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LA Tech Vs Rice For CUSA Title Shot

Not only has Louisiana Tech struggled to put away certain teams this season, the Bulldogs are also looking for a way to finish the season on a positive note.

Cody Sokol will try to pick up the pace for the Bulldogs on Saturday.
Cody Sokol will try to pick up the pace for the Bulldogs on Saturday.
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports



History has a way of repeating itself. In September 20th, Louisiana Tech was up on Northwestern State 20-10 after three quarters before they took their foot off the gas. Fumble, punt, touchdown, fumble, interception is not the way to finish a game if you have any hopes of winning.

On Saturday, Louisiana Tech had a 24-14 lead at halftime against Old Dominion. Again, the Bulldog's offense just disappeared. Actually, they hardly showed up in the first place. Three punts and an interceptions was all that came out of their second half efforts. The game resulted in a 30-27 overtime loss that puts the Bulldogs right back in the middle of the division race.

This was supposed to be a meaningless game. The Bulldogs were supposed to wrap up the division a week ago. Will they be able to pick themselves up and prepare for a huge battle this week? 

A week ago, the talk was about which starters would get to rest, what bowl game is possible, and how the team matches up with Marshall. 9-3 was a real possibility and if they did end up beating Marshall; they would be a Boise State loss away from being in a big time bowl discussion.

2012 ended in a very similar way to how 2014 is unfolding. That Bulldogs team was 9-1 before Utah State came to town. Tech was seriously in the mix for a spot in the Orange Bowl until the Aggies jumped out to a 17-3 lead at halftime and ended up finishing Tech off in overtime.

9-3 this year with a spot in the conference title game sounded a lot better than being a 7-5 also ran. It doesn't have to end that way. The Bulldogs can still finish 8-4 and win their division. To do so, Tech must beat a 7-4 Rice team whose only loss in their last eight games was against Marshall on the road.

This is a Rice team that won the division a year ago and beat the Bulldogs 52-14. Skip Holtz says his team is fully aware of the challenge ahead. "52-14 is all over that locker room," he said. "Nobody questions what happened last year. Everyone knew it was going to come down to this last game for all the marbles. 

Somehow, Tech is going to have to find the offense that has scored at least 40 points on five occasions this year.  The Bulldogs still have held every conference opponent to 24 points or less in regulation. The defense is getting the job done and they are getting turnovers to put the offense in position to win. They did that on Saturday with four interceptions against Old Dominion. The offense just failed to execute in the second half even with the interceptions that put them in great position.

This is the last game on the schedule but the season is far from over for Louisiana Tech. Will the Bulldogs finish strong? Tech is a six point favorite with home field advantage, but they have to finish what they started; they have to finish it on the field.