Bulldogs take command of WAC title race

After an improbable come-from-behind road victory on Nov. 19 over the favored Nevada Wolf Pack, the Bulldogs improved to 7-4 overall and 5-1 in Western Athletic Conference play. That is the same number of league losses as Nevada, which has a pair of WAC games remaining. If both teams win out, that would give La. Tech the league title with the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Wolf Pack.

"It was a big win for us," second-year head coach Sonny Dykes said. "The way it unfolded and how we got down and hung in there, it was not easy. It happened because our guys worked hard, invested and believed in each other. This was a heck of a comeback. We had opportunities early but we couldn't make plays. Once we started rolling and starting making plays, we got the momentum. Our players wanted to win so badly. I'm so proud of them for what they did today."

Down 20-3 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game, the Bulldogs finally started to click, rattling off 21 points un under nine minutes.

The most dramatic of the scores came with 51 seconds left on the clock when junior quarterback Colby Cameron found Ikhar Taulib for the eight-yard game-winning score to cap off a seven-play, 92-yard game-winning and possibly WAC-winning scoring drive.

"To drive (92) yards for the game winner was pretty awesome," said Dykes, whose success in just two seasons has fueled rumors this may be his last year with the program.

If that's the case, he'll want to go out with a bang and win a league title. The Bulldogs get that opportunity Nov. 26 at home against an upstart New Mexico State team.

"The more games you win, the bigger they become at the end of the day," Dykes said. "Next week will be big."

NOTES, QUOTES --For three quarters, it didn't look like the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs were a team worthy of playing for a possible bowl berth, let alone for a WAC title.

The Bulldogs had 161 yards of total offense entering the fourth quarter and had surrendered 425 yards of total offense.

But the game is four quarters and in the final period, La. Tech had 251 yards of offense including three scoring drives of 84, 89 and 92 yards in the win while the defense held the Wolf Pack to only 40 yards of offense in the final 15 minutes.

"We never got into a flow in the first half," La. Tech head coach Sonny Dykes said. "We are an offense where when we make a first down, the second one is easier and then the third one is easier. In the first half we never made one. We misfired on everything. Once we got the momentum and made some plays, good things started happening."

La. Tech finished the game with 412 yards of total offense while Nevada had 465. --Louisiana Tech's Nov. 19 win at Nevada not only put them in control of their own destiny for a WAC championship with a win Nov. 26 vs. New Mexico State, it also snapped a six-game losing streak against Nevada.

The Bulldogs also won their sixth-consecutive game, the first six-game win streak for the program since 1999.

--The WAC's leading scoring defense, La. Tech held the Nevada Wolf Pack to 20 points on Nov. 19, which is more than 13 points below their season scoring average of 33.6 points per game. Entering their final regular season game of the year Nov. 26 vs. New Mexico State, La Tech is allowing a WAC-best 24.5 points per game.

KEEP AN EYE ON: QB Colby Cameron -- It may have taken awhile, but the junior QB caught fire when it mattered most at Nevada on Nov. 19. He finished the upset win over the Wolf Pack by completing 25-of-45 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns, all three of which came in the final nine minutes of the game. He led three fourth-quarter scoring drives of 84, 89 and 92 yards for 21 unanswered points in the 24-20 win.

LOOKING GOOD: The Louisiana Tech passing game was on top of its game against Nevada on Nov 19 as junior QB Colby Cameron had 355 passing yards and three touchdowns. Wide receivers Tulib Ikharo (eight receptions, 90 yards, one touchdown) and Quinton Patton (seven receptions, 162 yards, one touchdown) both had their way with the Wolf Pack secondary and have developed late in the year into what might be the best 1-2 receiving punch in the league. The La. Tech defense clamped down in the fourth quarter, holding Nevada to just 40 yards in the final quarter.

STILL NEEDS WORK: While Louisiana Tech was still the reason the Bulldogs were able to win on Nov. 19 at Nevada, the unit had for the first time in weeks some struggles. The 265 rushing yards Louisiana Tech allowed to the Wolf Pack were the most any opponent has rushed for this season. On the other side of the ball, the La. Tech offense only managed a season-low 57 rushing yards. It is unclear how serious the leg injury to senior RB Lennon Creer is, but he didn't suit up at Nevada and walk-on backup Hunter Lee had just 30 yards on seven carries in Creer's absence.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "That was something I have never been a part of." -- Louisiana Tech WR Taulib Ikharo after La. Tech's 21-unanswered points in the fourth quarter of a 24-20 win at Nevada on Nov. 19.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL PLAYER NOTES: --P Ryan Allen had seven punts at Nevada on Nov. 19 for an average of 51.7 yards per punt with a long of 65 yards. On the season, the Ray Guy Award semifinalist is averaging 46.36 yards per punt, good enough for fourth-best in the nation. He is just 0.02 yards per punt behind No. 3 Ian Campbell of UTEP.

--LB Adrien Cole had a game-high and career-high 17 tackles (15 solo) in the Bulldogs' Nov. 19 win at Nevada. Cole's 108 tackles on the season is tied for the second most this season by a WAC defender (tied with Idaho senior LB Tre'Shawn Robinson).

--WR Quinton Patton had seven receptions for 162 receiving yards and a touchdown on Nov. 19 at Nevada. His 90 receptions on the season is tied for most in the WAC with Nevada's Rishard Matthews. His 1,081 receiving yards leads the WAC and his 10 receiving touchdowns on the year is tied for the WAC lead on the season with Fresno State's Jalen Saunders.

ROSTER REPORT --RB Lennon Creer, who suffered a leg injury Nov. 12 at Ole Miss, did not suit up Nov. 19 at Nevada. It is unclear how serious the injury is or whether he'll be available for the team's Nov. 26 regular season finale against New Mexico State.

--RB Hunter Lee, a walk-on, started his first career game on Nov. 19 at Nevada in the place of injured senior RB Lennon Creer.


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