Louisiana Tech has played Auburn before - plenty of times. In fact, for an eight-year stretch between 1997 and 2004, it seemed like the Bulldogs were the non-conference opponent of choice for Auburn. Tech played at Auburn five times during those eight years and provided a couple of tough tests to the Tigers.
Let's first go back to 1990, when the Bulldogs played their best game inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. Louisiana Tech was in their second year of playing at the Division 1-A level and there was no line on the game. Let's just say Tech was the big underdog to fifth-ranked Auburn.
Bobby Slaughter caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Sam Hughes to put Tech up 14-13 with 5:50 left in the game. Auburn would kick a 30-yard field goal with 0:03 remaining to win the game 16-13.
In 1997, Louisiana Tech beat both Cal and Alabama. The Tim Rattay-led Bulldogs were poised to give Auburn another battle to the finish. Terry Bowden had resigned as Auburn coach that week, and Auburn appeared to be vulnerable. In Tech's third play from scrimmage, Troy Edwards took a direct snap 68 yards to the house. Rattay hit James Jordan with a touchdown pass in the second quarter and Tech trailed 19-14, but that would be as close as the Bulldogs would get as Auburn won 32-17.
In 2000, Louisiana Tech led 14-7 after one quarter. True Freshman Quarterback Luke McCown completed 47 of 65 passes for 433 yards and 4 TD's, but Tech would again fall, this time 38-28. Auburn was ranked #25 in the nation and ran over the Bulldogs' defense behind 249 yards rushing and four touchdowns from Rudi Johnson.
In 2001, McCown was back again and this time he gave the Tigers a scare. Tech scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to force overtime before ultimately falling 48-41 to the 20th ranked Tigers. McCown completed 27 of 52 passes for 381 yards and three touchdowns.
In 2009, Louisiana Tech was coming off of a bowl-winning season and opened the season in Auburn. Later that season, the Bulldogs would give Top-10 ranked Boise State and LSU closely contested games. The Bulldogs lost at home to #5 Boise 45-35 and then at #9 LSU 24-16. However, in the first game at Auburn, the Bulldogs lost 37-13 and were only able to come up with 245 yards of offense.
This time around the Bulldogs are heavy underdogs. Can they regroup and give the fifth-ranked Tigers a ballgame? Cody Sokol had looked the part of a dangerous quarterback the last couple of weeks. Usually in these types of games, it's the quarterback who keeps the game close. First, the defense has to keep things from getting out of hand. In this day of playoff football, don't look for Auburn to take their foot off the gas.