Monday, September 8, 2014

LA Tech Throttles UL-Lafayette, 48-20, in Renewed Rivalry Game

For Louisiana Tech, it was just another Louisiana Saturday Night. LA Tech (1-1) racked up 533 yards of offense and never trailed while Kenneth Dixon set a new Tech and Conference USA record for the longest rush as the Bulldogs ran by in-state rival Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1), 48-20, Saturday night in front of 25,607 fans at Cajun Field.

The win extended Tech's winning streak over ULL to seven games, the longest by either side in an in-state rivalry that dates back to 1910. Tech now leads the overall series, 47-33-6, in Louisiana's second-longest standing rivalry among in-state teams.

Dixon's 99-yard touchdown run marked the first score in the game and the longest rush by any Louisiana Tech or Conference USA player in history. The junior running back would run for 184 yards and two touchdowns.

Quarterback Cody Sokol was impressive behind center, passing for 295 yards and two touchdowns in a 22-for-33 performance.

Overall, Louisiana Tech forced three turnovers with a pick-six by Xavier Woods and fumble recoveries by Le'Vander Liggins and Lloyd Grogan.

C.J. Cleveland led the Bulldogs defensively with 14 total tackles, 10 unassisted and four assisted, while Bryson Abraham and Woods each had six total tackles to help lead LA Tech to a victory.

With just over four minutes remaining in the first quarter, ULL pinned LA Tech deep on a punt, downing the ball on Tech's one-yard line, but on the first play of the drive Dixon took the ball and raced 99 yards untouched to give the Bulldogs the 7-0 lead. Dixon's run set a new school and Conference USA record for the longest rush.

UL-Lafayette responded on its next drive as Alonzo Harris punched in the tying touchdown from six yards out on the first play of the second quarter.

After trading possessions, Louisiana Tech's Tony Johnson forced a turnover on downs as ULL attempted a 4th-and-1 conversion on LA Tech's 39-yard line. Following that stop, the Bulldogs drove down the field for a score capped off by Hunter Lee's 16-yard touchdown catch from Sokol as the Bulldogs took a 14-7 lead with 4:33 left in the first half. Lee was responsible for 45 yards receiving on four catches in that nine-play, 61-yard drive.

The Bulldogs would add to their lead in the first half as Jonathan Barnes kicked a 28-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining in the second quarter giving Tech the 17-7 lead, the Bulldogs first halftime lead since a 36-13 win over Southern Miss in the Rivalry in Dixie last year in Ruston.

On the second play from scrimmage in the second half, Sokol connected with Sterling Griffin for a 78-yard touchdown pass - a career-long mark for both players - as Tech took the 24-7 lead just 49 seconds into the half.

Louisiana-Lafayette was mounting a drive in the third quarter before Woods picked off Terrance Broadway and ran it back 46 yards for a touchdown with 3:45 left in the third quarter.

Dixon would not be done for the night as he would run for a touchdown from 32 yards out with 13:32 left in the game, giving the Bulldogs a 38-7 lead.

After Grogan forced and recovered a fumble, the Bulldogs were set up for Barnes to kick a 42-yard field goal with 11:03 left in the game, edging Tech's lead out to 41-7.

ULL would finally strike back in the fourth quarter as Broadway found Effrem Reed for a 20-yard touchdown pass to cut LA Tech's lead to 41-14 with 9:34 remaining in the game.

Louisiana Tech continued to tack on points later in the fourth as the Bulldogs put together an 11-play, 75-yard drive, which resulted in a two-yard rushing touchdown by Jarred Craft to make it 48-14 in favor of LA Tech.

The Ragin' Cajuns completed the scoring for the night as ULL's Brooks Haack connected with Gabe Fuselier for a four-yard touchdown as time expired to make it a 48-20 final score.

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