Nov. 10, 2011
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech steps away from conference play for one final time this season as the Bulldogs (5-4, 4-1 Western Athletic) play at Ole Miss (2-7, 0-6 Southeastern) on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 6:30 p.m. CT in a game televised on CSS and CST. Matt Stewart (play-by-play), Chris Doering (analyst) and Maria Taylor (sideline) will call the action.
|Louisiana Tech at Ole Miss
Saturday, Nov. 12 - 6:30 p.m. CT
|TV: CSS, CST
Radio: LA Tech Sports Network
|LA Tech||Team Stats||UM|
|23.2||Kickoff returns (avg)||20.3|
|9.3||Punt returns (avg)||25.1|
|39.9||Net punting (avg)||39.2|
|29:34||Time of possession/game||28:27|
|38%||Third down conversion||34%|
|57%||Fourth down conversion||33%|
This game marks the first trip to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (60,587 capacity) for Louisiana Tech since 2007 in a series that Ole Miss leads, 8-1. In the series, four of the last five games have been decided by one possession while the Rebels claimed the last meeting, 24-0. Tech's only win in the series was a 7-6 decision in 1946.
Louisiana Tech will face lame duck Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt who announced he would resign at the end of the season. Nutt enters the game 0-1 all-time against Louisiana Tech.
Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes has never gone against a lame duck coach but is preparing his team like any other game.
"People will speculate about what kind of impact that it will have," Dykes said of the Ole Miss coaching situation. "I don't know. Every team that faces the situation acts differently. You know all we can control is what happens to us. We don't care about their situation and we just have to take care of business on our end and get our guys ready to play. This game is going to excite our players because anytime you go on the road to face an SEC team it is exciting. We want to see how we stack up against a Southeastern Conference team and our guys will be ready to play."
Dykes and the Bulldogs still face an Ole Miss team loaded with SEC talent, regardless of the Rebels' record.
"We will be challenged this week as we play against a very skilled and fast Ole Miss football team," Dykes said of the Rebels. "That is the thing about those guys; they are having tremendous skills and have big play potential. Their quarterback can throw the ball well and make plays on his feet. They have a lot of great skill plays. They have an offensive line that is very big. So we are going to have to do a better job tackling and offensively we have to take advantage of our opportunities than we did last week."
Overall the team is expecting a motivated Ole Miss team playing for their outgoing coach.
"I see a team that looks to bounce back after the recent release of their head coach," said Louisiana Tech linebacker Adrien Cole. :I think the players are going to come hard this week and try to make a statement and that we have Coach Nutt's back even though he won't be here after the season and do what coach Nutt has instilled in us and that we are not this two-and-whatever team. We are actually a good team coming out here preparing and I don't expect anything less than a hard fought battle."
Tech enters the game riding a four-game winning streak, an accomplishment credited to a team that started out the season 1-4 with several very close losses early on.
"That is the thing that you credit to these guys," Dykes said of his team. "There are a few teams that could go through with all the tough losses and with how poorly we played against Hawaii. Then keep working and expect something good to happen. I think we knew that at some point everything would even out and we would just make things happen. Those things just don't happen. You have to play better and faster, work a little harder, take better care of your body and coach better. Everything had to improve and he has to keep doing that. We were fortunate enough to have things work out and get us a couple of wins. These next few games is how this team will be remembered."
Ole Miss is led by quarterback Randall Mackey who is 71-for-137 for 1,006 yards and six touchdowns this season with five interceptions.
"He has a good arm and very talented. He can run and make plays with his feet. He can throw the ball better than people give him credit for probably. He is a good deep thrower and throws a very nice deep ball. If you pressure him too much he will start to run around and start creating plays and if you don't pressure him enough he can sit in the pocket and you have to pick your poison with those guys. He is a very good player and their offense has gotten better once he took over."
The Rebels have a strong ground game as the Rebel tailbacks have been responsible for 1,177 rushing yards this season and an average of 130.8 yards per game. Running back Jeff Scott leads with 503 yards on 109 carries and six touchdowns while Brandon Bolden has added 343 yards on 63 carries and four touchdowns. So far this year, Louisiana Tech's defense has held every opponent to under that team's rushing average entering their game while also keeping any opposing tailback from rushing for 100 yards.
Last week, Louisiana Tech held Fresno State's Robbie Rouse to under 100 yards just a year after he went off for 286 rushing yards against the Bulldogs.
"We had a personal vendetta," Cole said of Rouse Coach Spangler was in our ears saying 200, 200. We just had great looks from out scout team from Blake Martin and them just simulating Robbie Rouse. He is an excellent back and we knew that it would come down to excellent tackling and performance and see the best man win."
The challenge for LA Tech will be overcoming an Ole Miss team ready for its stingy defense. Ole Miss offensive coordinator David Lee has heard plenty of positive words regarding Tech's defense.
"One said, 'Best defense we've faced,' " Lee said to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger."The other said, 'Second-best defense we've faced.' Both of them have winning records."
For the 13th straight year, KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston) will serve as the flagship station for Bulldog football. Joining KXKZ on the network this year are KLKL 95.7 FM (Shreveport/Bossier City), KTKC 92.9 FM (Springhill), KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield), KVCL 92.1 FM (Winnfield), KBEF 104.5 FM (Minden), WUBR 910 AM (Baton Rouge, Zachary) and KTTP 1110 AM (Alexandria).
Throughout the year, Tech fans can also access the audio for away games and audio/video for home games by purchasing a subscription to LA Tech All-Access by logging onto www.latechsports.com.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Football, follow @LATechPWalsh on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.