- Ben Mintz
Louisiana Tech (2-2, 1-0 CUSA) hosts South Alabama in a non-conference game at 6pm Saturday night at Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston. The Bulldogs lost a gut wrenching game 17-16 last week at South Carolina of the SEC.
LA Tech dominated the first 3 quarters of the game, leading 13-0 before South Carolina mounted a 4th quarter comeback. Tech sophomore QB J’Mar Smith was 23 of 33 passing for 281 yards with 1 Touchdown and 1 key interception. With Tech leading 13-0 early in the 4th quarter, J’Mar forced a pass that he should have thrown away that was picked off by the Gamecocks. This play got the crowd back into the game. South Carolina then scored 14 unanswered points to take a 14-13 lead.
Tech did a great job responding with a long drive that ended in a Jonathan Barnes short field goal to take a 16-14 lead with under a minute left in the game. South Carolina Quarterback Jake Bentley made two key plays on the final drive, the first a long scramble then a miraculous 45 yard pass into double coverage that South Carolina Wide Receiver Bryan Edwards caught at the Tech 14 yard line. South Carolina then won the game with a 31 yard field goal in stunning fashion.
Beating an SEC team at their home stadium would have been a huge feather in the cap for the Bulldogs but now they must bounce back. They are taking on a South Alabama team who has struggled in blowout losses to Ole Miss and Oklahoma State so far this year. LA Tech is a 14 point favorite in the game. The big question is how will the Bulldogs respond to this tough loss last week? Tech has played Mississippi State, Western Kentucky and South Carolina the last 3 weeks and must avoid a letdown.
The last two performances by the Tech defense are encouraging. The Bulldogs have allowed only 39 points in two games on the road against tough completion. True freshman cornerback Amik Robertson continues to impress. On the offensive side, QB J’Mar Smith continues to mature. Tulane transfer Wide Receiver Teddy “The Real Deal” Veal had 10 catches for 110 yards at South Carolina. Veal has emerged at the slot receiver position as a playmaker. Wide Receiver Rhashid Bonnette has 9 catches for 234 yards in the last 2 games as well and has emerged as the deep threat. The Bulldogs only rushed for 80 yards against a tough South Carolina defensive front and will look to re-stablish Running Backs Jared Craft and Boston Scott in this game.
LA Tech is inducting seven people into their Hall of Fame on Saturday. Here is the list:
Tommy Joe Eagles
As always, the LA Tech football game will aire live at 6pm on 100.7 FM/1340 AM The Ticket with pre-game starting at 4:30 with the Hall of Famer Dave Nitz and Teddy Allen. The Bulldogs return to Conference USA play with a road game at UAB in Birmingham next Saturday afternoon.