LA Tech Upends Grambling

The bottom line was a season-opening victory and a much-appreciated "W" in the head-coaching debut of Sonny Dykes.

Beyond the end result, however, Louisiana Tech wasn't all that happy with what transpired in a 20-6 win over Grambling State on Saturday in Shreveport, La.

"We were fortunate to get out of here with a win," Dykes said. The defense, mind you, was fine, allowing just a pair of field goals, surrendering only 260 total yards of offense and picking off a pair of Grambling State passes.

But when a new coaching regime comes to town with a pass-happy, high-scoring reputation and utilizes an offense predicated on timing and rhythm, the Bulldogs simply can't be content knowing they only found pay dirt twice (both on rushing touchdowns) in a game against a clearly inferior FCS program.

La. Tech on Saturday went with two quarterbacks -- senior returning starter Ross Jenkins and redshirt sophomore Colby Cameron playing. The numbers weren't awful (the pair combined to complete 23 of 31 passes for 196 yards and completed passes to 10 different Bulldogs), but it was clear there is a lot of work to be done before next week's road game against Texas A&M.

The offense simply didn't have the type of rhythm needed for Dykes' scheme to be as successful as he'd like it.

"The goal is to get lined up quickly," Dykes said. "We got comfortable in the first drive and played extremely fast. We did some good things in the second quarter as well. After that we had a hard time getting everyone in rhythm." Dykes said there were a handful of missed opportunities in the game that were squandered because of mental mistakes.

"We had three or four missed opportunities where we thought we had a call that could get us a touchdown and we didn't get the play off," Dykes said. "In college football you are going to have only a few opportunities to catch (your opponent) exactly when you want to catch them. We've got to take advantage of some of those plays. It was a sloppy first game. We'd hoped to be a lot sharper."

NOTES, QUOTES --Louisiana Tech's first-year head coach Sonny Dykes won his head-coaching debut in Shreveport, La., something his legendary coaching father Spike Dykes was unable to do.

Spike Dykes' first game as Texas Tech's head coach was on Dec. 20, 1986, in the Independence Bowl. The Red Raiders lost to Ole Miss, 20-17. --For the record, the first offensive play in the Sonny Dykes coaching era was an eight-yard pass completion from senior QB Ross Jenkins to redshirt freshman WR Jacarri Jackson.

--With 6:08 left in the second quarter against Grambling State, K Matt  Nelson pushed wide left a seemingly easy field goal attempt, marking just the second missed field goal of less than 50 yards in his career. The sophomore was 12-of-13 from inside 50 yards as a freshman in 2009.

GAME BALL GOES TO: DE Matt Broha -- The 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive end was integral in the Bulldogs containing Grambling State's athletic quarterback Anthony Carrothers, holding him to 14 rushing yards on 13 carries and registering two of the three La. Tech sacks in the game. Broha, who had four sacks last year, also forced a fumble in the season opener.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Jacarri Jackson -- The redshirt freshman raised eyebrows when he earned his way to a starting role ahead of senior star Philip Livas. Saturday against Grambling State, he wasn't lights out, but certainly showed enough to explain why he knocked the veteran Livas out of the starting rotation. Jackson had a team-high four receptions for 27 yards.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's hard to win a college football game. It's especially hard when you're in a brand new program and making a drastic change. The players have to adjust." -- Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech's first-year head coach.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL LOOKING GOOD: The Louisiana Tech defense, save the opening drives of each half, was very good. Grambling State gained 115 yards on its opening-half drives (58 yards in the first quarter and 57 in the third quarter) and capped each drive with field goals. Grambling State gained just 145 yards the other 10 offensive drives of the game. It was clear the La. Tech defense was more ready for the opener than the offense, but that's expected considering the team has the same defensive coordinator as last year. The Bulldogs run defense allowed just 2.8 yards per carry, a good sign after losing star defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith from last year's squad.

STILL NEEDS WORK: The offense looked pretty balanced with 140 rushing yards and 196 passing yards, but the frustration coming from head coach Sonny Dykes after the season opening win over Grambling State was clear. The team needs to work on timing and rhythm. The offense wasn't in a fast-paced flow the way it is supposed to be. The Texas A&M defense, which the Bulldogs will face in Week 2, is a far cry from one of the nation's best, but it is light years ahead of what La. Tech saw in the opener against Grambling State. Squandering scoring opportunities against the Aggies won't give La. Tech a chance.

ROSTER REPORT: --While the season opener proved there still isn't a decision on quarterback for Louisiana Tech, QB Ross Jenkins starting streak remains intact for now.

The senior got the start Saturday against Grambling State over upstart sophomore Colby Cameron, extending to 21 the number of consecutive starts under center for Jenkins.

--LG Lon Roberts did not play against Grambling State, ending a streak of 37 consecutive starts. Those starts all came at center, a position he was moved from when the new coaching staff took over.


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