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’Dogs Bowl Bound

December 15, 2011

Tech will tackle No. 15 TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl

ANNA CLAIRE THOMAS
Sports Editor

After a whirlwind season that saw them go from one extreme to the other, the Bulldog football team has one order of unfinished business to tend to before the 2011 season is in the books.

 

Tech has the chance to extend their seven-game winning streak Dec. 21 when they face off against TCU, who is ranked No. 15 in the Coaches’ Poll, in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on a national stage as the game will be broadcast on ESPN at 7 p.m.

 

The Bulldogs have gained some momentum after spending the first half of the 2011 season in turmoil and turned this season into a success, earning head coach Sonny Dykes the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honor.

 

Tech will face its toughest opponent yet in the Horned Frogs of TCU, who are 10-2 on the year and were a perfect 7-0 in conference play and beating the Horned Frogs will be no small feat for the WAC Champion Bulldogs as they will play in one of only four bowl games to match conference champions.

 

Offense

 

After making a midseason change at quarterback from freshman Nick Isham to junior Colby Cameron, Tech spent the second half of the season firing on all cylinders offensively.

 

Despite Cameron only playing in six of Tech’s games all season, he has taken full control of this Bulldog offense, averaging 233.8 passing yards per game and throwing 11 touchdowns in limited action.

 

Look for Cameron, a California native, to give the TCU defense fits with his ability to get the ball to junior wide receiver Quinton Patton, who leads all Bulldogs with 10 receiving touchdowns.

 

For TCU, sophomore Casey Pachall, an All-American Honorable Mention selection, has started all 12 games for the Horned Frogs and has thrown 24 touchdowns while completing 67.8 percent of his passes.

 

Pachall will more than likely target his favorite receiver, sophomore Josh Boyce, who has caught nine touchdowns this season.

 

As for the running game, the Bulldogs will follow the lead of freshman running back Hunter Lee, a walk-on who played in all 12 games this season and scored four touchdowns and averaged 48.8 yards per game.

 

For the Horned Frogs, sophomore Waymon James and junior Matthew Tucker lead TCU’s rushing attack with 17 touchdowns combined.

 

Defense

 

Defensively, the Bulldogs match up well with TCU but will have to stand tall in rush defense if they are going to hold the Horned Frogs two leading rushers to a minimum.

 

Don’t count the Bulldogs out just yet though, as Tech is ranked 25th in the nation in rushing defense and has stood tall against the ground game all season.

 

As far as turnovers, the Bulldogs are the favorites to steal the ball away from Pachall and the offense during the course of the game.

 

The Bulldogs have 20 interceptions on the season by 10 different defenders, five of them being returned for a touchdown, while TCU’s defense has notched nine interceptions in 2011.

 

Two playmakers to watch on the Bulldogs side of the ball are seniors Adrien Cole, the WAC Defensive Player of the Year, and Jay Dudley, who leads the team in interceptions with four.

 

Special Teams

 

Louisiana Tech will more than likely have the advantage as far as field position goes as they bring with them the 2011 Ray Guy Award winner in junior punter Ryan Allen.

 

Allen ranked first in the nation for punts inside the 20 yard line with 37 and punts inside inside the 10-yard line with 20.

 

Look for Allen, a second team All-American selection, to be a gamechanger and factor into the result some way.

 

Overall

 

Make no mistake about it, Tech will have their work cut out for them when they travel to sunny San Diego. But skeptics who think the Horned Frogs will run all over the Bulldogs haven’t taken notice of the impressive resume Dykes’ ’Dogs have put together over the course of their last seven games.

 

Email comments to act013@latech.edu.

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