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Bulldogs bowl hunt in 92nd homecoming game

November 7, 2017

 

Andrew Bell
Staff Reporter | agb022@latech.edu

 

The Bulldogs encountered yet another scare Oct. 29, but narrowly survived to keep their bowl hopes alive going into their Homecoming showdown against North Texas this Saturday.

 

Louisiana Tech (4-4, 2-2) traveled to Rice (1-7, 1-3) in a game that was too close for comfort but concluded with a 42-28 Tech victory.

 

Tech was outgained by 17 total yards in the contest but made up for the yardage by forcing Rice into committing four turnovers, including a game-clinching pick six by junior cornerback Trey Spencer to make it 42-28 with 36 seconds remaining. Tech managed to take care of the ball and commited no turnovers.

 

Head coach Skip Holtz and the ’Dogs broke a two-game losing streak with their win against the Owls.

 

“I thought some guys really stepped up and did some great things tonight,” Holtz said. “We talked about how we’d come in here and find a way to get a win with a lot of injuries on this football team and I’m really proud of the way they came out here and did that.”

 

The injuries Holtz referred to included two starting linebackers and offensive linemen who were inactive against Rice, resulting in senior safety Secdrick Cooper moving up to play some linebacker and junior lineman O’Shea Dugas playing a starting role. These adjustments proved successful with Tech allowing only two sacks all game and Cooper accumulating a team-high eight total tackles, a pass deflection and a quarterback hurry.

 

After a rough week against Southern Miss’ blistering defense, sophomore quarterback J’mar Smith bounced back with a strong performance against the Owls. Smith threw for 237 yards and a touchdown while completing 66 percent of passes and rushing for 27 yards on eight attempts.

 

“Boy, (Smith) played really well,” Holtz said. “I really thought he made really good decisions and protected the ball. He did a really nice job. He ran for a couple critical first downs, was patient, saw the field really well and just didn’t turn the ball over. It was a complete difference from a week ago, when he wasn’t playing with that confidence. And when J’mar goes out and plays with the confidence he did today, he has a lot of intangible traits that make him a successful quarterback.”

 

Other key contributors for Tech included senior running back Boston Scott with 87 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns, senior running back Jarred Craft with 67 rushing yards and a touchdown, junior receiver Teddy Veal with 11 catches on 118 receiving yards and sophomore safety Darryl Lewis with four total tackles and an interception.

 

This road win comes as a relief going into possibly the biggest game of the season against a North Texas team (5-3, 4-1) who, besides one loss against FAU, has been nearly flawless in conference play. A win against North Texas on Homecoming night would make Tech 5-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference.

 

The game starts at 2:30 p.m., Nov. 4 at Joe Aillet Stadium.

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