Louisiana Tech unable to end UTSA’s unbeaten season

LA Tech

By: Louisiana Tech Athletics

RUSTON, La (Louisiana Tech Athletics) – Louisiana Tech held a 3-point lead at the end of the first quarter, but No. 24 UTSA scored 35 unanswered points to pull away for a final score of 45-16 on Saturday night inside Joe Aillet Stadium.

LA Tech (2-5, 1-2 C-USA) came out swinging as Austin Kendall hit Smoke Harris over the middle.  The wide receiver then smoked every one as he raced to the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown.

However, UTSA (8-0, 4-0 C-USA) quickly silenced the crowd as they countered with a 75-yard touchdown on their second offensive play of the game. 

After those two offensive sparks, both teams had very little success on each of their next two drives, but the Bulldogs used another big play by Harris – 37-yard reception – that set up a 35-yard field goal by Jacob Barnes to retake the lead at 10-7 late in the first quarter.

The LA Tech defense was about to get the offense the ball right back after forcing a three-and-out, but a personal foul called on a late hit out of bounds gave the Roadrunners new life.  Twenty-four more penalty yards by the ‘Dogs aided in a two-yard rushing touchdown by Sincere McCormick to give UTSA its first lead of the game early in the second quarter.

The visiting team would never trail again.  The Roadrunners went 72 yards on 10 plays to score on their next offensive possession to go up 21-10, which ended up being the halftime score.  They ended up tacking on a pick-six, two more rushing touchdowns by McCormick (one coming after a fumbled kickoff return by LA Tech) and a late field goal.  

UTSA only outgained LA Tech, 406-381, in total yards, but the Bulldogs tied a season-high in penalties with eight and committed three turnovers. 

QUOTABLES

Head coach Skip Holtz

“Too many mistakes were made.  On the opening touchdown, we gave up an uncontested deep ball for a touchdown.  And on third-and-long, we had a personal foul on their sideline and they end up driving for a touchdown.  We had a pick six and were minus-three in the turnover battle.  We were not efficient in the red zone.  The game got away from us.  UTSA is a good football team.  They are 8-0 right now, but we have to get to the point where we stop beating ourselves.”

NOTABLES

  • With the loss, LA Tech now leads the all-time series versus UTSA, 7-3.  It was the first loss in Ruston against the Roadrunners.
  • Smoke Harris registered a career-high 108 receiving yards, the most by a Bulldog this season.  The 47-yard reception in the first quarter was his longest of the season. 
  • Smoke Harris had a team-high seven receptions, which tied a season high for him.  The wide receiver has had at least six receptions in four games this season and leads the team with 37 total receptions.
  • Marcus Williams, Jr. had a combined 102 yards rushing and receiving.  It is the third time this season he has had over 100 all-purpose yards.
  • Samuel Emilus recorded his third touchdown reception of the season, which is tied for the most on the team.
  • Tyler Grubbs anchored the Bulldog defense with a team-high eight tackles.  It is the fourth time this season the linebacker has registered at least eight tackles in a game.  He leads the team with 56 tackles this season.
  • Jacob Barnes improved to a perfect 16-for-16 in his career on field goals under 40 yards.

UP NEXT

LA Tech heads back out on the road to face Old Dominion in Norfolk, Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 30.  Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CT and will be nationally-televised on CBS Sports Network.

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