- Staff Reporter
- Photo: Tech RB Justin Henderson rushed for a career-high 141 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over FIU (Credit: Tom Morris - LATechSportsPix.com)
HOUSTON – Following up on arguably its most complete performance of the 2019 season, the Louisiana Tech football team (3-1, 1-0 C-USA) will continue Conference USA play this Saturday evening, traveling to Houston, Texas, to take on the Rice Owls (0-4, 0-0 C-USA) from Rice Stadium at 6:00 p.m.
- Date: Saturday, September 28
- Time: 6:00 p.m.
- Location: Ruston, La.
- Venue: Rice Stadium (47,000)
- Live Stats: RiceOwls.com
- Live Audio: Tunein.com (Louisiana Tech Football)
- Live Updates: @LATechFB (Twitter)
- TV: ESPN 3
- PxP: David Saltzman
- Analyst: ND Kalu
- Radio: LA Tech Sports Network
- PxP: Dave Nitz
- Analyst: Teddy Allen
- Sideline: Malcolm Butler
The Bulldogs remain one of the hotter teams in the league after an offensive outburst extended their winning streak to three straight. Tech is just one of two teams in C-USA with three wins through the first four weeks of the season.
Meanwhile, Rice enters Saturday’s game winless in its first four contests, although having played one of the more difficult non-conference schedules in the country. Last week, the Owls held the top offense in the country in Baylor to just 21 points and scoreless in the second half.
This will mark the 13th all-time meeting between the two schools, with Tech holding an 8-4 edge over the Owls across the first 12. The Bulldogs have won five straight matchups against Rice, which is the longest current winning streak among all series between Conference USA teams. Over its last five meetings, Tech has outscored Rice, 249-105, averaging 48.8 PPG during that span.
The Bulldogs are coming off a 43-31 win over FIU to begin conference play, sending the Panthers to their first 0-2 league start since joining the conference in 2013. Tech rolled up season highs in total offense (565), rushing yards (275), points (43), first downs (31) and total plays (84) in the victory. The 565 total yards were the most by a Tech team in a conference game since Oct. 29, 2016 vs. Rice (735 yards).
After the offensive showcase last Friday, Tech leads C-USA in total offense (455.3 YPG) and first downs (96).
A large part of Tech’s success offensively came to the running game, specifically junior running back Justin Henderson, who rushed for a career-best 141 yards and three touchdowns. As a team, the Bulldogs rushed for 275 yards – its most as a team since Nov. 19, 2017 at UTEP (343 yards). Henderson also became the first Tech RB with a three-touchdown rushing performance since Boston Scott (2016). In the win, Henderson averaged 9.4 yards per rush attempt.
Tech placekicker Bailey Hale laid claim to 19 of Tech’s 43 points last Friday, as the senior set a new school record among kickers for points scored in a game. Hale connected on all five of his field goal tries (25 (twice), 29, 41 and 45) and all four of his extra-point attempts. His 5-for-5 outing tied his own program record for field-goal makes without a miss after going 5-for-5 last season. For his efforts, Hale picked up C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week accolades.
Over the first four games of 2019, the Tech defense has stood tall as one of the top defensive teams in the red zone this season. Tech has posted the 4th-best red-zone defense in the country, allowing its opponents just 10 scores in 18 attempts.
In fact, the Bulldogs have already forced four opponent turnovers on downs in the red zone this season after combining for four total turnovers on downs in the red zone over the past five seasons combined.
Tech junior CB Amik Robertson turned in an outstanding showing in the Bulldogs 35-7 victory at Bowling Green two weeks ago, and followed it up with another strong performance last week vs. FIU. Robertson came up with a timely 30-yard onside kickoff return for a touchdown in the waning seconds of Friday night’s game, capping the win for the Bulldogs.
Robertson remains one of the top defensive backs in college football and is tied for the nation’s lead in passes defended with eight through the first four weeks of 2019. Among active career FBS leaders, Robertson ranks 7th in total passes defended with 35 over his first 30 games. In fact, among the top 10, Robertson is just one of two juniors (remaining eight are seniors) and is the only defensive back with 10 interceptions.
FBS Career Active Leaders (Passes Defended)
- Bryce Hall, Virginia – 44 (42 games)
- Essang Bassey, Wake Forest – 41 (43 games)
- Chris Jackson, Marshall – 41 (40 games)
- Amari Henderson, Wake Forest – 38 (38 games)
- Jace Whittaker, Arizona – 38 (42 games)
- Isaiah Rodgers, UMass – 37 (37 games)
- Amik Robertson, LA Tech – 35 (30 games)
- Jeff Gladney, TCU – 34 (41 games)
- Monquavion Brinson, Georgia Southern – 34 (39 games)
- Thomas Graham Jr., Oregon – 33 (30 games)
This season, the Tech receiving corps has been an “all-hands-on-deck” approach. Through the team’s first four games, 12 different receivers have caught at least one pass. Eight of which have caught at least six passes. Tech has five different receivers averaging at least 35 yards per game, but not one over 55 yards per contest.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Football, please follow Louisiana Tech on social media at @LATechFB (Twitter), /LATechFootball (Facebook) and @LATechFB (Instagram) or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.
Article sourced from provided press release