Tech Pulls Away With 22-Point Second Quarter

RUSTON – Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel tossed for a pair of touchdowns while rushing for a second-quarter score and the Bulldogs erupted for 36 unanswered points, including 22 in the second quarter, to pull away from a 7-7 deadlock and defeat the Louisiana Ragin" Cajuns, 43-14, before an announced crowd of 26,910 on Saturday at Joe Aillet Stadium.

Driskel, who finished 20-for-33 for 290 yards and two touchdowns, gave Louisiana Tech (3-2) a 14-7 lead in the second quarter and opened the decisive 22-point quarter for the Bulldogs, who led 29-7 at halftime. Kenneth Dixon added 59 yards on the ground and a touchdown for the Bulldogs, who claimed their eighth straight win over Louisiana (1-3) dating back to 1997.

Elijah McGuire rushed for 84 yards on 12 carries for the Ragin' Cajuns while grabbing a team-high six passes for 70 yards and a touchdown. Tracy Walker recorded a career-high 13 tackles for Louisiana with Tre'maine Lightfoot adding a career-best eight stops.

"I give Louisiana Tech a lot of credit," head coach Mark Hudspeth said. "They have a good football team and a veteran quarterback that made a lot of plays. Our goal coming in was to contain (Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth) Dixon a little bit, and I felt like we did do that. We had a solid night of doing that.

"Give Driskel credit, he found some ways to beat us throwing the ball and ran it effectively. They have a good team. We didn't help ourselves, and we didn't help ourselves coaching. Our coaches have to do a better job of getting our guys in the right position on both sides of the ball. We also need to find some answers on offense."

Louisiana took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards in five plays to take a quick 7-0 lead. McGuire picked up 8 and 9 yards on his first two carries of the drive before catching a screen pass from Jalen Nixon three plays later and racing 49 yards untouched for a touchdown with 13:06 remaining in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs answered on their initial drive as they drove 75 yards in 11 plays to tie the game at 7-7. Driskel opened the drive with a 13-yard scamper and later added a 19-yard strike to Marcus Gaines for a first down to the UL 10. Three plays later, Trent Taylor caught an acrobatic 8-yard pass from Driskel with Jonathan Barnes adding the extra point at the 8:39 mark.

Driskel capped the second drive for the Bulldogs as his 19-yard scamper with 12:36 remaining in the second quarter capped a 10-play, 96-yard drive. Driskel connected with Gaines on a 10-yard pass to third-and-4 to the Tech 34 before connecting on a 13-yard pass to Paul Turner and an 18-yard pass to Taylor to second-and-15 to the UL 40.

Turner blocked a punt that rolled out of the end zone for a safety for a 16-7 Louisiana Tech lead before Barnes connected on field goals of 50 and 41 yards and Bryson Abraham returned an interception 50 yards for a TD on the final play of the first half for a 29-7 lead.

Louisiana Tech opened the second half with a three-play scoring drive as Driskel hit Gaines on a bubble screen and the sophomore raced 72 yards to the end zone for a 36-7 lead with 13:26 remaining in the third quarter.

After T.J. Posey recovered a Louisiana Tech fumble at the Tech 21, Nixon capped a three-play drive for the Ragin' Cajuns when he scored on a 5-yard run to cut the lead to 36-14 with 1:23 remaining in the third quarter.

Nixon, making his first career start for the Ragin' Cajuns, completed 17 of 33 passes for 161 yards with a touchdown while adding 54 yards on the ground with a touchdown in nine carries. Senior Jamal Robinson caught two passes for 27 yards, increasing his career receiving yards total to 2,007 yards and moving past Bill Sampy (1,988 yards, 2002-05) into sixth-place on the school's all-time receiving list.

Louisiana Tech outgained Louisiana, 428-331, and forced three turnovers. Gaines caught eight passes for 165 yards for the Bulldogs with Taylor recording five receptions for 78 yards.

Louisiana will return to action on Saturday (Oct. 10) when it opens Sun Belt Conference play against Texas State at Cajun Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN3.

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