At one point, #6 LSU held a 24-0 lead over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. It was 24-7 at halftime after J’Mar Smith found Adrian Hardy for a touchdown late in the second. The Bulldogs missed a field goal right before the half, keeping it a three score game.
However, the Bulldogs got the ball to start the second half, and cranked out a 13 play drive that concluded with Smith’s second touchdown pass of the evening. This one was to Bobby Holly on 4th and goal from the 1-yard line.
The teams traded punts a few times, then Smith found Hardy yet again to make it 24-21. The Bulldogs had life and it was a three point game.
From there, however, the Tigers took over. LSU had two touchdown drives of over four and a half minutes, while Tech was stopped on fourth down twice, including on the final play of the game.
The Bulldogs came out with an emphasis on the passing game. J’Mar Smith threw 50 passes as opposed to just 26 rushes by Tech. Smith completed just over 50 percent of his throws, but put up 330 yards and three touchdowns against a very good LSU defense. He did have one interception in the second quarter, which LSU turned into a touchdown one play later.
Adrian Hardy went off with 10 catches for 181 yards and two scores. No one stood out in the run game, but no one got many chances. Israel Tucker had nine touches for 22 yards, while Jaqwis Dancy had seven for 31. Skip Holtz clearly didn’t trust the Dawgs’ ability to run the ball against the LSU front seven, and the few chances the running backs were given didn’t turn into much. It’s hard to win if you’re one dimensional on offense.
LSU scored 38 points in this game, the highest total of the season for the Tigers. The Tech defense did, however, become the first team this season to force a turnover against LSU. This came just before halftime when Jaylon Ferguson stripped Joe Burrow and Keontaye Garner recovered it. This set up the aforementioned missed field goal.
Joe Burrow went 16 of 28 for 191 yards, his first time completing over 50 percent of his passes this season. He wasn’t intercepted, but also didn’t throw a touchdown pass. He didn’t need to, however, as Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Nick Brossette combined for five rushing touchdowns.
Although LSU outrushed La Tech 218-87, LSU only averaged 1.2 more yards per carry. The Tigers just chose to keep running it down Tech’s throat, while the Bulldogs focused on the pass game, outgaining LSU 330-191 in that category.
The killer for Tech in this game was points off turnovers. LSU scored 14 points off Tech’s two turnovers, while Tech missed a field goal off LSU’s lone turnover. That’s a 17 point swing, which is the exact margin of victory LSU put up against Tech.
At the end of the day, this is a respectable performance on the road against a top 10 team. On a day that saw Old Dominion take down the in-state powerhouse in their home state, Tech fell short of doing the same. Nonetheless, Tech can take a ton of confidence from this game as they prepare to start conference play next week.
If Holtz and Todd Fitch are going to feature Smith as much as they did, Smith will need to complete more passes going forward. They should consider, however, featuring the running backs more. Dancy and Tucker have shown they can be good. If they can do these things, Tech has a chance to win several games this season.
The Bulldogs have no time to sulk as they head to Denton next week to face North Texas in arguably the game of the week in C-USA.