College football: Dixon scores 6 TDs in Tech’s rout of North Texas

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RUSTON — Kenneth Dixon set a Conference USA single game record with six rushing touchdowns to lead Louisiana Tech to a 56-13 win over North Texas before a rain-soaked homecoming crowd at Joe Aillet Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Dixon tied his own single game Louisiana Tech record set his freshman season against Idaho and the six rushing touchdowns were the most scored by a player in Football Bowl Subdivision action this year. He now has 81 career touchdowns scored, and needs only three more to pass former Wisconsin running back Monte Ball for NCAA record.

With the win, Tech (7-3, 5-1) pulled a half-game ahead of Southern Miss in the Conference USA West Division standings. The Bulldogs will have a bye week this coming Saturday before traveling to UTEP Nov. 21. Southern Miss plays at Rice next weekend and hosts Old Dominion the following weekend. If both LA Tech and USM win out, it will set up a showdown for the West Division title on Nov. 28 in Ruston.

Tech is 5-0 at home this season following Saturday’s lopsided win over the Mean Green (1-8, 1-5), who were coming off their first win of the year. Any confidence North Texas might have brought to Joe Aillet Stadium was gone by the end of the first quarter as the Bulldogs built an early 21-0 lead.

Dixon got his night started off with a 1-yard plunge, capping a five-play, 73-yard drive, the highlight play of the drive being a 55-yard scamper by Dixon to put the Bulldogs deep into North Texas territory. Jonathan Barnes’ extra point made it 7-0.

North Texas stalled on their second offensive possession of the night and then special teams disaster struck. On fourth down and 18, North Texas’ deep snapper snapped the ball five feet over the head of the NT punter. Tech corner Bryson Abraham scooped up the loose ball and returned it 26 yards, giving Tech a 14-0 lead.

Tech’s defense – which forced four turnovers on the night – struck next. On second day and 10, NT running back DeMarcus Smith was stripped by Jaylon Ferguson and Beau Fitte recovered on the Mean Green 18 yard line. Two plays later, Dixon hit paydirt for the second time – this time from seven yards out and the Bulldogs were rolling up 21-0.

Dixon added a one-yard run in the second quarter – the only scoring of the frame – and Tech took a 28-0 advantage into the locker room.

Nothing changed coming out of the locker room. Dixon continued his assault on the record books, scoring on a highlight reel 40-yard run and then added another impressive 14-yard score. Tech led 42-0 at the end of three.

Dixon found paydirt one more time in the fourth quarter, scoring from three yards out with 13:41 to play for his sixth rushing touchdown of the night. He ended the night with 195 yards and six scores on only 22 carries, his 21st career 100-yard rushing game.

UNT added a pair of TDs midway through the fourth quarter. Senior running back Blake Martin scored his first TD of the season from three yards out for Tech following an 89-yard kickoff return by Boston Scott to finish the scoring.

Jeff Driskell had another impressive night for Tech, completing 17-of-26 passes for 295 yards, including five for 162 yards to Carlos Henderson.

Defensively, the Bulldogs were stellar. North Texas ended the night with 316 yards on 81 plays while turning the football over four times. Fitte (8 tackles, 1 FR) and Xavier Woods (6 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 FF) paced the way for Tech.

Note: Feature photo courtesy of Louisiana Tech Sports Information

— Louisiana Tech Sports Information