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CFN Take: Louisiana Tech O Dead vs. UTSA

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 30, 2013


2013 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs ... Head Coach: Skip Holtz


Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

2013 Record: 4-8
8/31 at NC State L 40-14
9/7 Lamar W 27-14
9/14 Tulane L 24-15
9/21 at Kansas L 13-10
9/28 Army (in Dallas) L 35-16
10/5 at UTEP W 38-35
10/12 OPEN DATE
10/19 North Texas L 28-13
10/26 at FIU W 23-7
11/2 OPEN DATE
11/9 Southern Miss W 36-13
11/16 at Rice L 52-14
11/23 Tulsa L 24-14
11/30 at UTSA L 30-10
557684 at UTSA 30, Louisiana Tech 10
Basically … UTSA overcame mistakes by starting out well with Eric Soza throwing a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jarveon Williams and running for a 20-yard score. Louisiana Tech’s D got back in the game with a 27-yard Adairius Barnes interception return for a score, but the offense didn’t get into the end zone. Sean Ianno hit three field goals for the Roadrunners, who scores 13 unanswered points.
- UTSA committed 11 penalties for 83 yards and turned it over three times.
- Louisiana Tech QB Scotty Young completed 13-of-24 passes for 80 yards with a pick.
- UTSA had the ball for 38:17, Louisiana Tech had it for 21:43
- UTSA RB Evans Okotcha ran 26 times for 109 yards and a score.

at Louisiana Tech 36, Southern Miss 13
Basically … Louisiana Tech tore open the game in the second half with 20 straight points with short touchdown runs from Hunter Lee and Kenneth Dixon after taking the early lead on two Scotty Young touchdown passes and a safety. Southern Miss didn’t get into the end zone until there were 56 seconds to play on an eight-yard Kyle Sloter catch.
- Louisiana Tech RB Kenneth Dixon ran 25 times for 207 yards and a score.
- Southern Miss QB Nick Mullens completed 25-of-51 passes for 298 yards and a score with three picks.
- USM turned it over four times and was outgained 311 rushing yards to 59.
- Louisiana Tech QB Scotty Young completed 22-of-37 passes for 158 yards and two scores.

Louisiana Tech 38, at UTEP 35
Basically … Kenneth Dixon ran for a nine-yard touchdown to give Louisiana Tech the lead for good, and Blake Martin’s 62-yard touchdown dash helped build the lead in the first half, but it got close. The Bulldogs were up 24-7, but Jamiell Showers threw three touchdown passes including two to Jordan Leslie from 28 and 65 yards out, and he hit Craig Wenrick for a six-yard score to pull within three with just over a minute to play. Tech recovered the onside kick and survived.
- With the team sputtering and the offense inconsistent, Louisiana Tech turned to Kenneth Dixon. Underutilized early on this year, he ran 25 times for 200 yards and a score to steady the attack. There’s no downfield passing game, and the offense almost blew a good early lead, but this was a big, big road win for Skip Holtz.
- Jamiell Showers couldn’t seem to break free. He ran for a score and threw for three more, but it wasn’t until the second half before he got hot. The running game wasn’t bad with Aaron Jones running for 121 yards on 18 carries, but the defense couldn’t hold up when Louisiana Tech started getting its ground game into a groove.

Army 35, Louisiana Tech 16 in Dallas
Basically … The running game worked. Army rumbled for 414 yards on the ground with Terry Baggett coming up with two scores for a 14-0 lead, and Aaron Kemper, Angel Santiago and Kelvin White all scoring on short runs. Louisiana Tech was never really in the game after the first quarter, managing a field goal and a seven-yard Kenneth Dixon touchdown run, but Army controlled things throughout.
- That’s how the Army offense is supposed to work. It ground out the clock, having the ball for almost 40 minutes, while Angel Santiago seemed to always make the right decision. There weren’t too many third and long situations, but the Knights managed to keep on moving the chains.
- Louisiana Tech’s running game can’t find a groove. Kenneth Dixon scored, but the Bulldogs relied on Ryan Higgins and the passing game that cranked out 320 yards and a score.
- Is Army now on track for a bowl game? It needed a big win, and it got one to get to 2-3, and now with Eastern Michigan, Temple, and Hawaii still to play, the opportunities are there battle to six victories.
- The bad start just got a lot worst for the Bulldogs. There are several winnable games against bad teams like UTEP, FIU and Southern Miss, but with the way the Louisiana Tech defense is playing, there aren’t any gimmes. At least last season, the team could rely on an explosive attack. That’s not happening this year.

at Kansas 13, Louisiana Tech 10
Basically … Matt Wyman blasted a 52-yard bomb of a field goal as time expired to give Kansas the win and break a 22-game FBS losing streak. Louisiana Tech had the lead on a Hunter Lee eight-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and a 39-yard Kyle Fisher field goal to match a 39-yarder from Wyman, and KU’s Jimmay Mundine tied it on a 22-yard touchdown catch. The KU defense allowed 443 yards, but it stiffened in the fourth, forcing a Kenneth Dixon fumble around the goal line leading to the game-winning drive.
- It might not have been the perfect performance, but this was when Jake Heaps took a big step forward as the KU quarterback. He completed 28-of-46 passes for 279 yards and a score with two picks, but he came up with the fourth quarter touchdown pass to tie it and the clutch game-winning drive in the final moments.
- Kenneth Dixon was finally starting to look like Kenneth Dixon again, with 18 carries for 129 yards, but he’ll be remembered in this game for fighting for an extra yard and fumbling.
- There were problems. Kansas gave up 443 yards, there were eight penalties and two turnovers, and the running attack couldn’t find enough room to move, but who cares? Kansas needed a win over an FBS team. It doesn’t matter how it happened.
- Louisiana Tech keeps bombing away like it did under Sonny Dykes, but there isn’t the same pop. Ryan Higgins completed 35-of-55 passes for 289 yards and a score, but there were only a few truly productive plays, especially in the second half.

Tulane 24, at Louisiana Tech 15
Basically … Down 9-7 in the third quarter, Tulane reeled off 17 straight points helped by Nick Montana’s second touchdown pass of the game and a 51-yard Cairo Santos field goal. Louisiana Tech got three Kyle Fischer field goals in the first half, and rallied late with an eight-yard Trent Taylor touchdown catch, but that was it.
- The South Alabama loss is even more puzzling now. Tulane has a solid defense, and it showed against the struggling Bulldogs allowing just 289 yards and holding tough against the high-octane passing game.
- The Green Wave overcame four turnovers, screwing up with three fumbles, and had a nightmare of a time in pass protection. The defense was able to hold firm, for the most part. Nick Montana had a great game, completing 20-of-36 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns and a pick despite being sacked six times with IK Enemkpali coming up with 2.5. Louisiana Tech rolled up 11 tackles for loss.
- Kenneth Dixon isn’t back from his knee injury. He ran four times, but for -5 yards. Tevin King has carried the load with 88 yards on 14 carries, but the quarterback play has been way too rough. Scotty Young completed just 9-of-28 passes for 108 yards.
- Julius Warmsley was a force. The Tulane defensive tackle all but camped out in the backfield with a sack, a forced fumble, five tackles and three tackles for loss.

at Louisiana Tech 27, Lamar 14, Sept. 7
Basically … Louisiana Tech finished strong, scoring the game's final 10 points, to avoid the upset bid of Lamar. Andrew Guillot produced two of the Bulldogs' three touchdowns, a 34-yard reception from QB Scotty Young and a 19-yard run to put the game out of reach late in the final quarter.
- Bulldog RB Tevin King made a triumphant return from a serious knee injury suffered a year ago to lead the team with 182 yards on 20 carries. He supplanted starter Kenneth Dixon, who went down with a first-half injury of his own.
- Louisiana Tech was very active in the pass rush, getting to the quarterback six times. DE IK Enemkpali bagged two sacks, while former Texas Tech LB Daniel Cobb made 3.5 stops behind the line.

at NC State 40, Louisiana Tech 14, Aug. 31
Basically … The NC State offense was unstoppable rolling for 542 yards and moving the ball at will. The Pack scored the first 24 points helped by two of Matt Dayes’ three rushing touchdowns on the day. Louisiana Tech tried to come back, and got to within 13 on a 12-yard Kenneth Dixon scoring dash, but State scored 13 unanswered points to close things out.
- Not everything worked according to plan for NC State. Starting quarterback Brandon Mitchell injured his foot, but Pete Thomas stepped in and threw for 212 yards with a pick.
- The Louisiana Tech defense didn’t come up with any new wrinkles or ideas after a disastrous 2012. The run defense got shoved around and the secondary was picked apart on key play after key play.
- Kenneth Dixon was the one big bright spot for the Bulldogs with 118 rushing yards and a score on 22 carries. However, Tech lost four fumbles and saw a few promising drives stall dead.
- NC State hung on to the ball for close to 41 minutes and had it for almost 34 of the final 45 minutes.

Spring Analysis

Why To Get Excited … no one in Conference USA will feature a better pair of backs than the Bulldogs. New head coach Skip Holtz favors balance, which doesn’t figure to be a problem in his first year in Ruston. Tevin King was running wild when he was lost in Week 3 to a season-ending injury. His replacement? True freshman Kenneth Dixon took over and rushed for 1,194 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Why To Be Grouchy … Tech was built for 2012, yet didn’t even participate in a bowl game. Galvanizing head coach Sonny Dykes is now at Cal, and many of last season’s top performers have exhausted their eligibility. Most notable is the departure of QB Colby Cameron, who threw 31 touchdown passes and only five picks in his finale.

The Number One Thing To Work On Is … shoring up the defense. The Bulldogs won’t have Dykes’ attack—or Cameron—to bail them out this fall. Tech was horrid on D a year ago, yielding a nation’s-high 526 yards per game. While the line has a chance to be sneaky-good, it’ll have to be otherworldly to compensate for the team’s leaky secondary.

Non-Conference Games: at NC State, Lamar, at Kansas, Army
Games Against the East: at FIU, Southern Miss
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Worst Case Record: 5-7
Likely Finish: 6-6

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Lamar, Tulane, North Texas, at FIU, Southern Miss, at UTSA

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at NC State, at Kansas, Army, at UTEP, at Rice, Tulsa

Schedule Analysis: The Bulldogs are finally in a league that makes more geographic sense, but there are still enough winnable games to come up with a big year. Going to NC State to start the season isn’t an automatic loss, while getting Lamar and Tulane at home could get the Skip Holtz era off to a nice start before going to Kansas. The problem will be finding time to get settled at home with just one game in Joe Aillet from September 14th to November 9th. The Army game is in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas – the run defense has to be night-and-day better by then – coming In between trips to Kansas and UTEP. Getting FIU and Southern Miss from the East would’ve been a huge break last season, but the teams should be better this time around. Beating Tulsa in the home finale could be vital to having any shot of winning the West.

Team Concerns For 2013: The Bulldogs have plenty of holes to fill on the nation's most productive offense. Skip Holtz has to come up with the right quarterback to replace Colby Cameron, but first things first, four new starters have to emerge on the line. The offense will be fine, but the defense is a different story after finishing dead last in the nation in yards allowed. There has to be more of a pass rush to help out a secondary that gave up a nation-worst 340 yards per outing.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Linebackers. Can Skip Holtz take advantage of some strong classes brought in by Sonny Dykes? The coaching change made life harder this recruiting season, but there are still some decent prospects coming in, especially at linebacker with JUCO transfers Nick Thomason and Mitchell Villemez each expected to help out the nation's worst defense right away. Wide receiver Ladell Marshall and end Nicholas Bickham are good prospects for down the road.

2012: What’s Needed Now: Not much. Head coach Sonny Dykes had the WAC’s best recruiting class last year and loaded up in a big way on the defensive line and the secondary over the last two seasons. Now it’s about trying to find a few stars to add to the mix. This isn’t likely to be a big class in any one area, but 2013 will be when the big haul has to come.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 84. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. This is a big, big class with a little something for everyone. The splash is in the passing game as quarterbacks and receivers are hot for the Sonny Dykes passing offense. JUCO transfer receivers Quinton Patton, Scott Cathcart and Myles White will play right away, while JUCO transfer quarterbacks Brodrick Watters and Nick Isham will fight it out. The meat of the class is on the defensive front with several strong prospects led by Malcolm Pichon, a 6-3, 330-pound tackle who could be the anchor of the line for the next four years.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 96. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. Sonny Dykes. While the focus will be on the quarterback and receivers in the Sonny Dykes system, Derek Dooley brought in those prospects last year. This year, the coaching staff, with no time to work whatsoever, loaded up for the secondary with seven prospects who'll be thrown to the wolves right away. Antonio Burton, Michael Schrang, and Connor Nichols form a solid safety trio, while JUCO transfer Ryan Williams might be one of the WAC's best corners right away.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 70. That Class Was Heavy On ... Running back and receiver. Head coach Derek Dooley went hard on the offense, and while he didn’t pick up any sure-thing stars, he got a lot of prospects. If you’re a strength in numbers fan when it comes to recruiting, then you’ll like all the options the Bulldogs have to choose from over the next few years with a few smallish but speedy backs like Lyle Fitte and Tyrone Duplessis. Big receivers like C.J. Broadus and Jaccari Jackson should be interesting to keep an eye out for as they develop.



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