LA Tech and Idaho Earn Wins on Saturday
RUSTON - Kenneth Dixon rushed for four touchdowns and Louisiana Tech racked up more than 600 yards of total offense to lead the Bulldogs to a 58-31 win over UNLV before 21,850 fans at Joe Aillet Stadium Saturday night.
Dixon rushed for 106 yards and the four scores, Ray Holley added a career-high 140 yards on the ground and the Bulldogs improved to 5-0 on the season for the first time since 1975. Tech, which is the only remaining undefeated team in the state of Louisiana, also extended its regular season win streak to 12 games which is the longest in the country following losses earlier in the day by LSU and Georgia.
"It was a good, hard-fought win," said Tech head coach Sonny Dykes. "The players were a little frustrated in the locker room at halftime after we didn't get the field goal at the end of the first half. That was my fault. They went in frustrated, but that's the mark of a good team when you have a 10-point lead and still go in angry."
After leading by as many as 20 in the first half, Tech saw UNLV (1-5) close the gap to 27-24 on a 46-yard pass from Nick Sherry to Marcus Sullivan with 12:25 to play in the third quarter. However, the Bulldogs then reeled off 31 unanswered points behind the running of Dixon, who hit paydirt three times in the second half.
It marked the third straight game that the Bulldogs have reeled off at least 31 unanswered points, including wins over Illinois and Virginia.
Colby Cameron was solid under center, completing 31 of 45 passes for 316 yards and one touchdown while registering his fifth straight game without throwing an interception. Cameron has now thrown 12 touchdowns without a pick this season.
After a Matt Nelson 27-yard field goal gave Tech an early 3-0 lead, UNLV took their only lead of the contest as Sherry found Taylor Barnhill for a 33-yard scoring strike as the Rebels led with 9:42 to play in the first quarter.
Following a 33-yard field goal by Nelson, Tech scored its first touchdown on a six-yard pass from Cameron to Quinton Patton, who finished the game with nine receptions for 116 yards as the Bulldogs took a 13-7 lead with 2:48 to play in the opening quarter.
The Bulldogs special teams unit then came up big as Malon Lee blocked a punt and Tech took over on the UNLV nine-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Holley raced nine yards to the endzone as Tech upped the advantage to 20-7.
UNLV appeared ready to strike again when the Bulldog defense came up with a big stop on a fourth down and one play from the Tech two-yard line. Following the turnover on downs, Cameron hit Patton for a 55-yard gain on a post route that started a 10-play, 98-yard drive that ended with a Dixon one-yard TD run. Tech led 27-7.
However, the Rebels would score the final 10 points of the half as the two teams entered the locker room with the Bulldogs leading 27-17.
Following UNLV's touchdown drive to open the second half, Tech scored on five of its next seven possessions to pull away. Dixon started the assault with a 10-yard run with 10:42 to play and then added a 15-yard run late in the third quarter and a seven-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
"If you get a chance to make a play, you've got to make it," Dixon said. "Our offensive line did great. Words cannot express how good they are."
The Bulldogs final score was a 17-yard run by Hunter Lee with 2:42 to play, capping an eight-play, 55-yard drive that saw Lee haul the football on every play.
Tech registered 35 first downs in the game along with 622 yards (306 yards rushing, 316 yards passing) while UNLV recorded 23 first downs and 536 yards.
"We're banged up at linebacker but I'm proud of our young guys stepping up," Dykes said. "When someone goes down you have to have enough depth. I'm proud of the way Chip Hester played tonight. Ty Hook also saw his first major action."
Defensively, Antonio Mitchum led Tech with 10 tackles while Dave Clark and Chip Hester each added nine tackles. Jamel Johnson recorded five tackles and one interception while Andre Taylor registered a fumble recovery. The Bulldogs were plus two in turnover margin.
"We're not the kind of team that can look ahead to the next game," Dykes said. "We just have to keep improving every game. Next week won't define our program, but it will tell us where we stand right now."
The victory sets up a showdown next Saturday night against Texas A&M at Independence Stadium in Shreveport set for an 8:15 p.m. kickoff.
Idaho 26, New Mexico State 18
MOSCOW, Idaho – Idaho’s “new” season started just the way the Vandals wanted – with the victory that puts them in a tie for the Western Athletic Conference lead, albeit one game into the conference season.
The Vandals did it by dispatching New Mexico State 26-18 before a Homecoming crowd at the Kibbie Dome with all three elements of the team making their presence felt. Possibly more than any other was kicker Trey Farquhar with field goals of 55, 53, 39 and 32 yards.
“All three phases of the game contributed,” coach Robb Akey said. “It was a more complete game. It was our football team’s best game – because we won.
“More than anything else in the world, I’m happy for that room full of players – those guys in there that have been working their tails off.”
The first play of the game, however, wasn’t what the Vandals wanted. Quarterback Dominique Blackman, who wound up with his third 300-plus game with 304 yards on 26-of-48 passing, threw his only interception of the game to give NMSU the ball at the Idaho 44.
Up stepped the defense to force a three-and-out and return the ball to the Vandals. Idaho stalled again, though, and it was the Aggies scoring first on Tyler Stamper’s 42-yard field goal on NMSU’s next possession. Farquhar knotted the game at 3 when he booted a 39-yarder on the Vandals’ next possession.
The Vandals took advantage of a muffed punt two series later. After Justin Parkins recovered the ball at the NMSU 35, Blackman found Najee Lovett past the defense and just a stride out of the end zone with a 35-yarder for Idaho’s first TD and a 10-3 lead with 2:37 left in the first.
Both teams added a touchdown in the second – Idaho’s was a 17-yard pass from Blackman to Jahrie Level, but what set the emotional tone for the Vandals as they headed into the locker room for the halftime break was Farquhar’s booming 55-yarder as time expired in the second quarter. The kick, the second-longest of Farquhar’s career, put the Vandals up 20-10.
“He’s accountable. I have great confidence in him,” Akey said.
As for Farquhar, who meet Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong Friday afternoon and was the recipient of a good luck rub of her gold medal on his kicking foot, he said he was “just doing my job.”
Farquhar accounted for all of the Vandals’ second-half scoring with a 32-yarder with 8:35 to go in the third and a 53-yarder with 1:55 to left in the third.
Blackman made use of nine receivers with Jahrie Level leading the way with eight for 92 yards and Mike Scott accounting for 78 yards on three catches. And kudos to the offensive line, which, for the second time this season, didn’t allow a sack.
Defensively, hard-hitting Gary Walker had 13 tackles along with two pass breakups, and Su`a Tuala added 12 tackles, which includes two of the Vandals’ seven tackles for loss. Homer Mauga and Tracy Carter each had one interception with Ryan Edwards joining Parkins in recovering a fumble.
“It’s been several months since we’ve been able to celebrate after a game,” Akey said. “I’m happy as could be for them.”
New Mexico 35, Texas State 14
Albuquerque, N.M. – The Texas State football team fell to New Mexico, 35-14, tonight on the road at Branch Field. The return to Albuquerque was the first for head coach Dennis Franchione since leaving the university in 1997.
The Lobos (3-3) jumped out to a 14-0 advantage over Texas State to begin the game. Kasey Carrier ran for a 37-yard touchdown run on the game's opening drive, after the Bobcats fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, Carrier rushed for a one-yard touchdown.
Texas State (2-3) got on the board when Shaun Rutherford connected with Chase Harper on a 40-yard touchdown pass to cut the Lobos lead to seven with 7:15 to go in the first quarter. The catch was a season-high for Harper and the second longest touchdown pass for Texas State this season.
It would be 11 minutes and 30 seconds later before the next score of the game. The Lobos Jhurell Pressley rushed for a one-yard touchdown for their third of the day, which led to a 14-point edge over the visitors.
After a set of penalties on both sides of the ball, the Bobcats came up big when Rutherford connected with Andy Erickson on a 35-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter as Texas State closed to within 21-14. The touchdown was the longest of Erickson's career.
New Mexico rushed for its fourth touchdown of the game when Carrier ran for 19 yards into the end zone with three minutes remaining in the first half. The Bobcats ended the half with a fumble recovery by Joplo Bartu as time expired.
The Bobcats had a hard time stopping Carrier, as the running back rushed for his fourth touchdown of the game on a 43-yard run to increase the Lobos' lead to 35-14.
Both defenses held strong for the remainder of the game with neither team able to score. New Mexico came away with the 35-14 victory tonight.
Texas State will return to Bobcat Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 13, as it hosts Idaho in its annual homecoming game. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Brigham Young 6, Utah State 3-Friday Night
PROVO, Utah - Utah State lost to Brigham Young, 6-3, Friday night in a hard-fought, defensive battle royale Friday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium in a nationally televised game on ESPN.
USU is now 4-2 with the loss while BYU improved to 4-2. The Cougars now lead the overall series, 45-34-3, including 27-16-1 in Provo. The nine combined points between the Aggies and Cougars was the fewest in the series since a 0-0 tie in 1946.
Utah State was held to 243 yards of total offense, over half of its season average coming into Friday night. The Aggies had 202 passing as sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton was 22-of-38. USU had a season-low 41 rushing yards, its fewest since rushing for just 27 yards at home against Utah in 2008. Keeton had 23 yards on 10 carries while senior running back Kerwynn Williams had 18 yards on 14 carries.
Senior wide receiver Matt Austin led the team with a career-high seven catches for 72 yards while Williams added five catches for 39 yards.
Senior safety McKade Brady, who ran track as a freshman at BYU before transferring to Utah State, led the Aggie defense with 14 tackles while linebacker duo of sophomore Zach Vigil and redshirt-freshman Kyler Fackrell followed with 10 each. Fackrell also snared his first career interception,while Vigil's 10 tackles tied his career-high.
Senior punter Tyler Bennett punted seven times for a 42.4 yards per punt average with four inside the 20.
BYU was led by freshman quarterback Taysom Hill who had 235 passing yards, completing 24-of-36 passes. Hill also had 19 rushes for a total of 80 yards. Junior wide receiver Cody Hoffman led the BYU receiving corps with eight catches for a total of 114 yards.
The Cougar defense was led by Brandon Ogletree with seven stops, while Preston Hadley and Spencer Hadley had six tackles each.
The Aggies opened the scoring with a 26-yard field goal from junior placekicker Josh Thompson with 34 seconds left in the first quarter, capping a 13-play, 49-yard drive. It was USU's second-longest scoring drive of the season behind its 19-play scoring drive in the Colorado State game. The first quarter ended with the 3-0 score, as the Aggies have now out-scored their opponents in the first quarter, 54-0.
The score would remain 3-0 until three seconds were left in the half when BYU scored on a 3-yard pass from Hill to JD Falslev, but Riley Stephenson's PAT attempt was wide left, leaving the score 6-3 in BYU's favor heading into halftime.
On USU's first possession of the second half, the Aggies fumbled and BYU recovered at the USU 9, but the Aggie defense forced a Cougars' field goal attempt. BYU tried a fake field goal but the USU defense sniffed it out, as the Aggies chased BYU holder JD Falslev and he fell down for a 16-yard loss back to the 23-yardline.
The teams traded punts back-and-forth until early in the fourth quarter when Fackrell snared his first career interception, batting the ball out of the air and then snaring it, to give the Aggies the ball at their own 48. USU's offense took over with 10:21 to go and drove down to the BYU 20, but Thompson's 38-yard field goal attempt floated wide left, leaving the score still at 6-3.
USU's defense forced BYU to punt and got the ball back with 5:06 to go, but were 94 yards from the endzone. The Aggies got out to the 30, but the drive stalled and they had the punt it back to the Cougars with just over two minutes to play and USU with two timeouts.
Facing a 3rd-and-6 from the BYU 28, the Cougars picked up the first down with 1:44 left, and ran out the clock for the win.
Utah State continues action on the road, opening up Western Athletic Conference play at San Jose State on Saturday, Oct. 13 before returning home to host New Mexico State on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 1 p.m.