a Sagarin rating better than 97 (Boise State being the exceptoin) and no road opponent has a Sagarin rating worse than 71 (Utah State being the exception). Italics denote opponent Tech has yet to play.
Opposing Offenses Struggling to Reach the End Zone at Joe Aillet Stadium
With Louisiana Tech's home 45-7 victory over New Mexico State on Oct. 17, LA Tech has registered eight consecutive quarters played at Joe Aillet Stadium without allowing a touchdown by an opponent's offense. The stretch began on Sept. 30 when Hawai'i was held out of the end zone for the first time in 63 games and continued on Oct. 17 against NMSU. The Aggies' only touchdown came as the NMSU defense recovered a Tech fumble and ran it into the end zone.
Morris Records Career Day in Win over New Mexico State
Louisiana Tech tight end Dennis Morris recorded a career day against New Mexico State on Oct. 17, becoming the first Bulldog player since Josh Wheeler in 2006 to record two receiving touchdowns in a game. Morris recorded a career-best 126 receiving yards on six catches and was the first LA Tech player to record 100-plus receiving yards in a game in 364 days - when Morris recorded 121 receiving yards against Idaho on Oct. 18, 2008.
Not So Fast, My Friend
Hawai'i was unable to reach the end zone in Louisiana Tech's 27-6 win over the Warriors, ending a streak of 62 consecutive games that Hawai'i has scored a touchdown (2004 vs. Boise State).
Sack It To Me
Louisiana Tech registered seven sacks against Hawai'i on Sept. 30, the most a LA Tech team has recorded in a game since getting nine sacks (for a loss of 58 yards) against Nevada in 2004.
Four Bulldogs Atop National Charts of Active Career leaders
Entering this week's game, Louisiana Tech has four players that are listed in the national charts for active career leaders (see p.15-16). Among the categories that Antonio Baker, Phillip Livas, Daniel Porter and D'Anthony Smith are listed in, Smith is the lone LA Tech player that leads the nation in career assisted sacks (11). Smith's first sack of the season came against New Mexico State on Oct. 17.
Better the Second Time Around
Louisiana Tech's game against Utah State marked only the fifth time in the last 13 games that LA Tech has not scored on its second possession. The Bulldogs went on a streak of four consecutive games in scoring on their second possession which began on Nov. 15, 2008 vs. Utah State with a touchdown in the Bulldogs' second drive of the game. The only other time LA Tech did not score in its second possession in the last eight games was on Nov. 8, 2008 at San Jose State when Brad Oestriecher missed a 45-yard field goal.
Opponents Beware the Punt Return
Not only is junior Phillip Livas a threat as a wide receiver, but Livas was among the national leaders last year in punt returns. Ranked seventh in the nation, Livas averaged 15.31 yards per return and ran back two punt returns for touchdowns. As a sophomore, Livas returned 16 punts for a total of 245 yards.
Navy did not heed the warning of Livas' abilities as a punt returner. In his only punt return of the game, Livas returned the punt 85 yards for a touchdown. The Navy punt team kicked the ball away from Livas after that.
Taking It To the House
Junior Phillip Livas has spent most of his career etching his name into the Louisiana Tech record books and the 2009 season has been no exception. Livas' set/tied two records at once in Tech's game at Utah State on Oct. 24, 2009 with his 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Not only did that tie as the longest kickoff return in Tech, WAC and NCAA history, that marked Livas' sixth kick return for a touchdown, setting a new school record. Livas was the first WAC player to run a kick back 100 yards since 2007 when Utah State's Kevin Robinson did so against Hawai'i. Livas could have even more returns for touchdowns to his credit but two of his returns - a 96-yard kickoff return and an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown against San Jose State in 2008 - were called back due to penalties.
Livas Approaching NCAA Record
With six total returns for touchdowns to his credit, Phillip Livas is slowly approaching an NCAA record. The NCAA record for total kick/punt returns for a touchdown in a career is eight and that feat has been accomplished on four separate occasions.
Livas Streak Comes to an End at 29 Games
Not only did Louisiana Tech suffer a heartbreaking 23-21 loss at Utah State on Oct. 24, but another notable came to an end that day as Phillip Livas did not record a catch for the first time in 30 games. Livas held a streak of 29 consecutive games played with a reception, a mark that ranked him tied for 12th in the nation. Central Michigan's Bryan Anderson currently leads the nation with 48 consecutive games playted with a reception.