Seniors Jay Dudley, Adrein Cole, and Matt Broha are three big reasons for the success of the defense. Broha has 5 sacks and he is a big reason Tech's opponents are under 30% on third down.
Cole leads the team with 81 tackles and 8 tackles for loss. Dudley has picked off three passes and taken two of those to the house. Speaking of interceptions, the Bulldogs are tied for 5th in the country with 15. Not only are the Bulldogs stout against the run, they are opportunistic against the pass.
Dudley is second to Cole with 71 tackles and 6 tackles for loss. A big reason for the defense piling up stats is the presence inside of the defensive tackles. Justin Ellis (6-2 330), Jon'al White (6-1 300), and Shakeil Lucas (6-2 280) have been a load to handle inside. They free up the linebackers to make plays and they give the defensive ends more chances to avoid double teams and get to the quarterback. The added pressure on the quarterbacks is helping lead to turnovers. Tech is 13th in the country in turnover margin at +.78.
Also aiding the defense is punter Ryan Allen. Allen leads the nation with 32 punts downed inside the 20 yard line. Allen, who had a 72 yard punt against Mississippi State, averages over 46 yards per punt.
Louisiana Tech (5-4, 4-1) is looking to become bowl eligible with a win in Oxford. While Tech's defense has been solid, the offense is starting to pick things up. In last week's 41-21 win at Fresno State, Colby Cameron was 19 of 33 for 376 yards and four touchdowns. A win over Ole Miss would give Tech five wins in a row for the forst time since 1999. That season, Tech knocked off a ranked Alabama team in route to an eight win season.
Louisiana Tech has a lot left to play for with a key WAC game at Nevada and a home game against New Mexico State. A win over Ole Miss won't help in the WAC race, but it will go a long way in keeping the momentum going and putting the Bulldogs in a bowl game.
If Louisiana Tech does go bowling, the long pass plays and the lightning fast touchdown plays are likely to get the headlines. However, don't forget that it's the Bulldogs defense that has held the team together this season.