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Louisiana Tech Blows Out Rice (Quotes Added)

Louisiana Tech scored 48 points in the second half to run away from Rice and run into the Conference USA Title Game. The Bulldogs won 76-31 to improve to 8-4, 7-1 on the season.

Kenneth Dixon had three touchdowns for LA Tech.
Kenneth Dixon had three touchdowns for LA Tech.
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Sokol was 20-32 for 389 yards and four scores as the Bulldogs rolled up 681 yards of offense. The 76 points scored was the most since Tech beat ULL 77-14 in 1999.

Kenneth Dixon had 17 carries for 144 yards and three scores. Jarred Craft had 7 carries for 88 yards and a score. Trent Taylor and Paul Turner each had 7 catches for 122 yards And a combined three scores. Carlos Henderson had two catches for 114 yards and a score.

Tech only had to punt once and they had just two penalties for 10 yards. Rice had just 37 rushing yards.

DeAngelo Brooks had seven tackles, including one for a loss, to lead the team. The Bulldogs defensive line really put pressure on Rice the entire game.

Tech jumped out to a 21-3 lead after one quarter, but Rice pulled to within 28-17 at halftime. Tech used a 28 point outburst in the third quarter to blow it open.

Driphus Jackson was 25-40 for 337 yards and a career high four touchdowns for Rice. LA Tech did intercept Jackson three times as Colby Brown, Terrell Pinson, and Levander Liggins all had picks for the Bulldogs.

Andre Taylor and Liggins each had a sack. Pinson and Nick Thomason added six tackles each. Adarius Barnes had three pass break ups.

“We felt like we could expose some things down the field if given the opportunity with some of the matchup’s one on one," said LA Tech Head Coach Skip Holtz. "When they loaded the box early and took away a quarterback sneak by putting everybody on the line of scrimmage, we knew we would get the opportunity to see if we could execute. We took a lot of shots down the field, probably more than we have, but I thought our players executed it. I felt like we could score some points and I am not going to sit here and say I thought we could score 76, because the only way you can score that many is if your offense is humming, your defense is playing well and you are getting turnovers and creating short fields. Your kicking game has to be getting you scoring opportunities. It takes a team effort to score that many points.

Holtz talked about the team's progress this seaso. "We have gotten better as the year has gone on," he explained. "Some guys have stepped up, for example Carlos Henderson who early on was dropping some balls. Now his presence is felt. Paul Turner has done a great job. So many guys are playing well, including Cody and the offensive line. I think we have improved. I told Manny Diaz when we met about this in the offseason, defensively with so many familiar faces and upperclassmen on that side of the ball, they were going to have to carry this team early while we tried to figure out what we have on offense. Early, I was ready to say let’s run the ball, punt it away and say, ‘Defense go win it.’ You have to go 80 yards against our defense which is not easy to do. As the year goes on, you feel more and more confident that we can open some holes, run the ball and have the opportunity to outscore some people if that is what we need to do. I am just really proud of the players with the way they have come along. That was our most complete football game today.”

LA Tech QB Cody Sokol talked about the postseason. "I think it is really cool for our team to get some national exposure and possibly get seeded into a high bowl," explained the fifth year senior,  "but we just have to keep taking our next-game approach. I think that has worked for us and we have done a good job of that. We just take our next game and next week we have to beat Marshall. That is the one goal we have and we are going to prepare to do that."

The LA Tech defense had four turnovers in the game (three interceptions and one fumble recovery).  The Bulldogs scored 20 points off the turnovers, adding to its nation-leading 150 points with an average of 12.5 points per game.  Rice came into today’s game having had just three turnovers in league play.

LA Tech has now won four straight games at Joe Aillet Stadium, a first since 2012. LA Tech finished 4-1 at home this season, outscoring opponents by a combined total of 244-94.

Kenneth Dixon recorded his 16th career 100-yard rushing game with a game-high 137 yards on 17 carries.  Today’s performance also put the junior over 1,000 yards rushing on the season which made him just the third Bulldog in program history to record multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons (Daniel Porter, Ryan Moats). Dixon now has 3,191 career rushing yards, surpassing Ryan Moats (2002-04) for third place all-time.