College football: Louisiana Tech falls to Southern Mississippi in regular-season finale

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RUSTON — Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon tied an NCAA record but the fanfare was overshadowed by a season-high seven turnovers in the Bulldogs’ 58-24 loss to Southern Miss Saturday afternoon at Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston.

Dixon scored twice as he tied Montee Ball (Wisconsin, 2009-12) and Keenan Reynolds (Navy, 2012-Present) with an NCAA record 83 career overall touchdowns.

However both scores came off receptions as Louisiana Tech (8-4, 6-2) struggled to establish a running game, rushing for negative yardage in a game for the first time since 1999.

Southern Miss (9-3, 7-1) took advantage of LA Tech’s season-high seven turnovers as the Golden Eagles scored 30 points off turnovers including 20 points off three Tech turnovers in a 45-second span.

The loss, which came on the 80th anniversary of the first meeting between the two teams, snapped Louisiana Tech’s nine-game home winning streak.

Jeff Driskel was 27-for-44 for 355 yards and three touchdowns but was also intercepted three times. Trent Taylor notched 11 catches for 102 yards and one touchdown while Paul Turner registered six catches for 112 yards in the game. Dixon was the team’s third-best receiver with five catches for 81 yards but finished with negative-four yards rushing.

Beau Fitte led the Louisiana Tech defense as he tallied a career-high 15 total tackles including one for a loss of three yards and an interception.

That would be Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens only interception as the USM signal caller threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns in a 24-for-37 performance while Ito Smith ran for three scores of his own on 169 yards rushing. Michael Thomas caught seven passes for 162 yards for Southern Miss including one touchdown.

Louisiana Tech now awaits an announcement of which bowl game the Bulldogs will be invited to with that decision to be made by Dec. 6. Conference USA has seven guaranteed bowl commitments this season including the NOVA Home Loans Arizona, Gildan New Mexico, Miami Beach, Popeyes Bahamas, R+L Carriers New Orleans, St. Petersburg and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas. The league also has a secondary agreement with the Independence Bowl.

— Louisiana Tech Sports Information