Wednesday, December 28, 2011

TCU Hornd Frogs defeat Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 31-24

#18 TCU Horned Frogs Defeat Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 31-24
December 21, 2011
Associated Press
2011_pb_final_news.jpgSAN DIEGO -- Casey Pachall and the TCU Horned Frogs are headed to the Big 12 Conference on an eight-game winning streak.
Pachall highlighted a record-setting game with a 42-yard touchdown pass to Skye Dawson with 4:26 left to lift TCU (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) to a 31-24 victory against Louisiana Tech in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday night.
It was the eighth straight victory for Mountain West Conference champion TCU (11-2), which moves to the Big 12 next year. It was the third time this season TCU overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to win, including a 36-35 victory at Boise State on Nov. 12, the Broncos' only loss.
"It feels great because it's going to give us a lot of momentum," Pachall said. "As a young team, no one expected us to get this far." Pachall was 15 of 29 for 206 yards. He set school single-season records with 228 completions, 2,921 yards and a completion percentage of 66.5, breaking marks previously held by Andy Dalton. On the winning play, the sophomore took the snap in the shotgun and Dawson ran past safety Chad Boyd to pull in the long pass.
Pachall said he changed the play when he saw a blitz coming.
"It was a great catch by Skye and a touchdown," the QB said.
"Once I saw single coverage, I pretty much knew I could get by the guy," Dawson said. "You have to secure the ball and get in the end zone."
TCU is 3-0 in the Poinsettia Bowl.
The Horned Frogs, who beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl last season, had hoped to make it to a BCS bowl for the third straight season.
"It didn't turn out the way we expected or how we wanted it to but we came out with a win," Dawson said.
Western Athletic Conference champion Louisiana Tech (8-5) had its seven-game winning streak snapped hours after coach Sonny Dykes agreed to a contract extension through 2017.
TCU tied the game at 24 on Luke Shivers' 1-yard run with 7:49 left that capped an 18-play, 72-yard drive that consumed 9 minutes, 21 seconds. A replay review took away one yard on a completion from Pachall to Matthew Tucker to bring up a fourth-and-1 from the Bulldogs' 9-yard line. Tucker gained six yards for the first down. On third-and-goal from the 8, a pass interference call against the Bulldogs in the end zone gave TCU a first down on the 2. Shivers scored two plays later.
The Bulldogs had to punt on their next drive and TCU scored the go-ahead touchdown six plays later.
Louisiana Tech seemed to have the momentum after turning two TCU turnovers into scores in the third quarter to take a 24-17 lead.
TCU's Brandon Carter fumbled a punt that was recovered on the 12, setting up Hunter Lee's 2-yard run that tied the game at 17.
Quinn Giles intercepted a pass from Pachall on the Louisiana Tech 39-yard line. Three plays later, Myles White made a sensational one-handed, over-the-shoulder catch of a 61-yard pass from Colby Cameron for a touchdown and a 24-17 lead.
White reached up for the ball with his right hand and pulled it in.
"I tracked the ball late," he said. "I reached out and by the grace of God it kind of fell into my body. I thought we were going to bust the game open from that point."
The teams traded field goals in the first half before Quinton Patton pulled in a 2-yard TD pass from Cameron. The play originally was ruled an incompletion, but was overturned after video review. Patton got one foot inbounds before tumbling out of the side of the end zone.
"I felt like we had the best of them in the first half," White said. "Against good teams, you can't be lackadaisical against them."
Late in the first half, TCU cornerback Greg McCoy jumped a route, intercepted Cameron and returned it 25 yards to the Bulldogs' 25. Four plays later, Ed Wesley ran 7 yards up the gut to tie the game at 10.
"They were hitting us in the mouth in the first half and we had to counter," Dawson said.
TCU had 190 yards rushing.
"I was a little disappointed in the way we played tonight," Dykes said. "I wish we would have played better. I think we would have had a good opportunity to win. But they made plays down the stretch when they needed to and we didn't."

Monday, December 26, 2011

Techsters visit New York city

Techsters Get a Small Taste of the Big Apple

The Lady Techsters pose in front of a mural of Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon outside of Madison Square Garden.

The Lady Techsters pose in front of a mural of Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon outside of Madison Square Garden.  
Dec. 25, 2011

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - Jasmine Bendolph and her Louisiana Tech teammates took a small bite out of the Big Apple.
Bendolph and the Lady Techsters were in New York last weekend for the Chartwell Holiday Classic hosted by St. John's and found a little time away from the basketball court to experience life in the big city.
Following their triple overtime win over Prairie View on Sunday, the majority of the Tech travel party loaded the team bus and headed into the City where they made stops at Madison Square Garden, Ground Zero and Times Square.
"My favorite part was when we got to go to Times Square see all the beautiful lights and big stores and we got to walk around with all the people," said Bendolph, who like most of her Lady Techster teammates was making her first trip to New York.
"When I'm watching TV, I see it on movies. When you are there in person, it is so beautiful. When it's nighttime, it seems like it is daytime because it's so bright outside and everyone is wide awake and walking around. There is so much to do there."
The group had a pretty good guide for their excursion.
LA Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon knows New York ... and believe me when I say that New York City knows T-Spoon. After all, she spent a good portion of her adult life playing for the WNBA New York Liberty.
"It was fun," said freshman forward Whitney Frazier. "It was like (Coach Spoon) was famous. When people met her, they were so happy to see her."
Weatherspoon said she felt it was important that the players got an opportunity to experience and visit some of the landmarks of New York City.
"It's not just New York, it's anywhere we go," Weatherspoon said. "It's an opportunity to go around and to understand where you are and the history of that place; to understand what people have been there and done. To understand that you don't have it as bad as you think sometimes.

"New York City is a place that accepted me and that means the world to me. I wanted them to get an opportunity to see it and to understand what it is all about. It's a lot of fun, and there's a lot of history." The first stop was at Madison Square Garden. And although the team didn't get to enter the facility due to the play Peter Pan being held at the time, they still were able to walk around outside the arena and see the graphic illustrations and descriptions of some of the historic events, teams and people who have made the site famous.
"When Coach Spoon took us to Madison Square Garden, we got to see her banner (hanging outside) and her name was down in the floor from when she played (with the Liberty)," Bendolph said.
"They got a chance to see (some of) the history of Madison Square Garden and how beautiful it is," Weatherspoon said. "How many famous people have been in that place and just why it is so historical. You want them to understand it. There is reason behind why it is so historical."
Next was a stop at Ground Zero. The Tech party was able to view the site and the memorial through glass windows from an elevated view across the street. It was a surreal moment.
"If you have a heart then you are a little emotional about it," said Weatherspoon, who was only a few blocks away from the Twin Towers giving a presentation as a spokesperson for Planters Peanuts on the morning of 911. "What those people went through and are still going through even today."
Despite the fact that the LA Tech players were in elementary school when the tragic attack on U.S. soil occurred more than 10 years ago, they still understood the significance of the horrific event.
"I was in third grade (when it happened)," said Frazier. "I remember when it happened watching on TV. As old as I am now, getting a chance to see where it happened was important. I was just sad. I can't really explain it. Just standing there and looking across (at Ground Zero) and imaging what happened there ... it was sad."
The final stop of the night was at Times Square where the Christmas season was prevalent and the streets were packed with New Yorkers and tourists alike.
"Everyone talks about the lights and the Christmas tree (at the Rockefeller Center)," Weatherspoon said. "For them to get a chance to walk around in the mix of a lot of people from all over the world is a unique experience. The weather was cold, and they got a feel of New York City at Christmas time."
Frazier and her Tech teammates took it all in ... or at least aspects of it.
"I liked seeing all the lights in New York City and going to the shopping center part with all the lights and billboards on 42nd street," Frazier said. "We went shopping. We ate some peanuts (from a street vendor). We walked around and just looked at everything."
As memorable as the Sunday night trip into the city was for the Tech players, coaches and support staff, it might have been dinner the very first night in New York that stood out the most.
Weatherspoon made arrangements and took the team to Sylvia's, a world famous soul food restaurant where they not only ate some of the best fried chicken, fried fish, ribs, collards greens, potato salad and cornbread around, but also enjoyed some pretty good company. Kathy Jordan, the wife of the Reverend Al Sharpton and a good friend of Weatherspoon's, served as the host for the group.
"Sylvia's ... that was my hangout spot whenever I wanted to eat and relax," Weatherspoon said. "It is a very, very famous place that many, many people go to. Tourists are there all the time. For our young ladies to be able to eat some of the most famous soul food around, well the kids enjoyed it. They showed us incredible hospitality. For them to show our kids that kind of love was beautiful."
According to Bendolph and Frazier, the food wasn't half bad either.
"That restaurant was really good," Bendolph said. "My favorite was the collard greens that they made. It tasted like soul food from back home."
"I think that was my favorite part of the trip," Frazier said. "It was really good food, and the people were so nice. I want to go there again someday."
One Lady Techster that wasn't wowed by the bright lights of New York was senior forward Shantale Bramble-Donaldson, who lived in the Bronx from age 13 until she left for college. Bramble-Donaldson, who got an opportunity to play in front of dozens of family and friends during the tournament, said she was glad her teammates got a chance to experience the city.
"It makes me feel like, this is my home," Bramble-Donaldson said. "(My teammates) got to see a little bit of me. It made me feel good because they can understand why I dress this way or why I talk this way. They probably didn't understand before, but now they know. This is me. This is where I come from."
"We always talk about some of the clothes that she wears," Bendolph laughed. "We weren't too familiar with how they dress up there. We got to see all kinds of styles while we were in New York."
And New York got a chance to see a legendary brand of basketball - Lady Techster style.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Louisiana Tech takes lead early at Arkansas but Hogs outplay Dogs at the end despite support of family and friends

Please click on individual images to ENLARGE.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Louisiana Tech fell to Arkansas 77-63 Thursday night at Bud Walton Arena as freshman guard Raheem Appleby (Jacksonville, Ark) scored 23 points, his third straight 20-point game, on 10-of-22 shooting to pace the Bulldogs.
The defeat ends Tech's three-game winning streak as the Bulldogs fall to 7-6 on the year while the Razorbacks improve to 8-3.
The Bulldogs started out hot from the field making six of their first eight shots as they took a 17-6 lead at the 13:41 mark of the first half.
A jumper from Arkansas' Rashad Madden gave the Razorbacks their first lead of the game but a three-pointer from senior guard Trevor Gaskins (Alpharetta, Ga.) on Tech's next possession gave the Bulldogs a 22-20 advantage.
Tech fell behind 32-29 after a basket and two free throws from Arkansas. A layup from junior guard Brandon Gibson (Marianna, Fla.) cut the Bulldogs deficit to one, 32-31, with 2:17 left in the period
Appleby would score the only two points the rest of the half as Tech was outscored 8-2 to go into halftime down 40-33.
In the second half, the Bulldogs got within three after a layup from senior forward Romario Souza (Mias Gerias, Brazil) that was countered by Arkansas on the other end. A tip-in from Souza cut Tech's deficit back to three-points again, 45-42.
Down seven with 12:36 remaining in the period, Tech went on an 8-2 run over the next 3:08 behind four points from Souza to cut the deficit to 56-55.
A layup from Souza brought the Bulldogs to within two, 61-59, with 8:13 left in the game. That would be as close as Tech would get as the Razorbacks outscored the Bulldogs 16-4 the rest of the way.



Gaskins scored 12 and Souza contributed 10 points in the effort. Sophomore guard Cordarius Johnson (Coushatta, La.) and freshman guard Kenneth Smith (St. Petersburg, Fla.) had a team-high five rebounds apiece. Smith and Souza also had game-highs with three assists and two blocks, respectively.
For the game, Tech shot 38 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free throw line.
Arkansas was led by Ricky Scott with 18 points as B.J. Young and Devonta Abron scored 16 and 10 points, respectively. Madden grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
As a team, the Razorbacks went 31-for-64 from the field and 9-of-11 on free throws.
Louisiana Tech returns to action Dec. 29 in the Thomas Assembly Center at 5 p.m. as they take on Spring Hill College at 5 p.m.

Louisiana Tech football team loses to TCU 31-24

Bulldogs Fall Just Short in Poinsettia Bowl




Dec. 21, 2011

Final Stats |  Notes |  Photo Gallery 1  |  Photo Gallery 2 

SAN DIEGO - Eighteenth-ranked TCU scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to complete a 31-24 come-from-behind victory over Louisiana Tech in the 2011 San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Wednesday night at Qualcom Stadium.
With Tech (8-5) leading 24-17 midway through the fourth quarter, TCU running back Luke Shivers completed an impressive 18-play, 72-yard drive with a one-yard plunge with 7:49 to play to tie the game at 24-24.
After a three-and-out by the Bulldog offense on its ensuing possession, TCU (11-2) took the lead on a 42-yard strike from Casey Pachall to Skye Dawson with 4:26 to play. The touchdown came on a third-down-and-five play where TCU caught the Bulldogs blitzing and the speedster Dawson beat the LA Tech secondary for the score.
Quarterback Colby Cameron and the Bulldog offense had one final opportunity but another three-and-out - the third of the second half - forced a Tech punt and TCU ran out the clock by grinding out two first downs via the ground.
The Bulldogs had the momentum in the opening two quarters as Matt Nelson's 23-yard field goal with 8:30 to play in the first quarter gave Tech a 3-0 lead. The score capped a 13-play, 65-yard drive by Tech which was highlighted by a 28-yard pass from Cameron to Quinton Patton that took the Bulldogs down to the TCU 12-yard line.
However, Tech was unable to get into the endzone on six plays inside the TCU red zone, forcing the field goal attempt.
Following a Hunter Lee fumble inside the TCU 35-yard line late in the first quarter, the Horned Frogs drove deep inside Tech territory and tied the game on a Ross Evans 25-yard field goal with 14:11 to play in the second quarter.
Tech countered immediately with a seven-play, 59-yard drive that was capped by Cameron's two-yard strike to Patton - a play that was initially ruled as an incompletion but that was overturned after instant replay. Nelson's extra point made it 10-3. The drive was highlighted by a 26-yard toss from Cameron to Taulib Ikharo that took the ball down to the TCU four-yard line.
The Bulldogs appeared to have all the momentum heading into half until TCU corner Greg McCoy intercepted a Cameron pass with just over two minutes to play and returned it to the LA Tech 25-yard line. Four plays later, Ed Wesley tied the game on a seven-yard run with only 55 seconds to play in the half.
The two teams entered the locker room tied despite the fact Tech ran 21 more offensive plays than the Horned Frogs and outgained TCU 266-144.
TCU took its first lead of the contest on their opening drive of the second half as Matthew Tucker scored from one-yard out, ending an 11-play, 55-yard drive.
Trailing 17-10, Tech was forced to punt on its next possession but the Bulldogs special teams came up big as Josh Cuthbert recovered a muffed punt by Brandon Carter inside the TCU red zone. Three plays later, Lee hit paydirt from two yards out and the game was tied again at 17-17.
After neither team was able to move the ball on their next possessions, the Bulldog defense came up with a turnover as Quinn Giles intercepted Paschall on the Tech 39-yard line. On a third-down-and 10 play, Cameron found Myles White deep over the middle for a 61-yard touchdown. Nelson's extra point was good as Tech regained the advantage 24-17.
TCU then put together the drive of the night, marching 72 yards on 18 plays and tying the game at 24 on a one-yard run by Shivers. The Horned Frogs recorded six first downs on the drive, converting two fourth down conversions and picking up a huge first down on a defensive pass interference call in the end zone on a third-down-and-goal at the nine.
The Horned Frogs dominated the time of possession in the second half, holding onto the football for 24 minutes and 10 seconds while running 52 offensive plays to LA Tech's 21.
Cameron finished the game completing 21-of-43 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns with one interception while White (7-110, 1 TD) and Patton (5-67, 1 TD) were his top two targets. Lee rushed 20 times for 64 yards and one score.
Defensively, the Bulldogs were led by Jay Dudley (10 tackles, 1 TFL), Justin Goodman (9 tackles, 1.5 TFL) and Jamel Johnson (9 tackles).
Tech ends the season 8-5, the most wins by a Tech team since 1999. The Bulldogs also won their second Western Athletic Conference championship and participated in their second bowl game in the last four years.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tech men's basketball in Fayetteville on Thursday, December 22, 2011

We just received tickets to tomorrow night's Tech basketball game at University of Arkansas. I plan to watch Tech football win on TV tonight and then basketball win in Fayetteville. Will Tech be able to send radio team for the basketball game? Usually see T-Mo and our ace senior announcer there, but suspect they'll be suffering jet lag and not be able to attend. Arkansas games are mostly broadcast, but they don't seem to want the out-of-conference regional games on TV. Two wins in two days could certainly improve my winter-time blues.

Please click on images to ENLARGE. I hope to post some of my photos from the basketball game late tomorrow night or early Friday morning. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

USA Today sports writer calls the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 'the Ragin Cajuns' repeatedly in story: I hope he doesn't have a college degree from an actual institution of higher learning. Might be bad for the school's reputation: Gotta get the facts straight!

Posted 10/20/2011 9:52 PM    E-mail | Print | 

Western Athletic Conference Standings
Conference    Overall

W    L    W    L

Nevada    0    0    8    3

New Mexico St.    0    0    7    4

Idaho    0    0    7    4

Louisiana Tech    0    0    6    5

Hawaii    0    0    5    4

Utah State    0    0    5    5

Fresno St.    0    0    4    8

San Jose St.    0    0    3    7

Louisiana Tech has a new coach who will add seven new players to the program. Chances are that 34-year-old Michael White, who was hired after spending the last seven years as an assistant at Ole Miss, will also instill a new attitude with the Ragin' Cajuns.

White succeeds Kerry Rupp, who was fired after going 57-69 overall and 20-42 in the WAC in four seasons.

With the roster overhaul and White learning on the job, Louisiana Tech was selected to finish last in the WAC in both the preseason coaches' and media polls. White, the son of Duke athletic director Kevin White, is only concerned about how his players believe in themselves and his up-tempo style of play.

"Even though we lost our top two scorers (DeAndre Brown and Olu Ashaolu) from last season, we will find offensive production and hope to be competitive as we implement a new style of play," White told reporters.

The Cajuns' top returner is forward Brandon Gibson, who played only half of last season because he blew out his knee four minutes into the first WAC game. Gibson (9.2 points and 5.1 rebounds a game last season) is one of three returning starters.

Kenyon McNeaill (8.7 points a game) gained valuable experience at point guard as a freshman. Romario Souza, the other returning starter, offers Louisiana Tech some size inside at 6-10, 245 pounds.

White brought two players with him from Ole Miss, including senior guard Trevor Gaskins, who is eligible immediately because he already earned his degree at Mississippi. Gaskins started the first 10 games for Ole Miss last season and averaged 11 points.

The other former Ole Miss player is Isaiah Massey, a freshman forward who redshirted last season. Massey is eligible because he did not play with Mississippi. White recruited Massey to Ole Miss, beating programs such as St. John's and South Florida.


--F Olu Ashaolu, 6-7, will play his senior season at Oregon immediately because he also has completed his undergraduate degree. Ashaolu averaged 14.2 points and 9.4 rebounds a game last season.

--One thing in Michael White's favor is the schedule. The only non-conference game of note is at Arkansas on Dec. 22. Louisiana Tech also has 15 home games this season, tied for the most in the last 10 years.

--The Ragin' Cajuns are clearly the youngest team in the WAC, featuring 10 players who are freshmen and sophomores. At least the three sophomores on the roster -- Kenyon McNeaill, Cordarius Johnson and Lonnie Smith -- all had extensive playing time last season.

LAST YEAR: 12-20 overall, 2-14 in the WAC

HEAD COACH: Michael White, first year as head coach

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Overall, we need to improve our team athleticism and our play making ability," White told the media in his first press conference. "We need to start recruiting guys to help us implement a new style of play. I'm inheriting a group that was recruited for a different style. I do like the kids we have." -- First-year Cajuns coach Michael White


PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP: PG Kenyan McNeaill, G Trevor Gaskins, F Brandon Gibson, F Cordarius Johnson, C Romario Souza.

LINEUP BREAKDOWN: The backcourt of McNeaill and Gaskins is not bad and both have some experience. Gibson, Johnson and Souza are also experienced but they were recruited to the program by the previous staff. White will undoubtedly mix and match to come up with a lineup by the time the WAC games start.

SCOUTING THE NEWCOMERS: The seven newcomers are headlined by Gaskins, who should ease the transition for White to becoming a head coach. Gaskins is familiar with White and the system he will implement. Isaiah Massey, another Ole Miss transfer, should see plenty of playing time because of his familiarity with White since he was in high school. Freshman post player Michale Kyser attended Christian Life Center Academy (Humble, Texas) for one year and averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks a game.


--G Lonnie Smith can also be implemented into the starting lineup. He broke the school record for best three-point percentage by a freshman with a 39.8 mark (eighth best in the WAC), shattering the previous record of 30.5 percent set by Lonnie Cooper in 1995-96.

--G Darius Redding, who would be a junior, is not listed on the Ragin' Cajuns' roster. He played six games last year, starting three of them, before he was ruled academically eligible. Alex Carr, a freshman from Adamsville, Ala., is wearing Redding's No. 24 uniform.

--C Romario Souza must improve his production. He played in 28 games and started in 15 last year, averaging only 3.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 15.4 minutes a game.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Aubrey James Shepherd wear 2011 Louisiana Tech WAC Tshirt on first part and 2001 WAC La Tech shirt on second part of Fayetteville public-television video

Please click on individual images beneath the video file to enlarge view of wet-prairie and tree-protection area slated to become construction site.

More than 100 photos of mounded wet prairie parcel proposed as site for convention center on north side of Holiday Inn Express available on Flickr near bottom of urban infill set. A sample of the photos appears below the meeting video. Discussion of the site occurs near the end of the meeting. A slide bar at the bottom of the video allows a person skip over discussion of other subjects.

Please click on individual images to ENLARGE.

View east shows tiny wooded-wetland tree-protection area on low corner of several acres of  remnant of mounded wet prairie.

Mowing vegetation out of swale that carries water north to a creek unnecessary and harmful.

Healthy habitat important especially where it also protects watershed

Existing tree-protection area is best place for natural swale and sheet-flow surface water to soak in.

Ditch and pipe from existing Holiday Inn Express parking lot exemplies outmoded  high-impact water management

Existing stormwater pipe causes erosion of big ditch that sends dangerous flow to swale along road toward creek, increasing erosion and flooding of downtream property.

Natural swale through wet prairie takes water to low, wooded wetland at NW corner of property

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ryan Allen top punter in college football for 2011

Louisiana Tech's Ryan Allen Wins Ray Guy Award





Dec. 8, 2011

ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 8, 2011) - Louisiana Tech's Ryan Allen received the Ray Guy Award Thursday evening at the Home Depot College Football Awards, an honor given to the nation's top punter. The award was announced on a live national broadcast on ESPN.
Allen is only the second player from Louisiana Tech to win a national award, joining Troy Edwards' 1998 Biletnikoff Award. He was named a finalist for the Ray Guy Award on Nov. 21, the third player in school history to be named a finalist for a national award. Willie Roaf was a 1992 Outland Trophy finalist.
The accolade comes after Allen was named second team All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.
A native of Salem, Ore., Allen finished the regular season ranked first in the nation in punts inside the 20 (37) and punts inside the 10 (20) and third in punting average (46.31 yards per punt). He has 29 punts of over 50 yards this season and four of his punts rank in the top 10 in school history. Allen has had only five touchbacks in his 78 total punts and of the 26 punts to be returned by other teams, 11 have been returned for one, zero or negative yards.
Allen returns to Ruston on Friday in time for Louisiana Tech's fifth of 10 practices on campus in preparation for the team's San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl game against No. 15 TCU.
Tickets for the Poinsettia Bowl are on sale now through the LA Tech Ticket Office and range from $35 - $55. To purchase tickets, please call (318) 257-3631, email or visit
For complete coverage of Bulldog Football, follow @LATechPWalsh on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Teddy Allen's great summary of Louisiana Tech football 2011

How Next Year Turned Into This Year

A look back at the 2011 season

Nov. 29, 2011

By: Teddy Allen

Since the ball is shaped funny and some of the players are teenagers and few things except gravity are exact science anyway, odd things will happen now and then in college football.

Take the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs of 2011. They are playing like the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs of 2012, the team that's not even a team yet. But when they get to be a team, with key players returning with a year's more experience and with a schedule that doesn't feature games against All Three Big Mississippi Schools away, plus three of the final four games on the road, they're supposed to be sort of good.

"I wouldn't want to play us," said their coach, who is Sonny Dykes and who also coaches - what are the odds? - the '11 team! In just his second year in Ruston, with a brutally front-loaded and back-loaded schedule and only 18 months of recruiting under his belt, Dykes and his charges waltzed into September with a resume few feared.


Just four starters back on each side of the ball;

Picked to finish fourth in the Western Athletic Conference - and that's with Boise State now in the Mountain West - and picked 90-something in the nation;

That road schedule;

A severe lack of experience at quarterback, something that can cause problems on a pass-happy offense, sort of like a wet fuse can cause problems on a stick of dynamite.

In other words, the Bulldogs did not appear to be the FBS answer to the Green Bay Packers.

But you know, it was just the weirdest thing...

To start with, there was that Strange September. Once the dust cleared and you could see what had actually happened, any reasonable person would declare Tech could have been 4-0. Or 0-4.

What the Bulldogs were was 1-3.

In the opener, Tech nearly upset Southern Miss, a 12-point favorite, in Hattiesburg. Lost in a tropical storm, 19-17.

Then an overtime win at home against FCS opponent Central Arkansas, a 48-42 shootout. Whew.

Then a 35-34 loss to 7-point favorite Houston at home - Tech had led 34-7 - and a 26-20 loss, again in overtime, in Starkville to Mississippi State, an 18.5-point favorite.

Chew on all that a second. Southern Miss and Houston, likely BCS-bowl bound, would both be ranked in the Top 20 by November, and Tech lost to both by a total of three points. And to the SEC's State in OT.

Strange. Tech played brilliantly in all three at times, only to shoot itself in the cleat with late turnovers in scoring position in all three.

But then the WAC season opened. At home! And Tech was favored! -- and lost, 44-26, laying an egg as big as four footballs. Maybe it was in part due to the emotional toll of an unforgiving September and three losses by a total of nine points. Whatever, the Bulldogs fell hard to a feast-or-famine Hawai'i team that would eventually limp into late November at 5-5 overall and 3-3 in the WAC.

This was not particularly encouraging, seeing as how Tech's record was now 1-4, with five of the next six games on the road.

So of course, Tech rattled off seven wins in a row, spoiling two homecomings and winning their own (in Joe Aillet Stadium against San Jose State.)

More importantly, Tech won the Western Athletic Conference title, outright, the Bulldogs first WAC championship since 2001. From 1-4 quicksand to 8-4 and the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.

Not a bad two months' work. Seven straight wins. First time Tech had done that since 1973-74.

All this despite plane trips and injured knees and the emotional baggage of three tight September losses. In a special twist, the Bulldogs became bowl eligible in a Southeastern Conference stadium, whipping Ole Miss like a tied-up goat, 27-7 (and it could have been worse) in Oxford.

Two of the seven were in serious fourth-quarter doubt, the first at Utah State. True freshman quarterback Nick Isham hit the bench late with a bruised shoulder and junior Colby Cameron came on to help guide Tech to 10 fourth-quarter points while the defense, devoted to the cause all afternoon, made a key stop late.

Much more antsy was the contest in Reno, where Nevada, 5-0 in the WAC at the time, held a 20-3 fourth-quarter lead and all the cards. Tech's offense had gained roughly the length of your arm all afternoon before turning into football's version of the Harlem Globetrotters - with 21 points in the finals 10 minutes. Oh, it was a deal, all right, and nothing about it was easy. Cameron passed for 237 yards in the fourth as Tech strung together touchdown drives of 84, 89 and 92 yards and took a 24-20 lead with 1:42 left.

It ended that way, with Bulldogs pouring onto the field and both the clock and Nevada's chances expiring as Tech senior linebacker Adrien Cole sacked the Wolfpack QB to end the improbable comeback and set Tech up for one more regular season test.

The Bulldogs passed. Tech 44, New Mexico State 0. On a rainy November night in Aillet Stadium, the Bulldogs blanked the Aggies and accepted a trip to sunny San Diego for the Dec. 21 bowl.

In retrospect, the winning streak started when the turnovers stopped. When the turnover situation turned around, so did Tech's season. Tech climbed from 1-4 to 8-4 by playing three turnover-free games. Tech returned five INTs and an opponent's fumble for touchdowns during the stretch.

And there were other factors too. Like the punting of Ryan Allen, a Ray Guy Award finalist who consistently flipped the field with his knack for getting the ball in position to be downed within the 20 yard line, something he was best in the nation in doing through 12 games (37 of 78 times.)

Or like the defense, which allowed no rusher 100 yards in 10 of Tech's 12 games and which was one of the nation's best in making offenses earn their way: Tech ranked 12th in the nation in third-down efficiency and, of the nation's top 20 teams in third-down efficiency, first in third downs defended with 197.

There was the offensive line, a quintet that seldom rested. The dependable and deep defensive line that was a major cause of Tech's WAC-high 20 interceptions, ranking a mere third in the nation.

And somewhere in here was a team toughness and road-warrior mentality that solidified even as the Bulldogs lost a safety, fullback, kick returner and punt returner to season-ending injuries. At Oxford, Tech at one point had in its offensive backfield three players, and only one of them was on scholarship. By mid-October, Tech had found the confidence and ability to throw the ball downfield: half of its passes of 20 yards or more through nine games - 19 of 38 - came in the final five games of its seven-game win streak. The Bulldogs were 10-1 against the spread, 2-0 against homecoming road crowds and, at Fresno State and Ole Miss, emptied out stadiums by early in the fourth quarter.

A team that most people figured to win six games at the most - present company included - has left fans scratching their heads for all sorts of reasons. It's been a team that's been sometimes frustrating to watch but that's been mostly fun to watch, and easy to root for. They seem to pull for each other and to play for each other.

And it's not over yet.