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4th quarter woes continue for the Bulldogs

November 9, 2017

 

Andrew Bell

Staff Reporter/ agb022@latech.edu

 

The Bulldogs’ hunt for a bowl game just got tougher, after yet another heart-breaking home loss in their 92nd homecoming game.

 

Louisiana Tech (4-5, 2-3) fell to North Texas (6-3, 5-1) by a score of 24-23 Nov. 4, adding to their unfortunate collection of close losses. This now makes three losses by a single point on the year and a 1-4 record in games decided by one possession.

 

Tech controlled the first half of the game, leading by as much as 10 points and going into the half leading 17-10.

 

The second half, however, was a completely different story. In the final two quarters, Tech was outgained by 59 yards from scrimmage and was outscored 14-6, after senior kicker Jonathan Barnes missed a 53 yard field goal with 2:39 remaining that would have put Tech in the lead. The Mean Green proceeded to run the clock out on the shoulders of senior workhorse running back Jeffrey Wilson, who ended the game with 20 carries, 181 total yards and two rushing touchdowns.

 

Head coach Skip Holtz and the ‘Dogs will need to right the ship and win two of their last three games to be in bowl contention.

 

“It’s frustrating to be so close and yet (be) in this position again where we couldn’t close out a game late in the fourth quarter,” Holtz said. “It’s hard for the players, the coaches, the alumni and the administration to watch it all be so close and not be able to get it done.”

 

Tech moved the ball well in the contest, with 315 total yards of offense, but struggled to finish with touchdowns in the red zone, settling for four field goal attempts.

 

“I had a decision to make in this game on fourth-and-2 in the fourth quarter and I made the decision to kick the field goal,” Holtz said. “(It was) because I wanted to put pressure on them to score a touchdown rather than kick a field goal. In hindsight, I’d go back and I’d go for it but looking at it at the time, it put a little pressure on them to score a touchdown and not be able to tie it up with a field goal.”

 

The situation Holtz referred to was a Tech drive early in the fourth quarter, leading 20-17, with a fourth-and-2 on North Texas’ 17-yard line. Tech elected to kick a field goal to make it a 23-17 game, instead of going for it and possibly scoring a touchdown, which would have made it a 27-17 game. North Texas would score two drives later to go up 24-23.

 

Sophomore quarterback J’Mar Smith had a decent night statistically with 168 passing yards, 29 rushing yards on 11 attempts and a rushing touchdown. Other key contributors included sophomore receiver Rhashid Bonnette, with six receptions and 77 receiving yards and senior running back Boston Scott, with 64 rushing yards on 16 attempts with a rushing touchdown.

 

The Bulldogs will face Florida Atlantic (6-3, 5-0)  Nov. 12 at Joe Aillet Stadium in another crucial conference game.

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