Despite numerous injuries, Louisiana Tech played very well in the next three games. Tech jumped out against a seven win Idaho team, but the Vandals scored two late touchdowns to steal a one point win. A ten point loss to #5 Boise and an eight point loss to #8 LSU show that Louisiana Tech can play with almost anybody. It also shows that the Bulldogs are much improved and playing good football even with multiple young players on the field.
Daniel Porter went into his hometown determined to help get the Bulldog rush attack going. Porter had 65 yards on 13 carries and Tyronne Dupplessis added 64 yards. The Bulldogs outgained the Tigers on the ground with 178 yards compared to 141. Louisiana Tech was able to run the ball and control the clock. Tech had 322 total yards compared to 246 for LSU.
Down 10-6 with just over four minutes left in the second quarter, Tech took the ball down the field and had a 4th and goal from about four feet out with two seconds left. Louisiana Tech Head Coach Derek Dooley knew he had to take the oppurtunity and go for the touchdown. Porter got the direct snap on what looked like a misdirection play. Then, in a Tebow like play, Porter jumped and tosses the ball to Dennis Morris for a touchdown. The Bulldogs took the 13-10 lead into halftime.
LSU eventually pushed out to a 24-13 lead and had the ball in Bulldog territory late in the fourth quarter. Louisiana Tech showed that they weren't about to give up and held the Tigers to a 49 yard field goal attempt. The snap was bad and Tech had one final chance to pull the upset. Ross Jenkins led the Bulldogs down the field and faced with a fourth down, Dooley elected to take the three points and go for the onside kick. The field goal by Matt Nelson, his third, brought the score to 24-16. The onside kick went out of bounds, and the Tigers were able to kneel for the final play.
No one expected Louisiana Tech to take LSU down to the final play. After suffering a 39 point loss to LSU in 2003 and a 48 point loss in 2007, the Bulldogs showed just how improved they are under Dooley.
No one is happy with a loss. A one point loss to a seven win Idaho team on the road showed Tech was improving. The ten point loss to Boise State and the eight point loss to LSU showed the Bulldogs have not only improved, but have figured out what it takes to play with determination and maximum effort.
Several players stepped up for Louisiana Tech in the LSU game. Dustin Mitchell had his best game of the year and probably his career with five catches for 37 yards. Eric Harper had two big catches for 35 yards. Myke Compton was big with his 59 total yards on offense. Ross Jenkins out played Jarrett Lee and led Tech to 23 first downs compared to 15 for LSU. The Bulldogs had possession for just over 60% of the game.
Lee was only 7 of 22 passing and LSU seemed to not go to Keiland Williams enough. Williams had just fifteen carries despite rushing for over seven yards per touch. Russell Shepard made a coupke of nice plays late, but he didn't get in near as much as expected. With Jordan Jefferson sidelined, Shepard might have given LSU the boost they needed when their offense stalled in the first half.
Adrien Cole led the Bulldogs on defense with eleven tackles and a sack. D'Anthony Smith commanded a lot of attention inside, allowing his teammates to make plays. Josh Victorian and Tank Calais played well in the secondary, and Baton Rouge native Matt Broha from his defensive end position. Linebackers Jay Dudley and Dominique Faust added five tackles each.
Coach Dooley will be able to take positives from the effort. "I am obviously proud of how we came out. We played toe to toe with a great football team and a great program," he said. "I do think this gives us a lot to build on for the program."
With all eyes in Louisiana on the game, Coach Dooley and his Bulldogs were able to show what kind of team they have put together in a short time. It will help in recruiting as well. High school players, especially in Louisiana, know that they could be a part of a good football team that is only getting better.