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Defense dazzles in drubbing of WKU

November 6, 2014
Transfer defensive lineman Houston Bates tallied one sack and several tackles for loss in the Bulldogs’ dominating win over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Bates and Co. held the Hilltoppers to a season low 10 points in the win– Photo by Tom Morris

Transfer defensive lineman Houston Bates tallied one sack and several tackles for loss in the Bulldogs’ dominating win over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Bates and Co. held the Hilltoppers to a season low 10 points in the win– Photo by Tom Morris

JARED KING

Sports Editor

 

Louisiana Tech defeated the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers on Saturday 59-10. The game was the highlight of  Tech’s 89th annual Homecoming.

 

The Bulldogs put on a dominant defensive performance allowing only 10 points to a Hilltoppers’ team averaging more than 45 points per game going into the contest.

 

Tech head coach Skip Holtz called defensive coordinator Manny Diaz a “rockstar” following the game.

 

“Manny Diaz is a great football coach,” Holtz said. “I’ve said this  before, he’s got a great mind. I think he’s a rockstar.”

 

Diaz’s defense held the nation’s second ranked passing offense — averaging more than 400 passing yards per game — to 145 yards through the air and one touchdown.

 

Hilltoppers’ starting quarterback Brandon Doughty had four interceptions entering the game. He left having thrown four more.

 

Junior defensive back Adairius Barnes registered two interceptions – the second time of his career he has had two interceptions in one game – and senior defensive back Le’Vander Liggins snagged two interceptions of his own.

 

Holtz said the stellar play of the secondary could be attributed to the defensive play calling of Diaz and the athleticisim of the defensive backs.

 

“I think it was the disguise of what we were doing defensively that gave some guys an opportunity to make some plays,” Holtz said. “Le’Vander Liggins’ intereption, he flat made a play. That wasn’t scheme, design, anything else. He just made a great play.”

 

Barnes and Liggins had big games for the defense, but Diaz said his defense is designed where anyone can have a big game.

 

“I think our players believe if we all do our job, the offense decides who gets to make the big play,” Diaz said. “On Adairius Barnes’ first interception, Mitch Villemez came unblocked so Villemez could have gotten the sack if the quarterback had chosen not to throw it. Our players understand the sugar they get for making the play is decided by the offense.”

 

Diaz’s defense has not disappointed in year one. The Bulldogs are ranked first in the nation in points off of turnovers and third quarter scoring margin.

 

Tech is also in the top three in the NCAA in turnovers gained (second) and interceptions (third).

 

Holtz and Co. are riding a four game winning streak in which the Bulldogs have outscored the competition by a combined 172-53.

 

Diaz’s defense is ranked first in Conference USA in scoring defense allowing 14.8 points per game to conference foes.

 

Tech also leads the conference in yards per play allowed and pass efficiency defense and ranks second in rushing defense.

 

Tech will put its 5-0 conference record on the line Saturday when the Bulldogs take on the Blazers of UAB at 11 a.m.

 

Email comments to jki008@latech.edu. 

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