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Tech collapses in epic overtime thriller

October 26, 2017

 

Andrew Bell

Staff Reporter | agb022@latech.edu

 

Boston Scott, Senior, Runningback evades a Southern Miss player. – Photo by Brian Blakel

In a narrative-packed night of college football, the unfortunate conclusion of a wild game supersedes all for the Louisiana Tech football team: a loss.

 

Tech (3-4, 1-2 Conference USA) met Southern Miss (5-2, 3-1 C-USA) in a damp and gloomy atmosphere that the two teams have started to grow accustomed to when playing each other, with five out of their last seven meetings including forecasted showers.

 

Not even the rain, however, could stop the Golden Eagles from coming back to humble the Bulldogs, as Southern Miss overcame a 27-16 deficit late in the fourth quarter to force overtime and top Tech 34-27 in double OT. The loss drops Tech to fifth in the C-USA West, as Southern Miss climbs to first in the division with the win.

 

Losing close games has become a recurring theme for the ’Dogs recently, dropping three of their last four games by one score or less, with two one-point losses to South Carolina and UAB to go along with their most recent heartbreaker.

 

Head coach Skip Holtz and the Bulldogs could easily be 5-2 with a few breaks here and there, so the hope is still to right the ship and make their fourth straight bowl game at the end of the season.

 

“It’s just unfortunate,” Holtz said. “As hard as these players work and as supportive of a fan base as we have to come out here and drop a tough one at home. I’m sure there’s a message in all this, when you look at some of the ways that we have lost games with South Carolina and UAB. But all I know is that you’d better have an incredible amount of resolve.”

 

It was a tough night for sophomore quarterback J’mar Smith, passing for 194 yards while only completing 39 percent of his passes and throwing for no touchdowns and an interception. This was not the case for their other skill position players, as senior running back duo Boston Scott and Jarred Craft combined for 151 rushing yards on 21 carries, good for 7.2 yards per carry.

 

Another senior with a big night was receiver Marlon Watts, who caught five passes for 121 yards, including a huge 82 yard reception that almost put the Eagles away late, leading to a score to make it 27-16 with 4:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.

 

“No anger (or) disappointment,” Watts said. “We played our (butts) off, we played a hard game. Honestly, I don’t think it brings the team down. I honestly think this brings the team closer. Because when your back is against the wall, you really count on your teammates. You let them know what they mean to you, and that’s when you roll your sleeves up and go play football.”

 

The Bulldogs will look to regroup next week in a pivotal game against conference rival Rice (1-6, 1-2 C-USA).

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