Saturday, September 29, 2012

Louisiana Tech at 4-0 tops Western Athletic Conference roundup for Sept. 29, 2012

Louisiana Tech on You Tube.

LA Tech Wins at Virginia to Improve to 4-0

Courtesy: Associated Press
Louisiana Tech 44, Virginia 38CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia - Top 25 voters, take notice.

For the second consecutive weekend, Louisiana Tech went on the road and handed a BCS opponent a loss on its home field as the Bulldogs defeated Virginia 44-38 before 42,027 fans at Scott Stadium Saturday afternoon.

After trailing by as much as 14 points in the game, Tech used 34 unanswered points spanning from late in the second quarter to early in the fourth to improve to 4-0 on the season. The 4-0 start is the first by a LA Tech team since 1975. The Bulldogs two wins this year over Illinois and Virginia by a combined score of 96-55 marks the first time a LA Tech team has posted two victories over BCS schools in the same season since 1997 when it beat Alabama and California.

Saturday's win didn't earn style points nor did it come easy as Tech overcame a slow start and then had to withstand a late Virginia rally to hang on for the victory.

With Tech clinging to a 44-38 lead and facing a fourth down and one yard from its own 35-yard line, the Bulldog called a timeout and appeared to be preparing to punt the ball back to the Cavaliers who had scored touchdowns on its last two possessions.

However, head coach Sonny Dykes put his offensive unit back out on the field. Virginia, which had put its punt return unit out in anticipation of a punt, ran an 11th defender onto the field preparing for the Tech offensive play. However, the Cavaliers punt returner didn't notice and the Cavaliers were flagged for 12 men on the field, giving Tech a first down. With Virginia out of timeouts, the Bulldogs ran out the clock for the win.

"This was a crazy football game," said Dykes. "I thought we played well in the third quarter and took charge early in the fourth quarter. You have to give Virginia credit. They kept coming back and kept coming back, and we had to hold on for the win.

"This was a hard-fought win. Those guys are big and aggressive. I thought we played well against the run and created some big turnovers. We didn't play our best, but anytime we win on the road, it's a quality win."

Early on it appeared as though it might be a long day for LA Tech as Virginia racked up 200 yards of total offense in the opening quarter to build an early 14-3 lead on a pair of touchdown passes - one by running back Perry Jones and one by starting quarterback Michael Rocco.

Tech scored its first touchdown of the day when Colby Cameron found R.P. Stuart on a three-yard fade pattern in the corner of the endzone with 1:54 to play in the first quarter, capping an eight-play, 39-yar drive. The big play of the drive was a roughing the passer called on the Cavaliers on an unsuccessful fourth-down play by Tech, keeping the Bulldog offense on the field.

Virginia (2-3) scored the first 10 points of the second quarter, including a 73-yard touchdown strike from Rocco to Khalek Shepherd. A Drew Jarrett 35-yard field goal at the 7:35 mark of the second stanza upped the UVA lead to 24-10 - the biggest deficit of the season for LA Tech.

"We never got into any type of offensive rhythm or sync," Dykes said. "It was not Colby's best game but we scored 44 points so he did some things well. We just never seemed to get into a groove. We have to get that corrected and get our mojo back on offense."

However, the Tech defense - which had to overcome injuries to starting tackle Justin Ellis and linebacker Solomon Randle - came up with the first of its three interceptions of the day as Quinn Giles picked off Rocco on a tipped pass and returned it to the UVA 25-yard line with just under four minutes to play in the half. Two plays, later Ray Holley took a handoff and sprinted untouched around the right end for a 16-yard score to cut the deficit to 24-17.

Tech got one final chance in the first half and used nine plays to march 37 yards as Matt Nelson kicked the second of his three field goals on the day as the Bulldogs trailed only 24-20 at intermission.

The third quarter proved to be the difference as Tech outscored UVA 21-0. Holley opened the scoring with an 11-yard run to give Tech its first lead of the game at 27-24, finishing off a 14-play, 73-yard drive to open the second half.

Dave Clark then intercepted Rocco on Virginia's next possession, setting up the Tech offense on the Cavaliers' 43-yard line. Four plays later, Cameron faked a handoff up the middle and ran 13-yards untouched for a 34-24 Bulldog lead with 6:00 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Backup linebacker Chip Hester who was playing for the injured Randle then came up with maybe the biggest defensive play of the day as he stepped in front of a Rocco pass and returned it 32-yards for a score. Nelson's extra point made the score 41-24 with 5:08 to play in the third. Hester led Tech with 14 tackles while Antonio Mitchum registered 11 stops.

"We had a ton of injuries in this game," Dykes said. "We had a lot of guys play who haven't seen a lot of action. I thought Chip did a great job, and I'm proud of the way he played. Virginia knew we were going to gear up to try to stop the run, and I thought their quarterback played well early. We finally started to get some pressure on him and (recorded) some interceptions which led to some points."

After Nelson added a 45-yard field goal with 12:47 to play in the fourth quarter to give Tech a 20-point advantage at 44-24, Virginia backup quarterback Phillip Sims led a Cavalier rally. Sims found Jake McGee for a three-yard score with 6:56 to play and then hit Adrian Gamble on a 24-yard toss with 2:08 to play to close the gap to 44-38, setting up the crazy ending to the game.

Cameron completed 23-of-36 passes for 218 yards and one touchdown while adding 23 yards and one score on the ground. Kenneth Dixon led Tech's ground attack with 78 yards on 16 carries while Holley added 69 yards and two scores on 14 attempts.

Quinton Patton led all Tech receivers with seven receptions for 88 yards.

Tech won despite being outgained 625 to 385 yards by UVA. The Bulldogs were plus three in the turnover margin battle and are now plus 24 in turnover margin during its 11 game regular season winning streak.

The Bulldogs return to action next Saturday when they host UNLV at Joe Aillet Stadium at 6 p.m.

San Jose State 12, Navy 0ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- With an offense that moved the ball but couldn't get into the end zone, San Jose State turned to the accurate foot of its freshman kicker Saturday to win on the road against Navy.

In the process of winning their fourth win in a row, the Spartans held the Navy offense to its fewest yards gained in 10 years.

Austin Lopez kicked four field goals to complement the strong defensive effort as San Jose State blanked the Midshipmen 12-0, marking the first time in six years that Navy had been shut out.

Lopez's kicks came from 29, 19, 32 and 43 yards as the Spartans failed to score a touchdown despite gaining 388 yards.

"For a freshman kicker to come in and set a school record is phenomenal," said San Jose State coach Mike MacIntyre. "I would have been alright with 3-0. I honestly don't care about the points. I just want the W's."

Lopez's 4-for-4 night tied a school record. He is now 9 for 9 on field goal attempts this season. The 43-yard field goal matched his season-long.

"I feel good going on the field every time I'm called on because I feel my team supports me and knows I am going to make it. They have confidence me," Lopez said.

Lopez's final field goal came with 7:46 to play after the Navy offense had failed to pick up a first down on a fourth-down play at the Spartans' 34.

"The last one was most important because it put us up by two scores," Lopez said.

The 4-1 start by the Spartans is the best since the 2006 New Mexico Bowl team opened the season with a loss followed by four wins in a row. They open Western Athletic Conference play in two weeks against Utah State.

The last time Navy opened the season 1/3 was in 2002 when it finished 2-10 for the season.

David Fales completed 29 of 34 passes for 280 yards for San Jose State as Ryan Otten (94 yards) and Kyle Mann (62 yards) each had eight catches. Still, the Spartans needed to turn to their defense to shut down Navy's triple option offense.

"Our defense stepped up. We just have to execute on the third-and-shorts," said Fales, referring to the Spartans making just 9 of 16 third-down conversions. "They (Navy) would go up an extra notch on that third-and-short. They take away things downfield, so you have to check down. And if you can't check down, you need to find some other way."

The Midshipmen gained just 144 yards, their fewest since Nov. 16, 2002, when they gained only 82. Trey Miller led Navy with 28 yards on 14 carries and completed 4 of 9 passes for 41 yards before he was replaced by freshman Keenan Reynolds in the fourth quarter.

"I think we were a little discombobulated out there. They just outplayed us," said Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo.

Navy's historically high-scoring offense has now scored just 58 points in four games, 41 coming in a rout of VMI last week.

"We had some opportunities. We have to find a way to score," said Niumatalolo. "I am disappointed we played like that, but there is not much more to do other than to go back to work."

The Spartans were without their top tackler from the last two seasons, Keith Smith. His replacement, Josh Fasavalu, led the team with nine tackles and recovered a key fumble on Navy's first drive.

On that possession, Navy drove 66 yards after the kickoff but turned the ball over on a fumble by Miller at the 9, which was caused by Travis Johnson. Ranked fourth in the nation in sacks coming into the game, San Jose State had four sacks. David Ogburn Jr. also had a second-half interception for the Spartans.

Johnson also had three tackles for losses, extending to 11 games his streak for registering a tackle for a loss in a game.

"Our big focus was to stay disciplined and play like we play," said Johnson. "Our offense had its ups and downs, so this was a game where we had to shut them down."

San Jose State led 3-0 at the break after Lopez's 29-yard field goal with 10:48 left in in the half. The kick followed an 11-play, 68-yard drive by the Spartans following the fumble recovery.

Lopez also kicked a 19-yard field goal following a 73-yard Spartans drive that lasted 7 minutes, 8 seconds to start the second half. He kicked his last two field goals in the fourth quarter to cap drives of 58 and 19 yards.
UTSA 35, New Mexico State 14LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Eric Soza completed 19-of-32 passes for 269 yards, added another 55 on the ground and accounted for a total of four touchdowns, as UTSA won its first-ever Western Athletic Conference game, 35-14, at New Mexico State on Saturday night.

The Roadrunners (5-0), who scored 28 unanswered points after falling behind 7-0, extended their winning streak to six games dating back to last season's finale and they now have outscored their opponents, 238-85, during that stretch. UTSA now has won all three of its road outings this fall after failing to do so in four chances a year ago.
The Aggies struck first on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Manley to Trevor Walls at the 4:34 mark of the first quarter.

UTSA answered by taking advantage of a turnover when Austin Franklin muffed a punt that was recovered by Jeremiah Moeller at the NMSU 33. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved the ball back to the 48, but Soza promptly found Evans Okotcha all alone on a wheel route down the left sideline for the Birds' first score of the night.

The Roadrunners then took a 14-7 lead after Soza scampered up the middle for a 33-yard touchdown. His first rushing score of the year capped a 13-play, 84-yard drive that chewed up 5:13 off the clock.

UTSA struck again on its first play on its next possession when Soza used a play-action fake to find Kenny Bias all alone behind the secondary for a school-record 82-yard TD pass.

The opportunistic Roadrunners turned a Nic Johnston third-quarter interception at the Aggies 16-yard line into more points.

On second-and-9 from the 15, Soza found Cole Hicks all alone in the right corner of the end zone for UTSA’s 11th score off its 15th forced turnover this season.

Trailing 28-7, the Aggies put together a long drive late in the third quarter, but on the third play of the fourth quarter, Erik Brown picked off Manley in the corner of the end zone to give the ball back to UTSA and keep the lead at 21.

However, New Mexico State forced a three-and-out and got the ball back on its own 45. Three plays later, Manley found Franklin on a seam route for a 41-yard score to make it 28-14 with 11:33 remaining.

UTSA responded with a 12-play, 72-yard drive that lasted 7:27 and was capped with a 9-yard TD rush up the middle by Evans Okotcha, which finished off the scoring.

The Roadrunners will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Rice (1-4).

Nevada 34, Texas State 21San Marcos, Texas – After jumping out to a 21-20 halftime lead, the Texas State football team missed some key scoring opportunities to score in the second half as the Bobcats fell to Nevada, 34-21, Saturday afternoon at Bobcat Stadium. Andy Erickson led the Bobcats with career-bests of eight catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Texas State got off to a fast start when the Bobcats took advantage of an interception by Justin Iwuji to score the first touchdown in the game. Iwuji intercepted a pass by the Wolf Pack's Cody Fajardo on a third-and-two play from Nevada's 33-yard line and returned it 16 yards. Five plays later, Marcus Curry scored his fourth TD run of the season on a one-yard plunge to give Texas State a 7-0 lead.

Nevada answered by driving 75 yards in 10 plays to score its first touchdown when Fajardo hit Zack Sudfeld for a nine-yard TD pass to tie the score at 7-7.

The Bobcats were driving later in the quarter following a kickoff return by Erickson to the 49-yard line. Texas State drove the ball down to Nevada's 25-yard line before Isaiah Battle fumbled the ball and the Wolf Pack recovered at the 33-yard line.

Nevada drove to Texas State's two-yard line before the Bobcat defense stiffened and forced the Wolf Pack to settle for a 24-yard field goal and a 10-7 lead.

The Bobcats answered following a 28-yard punt return by Erickson to take possession at Nevada's 23-yard line. Rutherford hit Tim Gay on a two-yard shovel pass for a touchdown to give Texas State a 14-10 lead.

Texas State extended its lead to 21-10 when Rutherford hit Erickson for a 28-yard touchdown to give the junior wide receiver his first career touchdown reception.

Nevada didn't take long to answer as Fajardo completed three of his four passes, including a two-yard TD pass to Sudfeld to make the score 21-20 at halftime.

The Wolf Pack continued their resurgence right away in the second half as Nevada went on a 91-yard drive to take a 27-21 lead after Fajardo scored on a six-yard run.

Nevada got some breathing room with just over a minute left in the third quarter when Fajardo connected with Sudfeld for a 12-yard touchdown pass to make the score 34-21.

Midway in the fourth quarter, Tyler Arndt came in to jump start Texas State's offense and led the Bobcats down to Nevada's 12-yard line following a personal foul penalty and a pass interference penalty against  the Wolf Pack.

The Bobcats drove to Nevada's five-yard line but came up short on a fourth-down-and-three play on their final possession.

With the loss, Texas State falls to 2-2 this season heading into a road game at New Mexico next Saturday, Oct. 6. Kickoff is set for 5:00 p.m. (Central) and the game can be heard on Texas State's radio network.

North Carolina 66, Idaho 0CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – There’s that saying: When it rains, it pours. And that it did Saturday afternoon as the University of North Carolina swamped the Idaho Vandals 66-0 during a steady rain at Kenan Memorial Stadium.

“The positive thing is the game is over,” coach Robb Akey said. “This was an ugly afternoon.”

Indeed. The Vandals (0-5) struggled offensively and the defense often found itself with its back to the end zone. The Vandals turned the ball over five times (four interceptions and one fumble), two punts were blocked and the Tar Heels converted on more than 50 percent of their third downs.

“We didn’t do a lot of good things today,” Akey said. “I think we made every mistake you can make in a college football game.”

The Vandals found themselves in a big hole quickly. Less than 90 seconds into the game, the Tar Heels – aided by a 32-yard gain on third-and-long, scored on a 36-yard pass from Bryn Renner to Sean Tapley with 13:32 left in the first. Four minute later, it was 14-0 when Erik Highsmith recovered a fumble in the end zone with 9:36 to go in the opening quarter.

Bobby Cowan’s punt was blocked after Idaho’s second drive stalled. UNC recovered it at the Vandal 5. Two plays later, it was 21-0 on Giovani Bernard’s two-yard run with 6:51 to go in the opening period. Before the opening quarter was out, the Tar Heels were up 28-0 on Renner’s 30-yard pass to Eric Ebron with 2:27 to go.

Solomon Dixon, with his second interception of the season, ended North Carolina’s final drive of the opening period at the Idaho 6. The Vandals were their most productive of the game over the next seven plays only to have Blackman intercepted at the UNC 42 with 10:35 to go in the opening half.

In one play, the Tar Heels had padded their lead to 35-0 on Bernard’s 68-yard run with 10:22 to go until halftime.

The Vandals’ offensive woes – compounded by penalties, continued and they failed to move the ball on their next possession. The defense, however, stopped the Tar Heels at the Idaho 16 on Carolina’s next possession. Still, UNC scored on Casey Barth’s 33-yard field goal for a 38-0 lead with 4:51 left in the half.

Another interception – this one by Dion Guy, put the Tar Heels at the Idaho 13. Four plays later, it was 45-0 on A.J. Blue’s three-yard run with 1:19 to go in the second.

The Carolina flood continued in the second half with the Tar Heels adding 14 more in the third and one in the fourth.

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