Saturday, November 13, 2010

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs beat New Mexico State Lobos 41-20

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LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Louisiana Tech’s Phillip Livas scored on a 62-yard reverse run with less than five minutes left in the game and then scored again on a direct snap nine-yard run with 1:31 remaining as Louisiana Tech recorded its first road win in two years with a 41-20 victory at New Mexico State.

Livas recorded 84 rushing yards on five carries and 29 receiving yards on four catches while Lennon Creer ran the ball 17 times for 107 yards and another score. Louisiana Tech (4-6, 3-3 WAC) outgained the Aggies (2-8, 1-5 WAC) 426-366 en route to the win.

“It was a good win and hard fought,” said Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes. “I thought New Mexico State played well. We had a hard time getting pressure on their quarterback but it was a good win for us. We stopped them when we needed to and we made a big third down conversion when we needed to late in the ballgame.”

New Mexico State kept close to Louisiana Tech most of the game and pulled within a touchdown with 6:14 left in the game off of Tyler Stampler’s 31-yard field goal but it was Livas’ long reverse run for a touchdown that decided the game.

“That was huge,” said Dykes, who recorded his first road win as a head coach. “We felt like we could get a first down at the very least but anytime Phillip [Livas] gets the ball in the open field he has the possibility to take it the distance. He does what he does and he made a big play for us at a critical point in the game.”

On the ensuing kickoff New Mexico State fumbled the ball and Justin Goodman recovered to give Tech a short field at the NMSU 37-yard line. The Bulldogs advanced the ball to the Aggie nine-yard line before Livas ran the ball in on a direct snap play in Tech’s “WildDawg” offensive formation.

Ross Jenkins was 19-for-31 for 184 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Richie Casey led Tech receivers with four catches for 47 yards.

Javontay Crowe led the Tech defense with nine total tackles, an interception and two pass break-ups. Tech’s defense combined for 10 tackles for a total loss of 14 yards and two interceptions.

Tech took the7-0 lead with Jenkins’ 11-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Guillot with seven minutes remaining in the first quarter. Guillot recorded his first career touchdown as the walk-on wide receiver became the 13th different Bulldog to reach the end zone this season.

After forcing a three-and-out for New Mexico State, Tech quickly struck again as the Bulldogs drove 70 yards on six plays in less than two minutes. Lennon Creer capped off the drive with a five-yard run as Tech took a 14-3 advantage.

Chad Boyd returned an Andrew Manley interception for 30 yards on the Aggies next drive which set up Matt Nelson’s 47-yard field goal. That marked the longest field goal that Nelson has kicked this year.

On New Mexico State’s next drive, Todd Lee caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Manley, beating the Tech secondary to cut the Bulldog lead to seven points.

After both teams exchanged punts, Tech took possession with five minutes remaining in the half and drove 83 yards on nine plays with Jenkins running the ball in from seven yards out. Nelson’s successful PAT gave LA Tech the 24-10 lead as Tech’s 83-yard drive marked the third-longest scoring drive in terms of yards this season.

On Tech’s first drive of the second half, Ross Jenkins pass was tipped, intercepted by Boyblue Aoelua and returned 41 yards for a touchdown. That marked the first time a Tech opponent has returned an interception for a touchdown since Sept. 20, 2008, a span of 33 games.

Following the Aggie defensive touchdown, both teams traded a pair of possessions before Javontay Crowe gave Tech an opportunity as he recorded his first career interception. Crowe’s seven-yard interception return gave Tech the ball at the New Mexico State 30 yard line but the Bulldogs went three-and-out on the possession and Nelson missed a 44-yard field goal attempt wide left.

Tech controlled the ball for the first third of the last quarter, eating up 4:35 on the game clock but the Bulldogs were only able to drive 41 yards on 11 plays in that time. Unable to reach the end zone after getting 1st-and-Goal on the NMSU seven-yard line, Tech was forced to kick a field goal with Nelson hitting a 21-yard attempt to give the Bulldogs a 27-17 advantage.

Louisiana Tech returns to action in two weeks when the Bulldogs travel to San Jose State on Nov. 27. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT.

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