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Key players shine in Tech’s 4th consecutive bowl win

January 17, 2018

 

ANDREW BELL
Sports Editor | agb022@ latech.edu

 

The Bulldogs and Coach Skip Holtz celebrate after winning their 4th consecutive bowl game. – Photo by Tom Morris

 

In a season previously marred by unlucky bounces in close games, Louisiana Tech concluded their fourth consecutive bowl-winning season by seemingly catching every break imaginable.

 

In the first ever DXL Frisco Bowl, Tech utterly destroyed the SMU Mustangs by a score of 51-10 on Dec. 20. The same team that had a 1-4 record in games decided by one possession during the regular season forced six turnovers against an SMU offense that ranked 13th in the nation in total yards prior to the matchup.

 

Head coach Skip Holtz and the Bulldogs were allowing 26.7 points per game defensively, before holding SMU’s high-octane offense to 10 points.

 

“Defensively, I think we have gotten better (throughout) the entire year,” Holtz said. “And we’ve been able to get some people healthy. This is as healthy as we (have been) and I thought the defensive staff put together an incredible plan. And then I think the players really bought in.”

 

Highlighting Tech’s dominant performance was the play of their 2017 All-Conference USA players, which included three players on the first team, three players on the second team and 10 honorable mentions.

 

One of those players was Second Team All-Conference USA true freshman cornerback Amik Robertson, who totaled four tackles, one tackle for loss and a 45-yard pick six in the first quarter to widen the margin to 14-0. His impressive performance earned him the Defensive Player of the Game trophy.

 

“I knew coming into this game (SMU) had those big names: Receivers Courtland Sutton and Trey Quinn,” Robertson said. “So I knew that not only me but the defense we had a point to prove. I would say it was a statement game. Looking at ESPN, it kind of lit a fuel to us because we weren’t really mentioned that much. All we heard about was how SMU is a power offense. So this game was maybe a statement game that boosted our confidence up for next year.”

 

Two of Tech’s First Team All-Conference USA players included junior defensive end Jaylen Ferguson and senior safety Scedrick Cooper. Ferguson immediately swung the momentum in Tech’s favor with a fumble recovery on the first play from scrimmage and also finished with a sack. Cooper finished with five total tackles and an interception returned for 31 yards, which set up a scoring drive by Tech’s offense.

 

A member of the C-USA Second Team was junior receiver Teddy Veal, who accounted for over half of Tech’s receiving yards against SMU, with five catches for 118 yards to go along with two touchdown grabs.

 

“When you look at this football team, (we) are very young,” Holtz said. “We started two seniors on offense and four seniors on defense, but they are competitive and they play together. I’ve just really been blessed to have some very special players.”

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