Posted Nov 28, 2004 15:38:37
Bulldogs To Close Out Season At Rice
A non-losing season is on the line for Louisiana Tech Monday as the Bulldogs close out the 2004 football season with a 7 p.m. road contest against Rice at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
The Bulldogs stand at 5-6 and 4-3 in the Western Athletic Conference while Rice enters the game at 3-7 and 2-5.
For the Bulldogs, ending the season at .500 with a 6-6 record would be a good way to close out a tough campaign that at one time watched Tech play four consectuive games against Top 17 teams.
"This games gives us a chance to go 6-6 and finish in third place in the league," Bulldogs coach Jack Bicknell said. "We were picked 7th or 8th prior to the season and to be able to finish third is very important. It is important to beat Rice after struggling with them the last two years. There is still a lot to play for. I want for the seniors to walk off the field for the last time with a good taste in their mouths."
Last year the Bulldogs also closed out the season with a home game against Rice as the Owls' triple-option rolling up 672 rushing yards on the way to a 49-14 win.
“That was a low point," Bicknell said. "That was a tough game for us. I don’t know how much that factors into this week. The guys do want to show they can do a better job than that. But after the first few plays you forget about that. We got our behinds kicked by them last year and want to show we are better than that.”
Junior running back Ryan Moats will be a key factor for the Bulldogs as he looks to close out a record-setting year. Moats has already shattered Tech's single-season rushing record and will be looking to add to the 1,706 yards he has amassed so far this season.
This season the Bulldogs will use a 3-4 defensive scheme against Rice, and senior nose guard Chris Van Hoy feels that could play in the Bulldogs' favor.
“Rice just tries to confuse you, Van Hoy said. "They want you to look left while they are going right. It is all about assignment football. You have to play your assignment every play and the one time you slip up is when they make a big play. I think our new defensive scheme has been better for us all season. We let it get out of hand in a short period last weekend but we have played much better this season. The linebackers are able to run around and make more plays.”
The Owls led the WAC in rushing stats with 311.5 yards per game, but the Bulldogs are hoping for a defensive stand that will close out the season with Tech at 6-6.
It has been an up and down year but we have been up against some great teams and did our best," Bicknell said. "We have stuck together but this is a key game. If we can get this game, we would feel very good about going 6-6 and finishing third in the WAC.”