College football: History will be made in Tech-Grambling State ‘Buddy Bowl’ Saturday in Ruston

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Tom Morris/LaTechSportsPix.com

Brock McKee, Louisiana Tech Associate Communications Director

RUSTON History will be made on Saturday afternoon as Louisiana Tech hosts Grambling State at 2:30 on Saturday afternoon.

This marks the first meeting between the Bulldogs and Tigers in Lincoln Parish with the first and only other matchup coming in 2010 in Shreveport. Saturday’s contest will also be the first regular-season college football game carried by the NFL Network and broadcast across the nation.

Louisiana Tech and Grambling will honor Lincoln Parish legend O.K. “Buddy” Davis throughout the course of the game.

Davis, a member of the Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, recently passed away at the age of 72.

For 55 years, the Ruston native covered both the Bulldogs and the Tigers for the Ruston Daily Leader, penning countless stories about so many great players, coaches and teams from both universities.

The Bulldogs will wear special helmet stickers honoring Davis during the game, while a tribute video will be played and Buddy Davis trivia will be pushed through LA Tech social media accounts during the game. Tech officials plan a moment of silence prior to the game and an on-the-field recognition during the game as well.

In honor of Buddy, Louisiana Tech has set up the O.K. “Buddy” Davis Endowed Scholarship that will benefit the same student-athletes that our friend promoted for so many years. Donations may be made by check payable to “Louisiana Tech University Foundation” or by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover). Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 1190, Ruston, La. 71273-1190. Credit card donations can be made online at ltu.al/buddydavis .

Louisiana Tech Head Coach Skip Holtz on the impact of Buddy Davis: “I was fortunate and blessed to be able to spend a little time with Buddy when I first got here. The guy bled for of the local community – whether it be Louisiana Tech or Grambling. He loved the area and loved the community. He was a home run for both schools from a PR standpoint. I thought he was honest and fair, but at the same time, he homered his hometown teams. Having the opportunity to nickname it the “Buddy Bowl” is very fitting. It’s a shame he’s not here to see it, but I’m thankful and fortunate I had the opportunity to get to know him a little bit before he passed. I think the world of him and think this is an awesome way to honor his name and legacy in this community.”

Both the Bulldogs and Tigers will be searching to bounce back from week one road defeats, as Tech dropped a 45-14 decision at No. 10 Texas, while Grambling fell 31-9 to UL-Monroe.

Despite the defeat to the consensus top-10 ranked Longhorns, the Bulldogs saw positives especially on the offensive side of the ball. Tech put up 413 total yards while converting on both of their red zone opportunities.

Senior quarterback J’Mar Smith went 34-for-51 for 331 yards and two touchdowns in the week one defeat. The 34 completions marked a new career high (previous was 30 set in 2017). Smith also continued to climb in the Tech record books moving into fifth in career 300-yard passing games (eight), fourth in career completions (557), and fifth in passing yards (6,877).

Meanwhile, Grambling enters the matchup after falling to ULM, 31-9 last Saturday. Quarterback Geremy Hickbottom was 18-for-31 with 157 yards through the air, while also rushing for 73 yards. Running back Keilon Elder led the offense with six rushes for 82 yards.

This is the second overall meeting between the two clubs, with the first coming back in 2010 at Independence Stadium in Shreveport. Tech took a 20-6 victory in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

The City of Ruston and Experience Ruston have teamed up to bring fans Loyal Blue Weekends, which take place every home-game weekend and feature family-friendly activities, spirit groups, pep rallies, outdoor music, tailgating, and much more football fun. Loyal Blue Weekends kick off on Friday night in downtown Ruston with the Tech & Tigers Tailgate.

An outdoor pep rally with Louisiana Tech and Grambling State spirit groups begins at 5:30 p.m. in Railroad Park. Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome as you cheer on the Bulldogs and the Tigers. Following the pep rally, stick around for special downtown events. Friday night will include a Food Truck Showdown at 6 p.m. followed by a live concert from J.A.M. Brass Band (until 8:30 p.m.).

For information on other Loyal Blue Weekend events, visit experienceruston.com. Loyal Blue Weekend continues on Saturday with shopping, dining, tailgating and more festivities.

The City of Ruston will once again offer the “Tech Trolley” service for all six of the Bulldog’s home games at Joe Aillet Stadium. Using iShuttle Transportation Service, the “Tech Trolley” will run continuously from the Trolley Stop in Railroad Park on Vienna Street in downtown Ruston to the Davison Athletics Complex. Signage showing the pickup and drop-off locations will be available on game days.

The “Tech Trolley” will begin running three hours prior to kickoff and will run up to one hour after the game ends, providing fans plenty of time to tailgate in Bulldog Village before kickoff. Fans can download the iShuttle Corporate app and utilize the password “Ruston” to track the trolley in route. The “Tech Trolley” is a quick, easy way to avoid the game day hassle of parking and will take priority over all other traffic in route to Joe Aillet Stadium.

Fans are encouraged to end their Loyal Blue Weekend experience on Sunday with Bulldog Brunch. Select local restaurants will be offering your favorite breakfast items, traditional brunch dishes, and more. 
The City of Ruston, Tech Athletics, Pepsi and Graphic Packaging are partnering once again to incorporate the Red and Blue, Go Green recycling program for home football games. Blue recycling bins will be placed at the entrances, in the concourse and around the concessions stands of Joe Aillet Stadium as well as around Bulldog Village for fans to dispense their plastic bottles and other paper goods.

Season and single game tickets for Bulldog football are still on sale and can be purchased through the Louisiana Tech Ticket Office located in the Thomas Assembly Center.

Fans can call 318-257-3631, email TechTickets@latech.edu or stop by during business hours Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Fans can also buy tickets 24/7 by logging onto LATechSports.com/Tickets.