HOUSTON — Jeff Driskel threw for 320 yards, Carlos Henderson and Trent Taylor each had over 100 yards receiving and a pair of scores and the Bulldogs became the #BowlDogs Friday night with a 42-17 win at Rice.
The Conference USA win for Louisiana Tech (6-3, 4-1) keeps the Bulldogs in control of their own destiny in the league’s West Division and made the team bowl eligible for the fourth time in the last five years. One more win would all but guarantee a chance to play in back-to-back bowl games for the second time in school history.
“We’ve never won here,” Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz said following the win. “To come here as two teams tied for first in the C-USA West, and to be able to come out on top with a win, I feel really grateful.”
History continued to be made with the 25-point win over Rice (4-4, 2-2) as it marked the first time in school history a Louisiana Tech team has posted over 400 offensive yards in nine consecutive games. It also marked the first time Louisiana Tech has won a game at Rice Stadium as the Bulldogs posted 455 yards of offense in 60 plays Friday evening at Rice Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 18,010, averaging 7.6 yards per play.
Driskel threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns in a 17-for-26 performance with a pair of touchdown passes to Taylor and Henderson. Taylor caught five passes for 142 yards with a career-long 63-yard reception while Henderson registered 115 yards receiving on six catches in addition to a 57-yard kickoff return.
In fact in that drive (including the long return), Henderson touched the ball twice – the return and then a 14-yard touchdown reception, the first for Henderson on the evening and the second for the Bulldogs.
Rice struggled with penalties (eight flags for 62 yards) and a handful of dropped passes that muted quarterback Driphus Jackson’s numbers to 14-for-28 for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Neither team committed a turnover and LA Tech’s win marked the first time in five tries the visiting team has won in the series.
The Owls entered the game ranking 37th nationally in rushing offense averaging 195 yards per game but were limited to just 101 yards rushing on 33 attempts Friday evening.
Meanwhile LA Tech averaged 18.8 yards per completion, only committed two penalties and did not turn the ball over in the contest.
Taylor scored the first touchdown of the night for LA Tech with what was a career-long 47-yard catch only to best that in the second quarter with a 63-yard catch that eventually set up a four-yard run by Kenneth Dixon, one of his two touchdowns in the game. The first came on Tech’s previous possession – a two-yard run – as the Bulldogs would take a 28-7 lead into halftime.
Henderson’s second score came on a drive that was practically bookended by a pair of 24-yard passes to the New Orleans native. After a Dixon nine-yard run started the half, Driskel connected with Henderson for a 24-yard gain. Five plays later Driskel found Henderson again for a 24-yard gain, but this time it was in the end zone.
Taylor’s second score came early in the fourth quarter, a 10-yard pass that was the first throw of the drive. With Tech leading 35-10, Driskel divvied up handoffs to Dixon, Jarred Craft and Ricky Jones before finding Taylor in the end zone on a 3rd-and-9 situation.
After tying the game at 7-7 in the first quarter, the Owls would go scoreless until late in the third quarter when Hayden Tobola kicked a 40-yard field goal. Rice’s final score came with under four minutes remaining in the game.
Jaylon Ferguson continued to impress with three of his five solo tackles registering for a loss of eight yards including a sack for a loss of six yards. He also was credited with a quarterback hurry. Kentrell Brice led all players with seven total tackles.
Louisiana Tech returns home for the University’s 90th annual Homecoming game as the Bulldogs host North Texas at 2:30 p.m. CT at Joe Aillet Stadium.
Note: Feature photo courtesy of Louisiana Tech Sports Information
— Louisiana Tech Sports Information