RUSTON, La. – Miscues at key times of the game aid Louisiana Tech in holding off Lamar's upset bid Saturday night at Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston, La. Louisiana Tech (1-1), who climbed as high as 18th in the national polls a season ago, escaped the contest with a 27-14 victory, dropping Lamar to 1-1 on the year.
"I was pleased with our effort all over the field tonight," said LU head coach Ray Woodard. "We are going to have to get better though. We gave Louisiana Tech too many things on the field. You can't do that against a team as talented as LA Tech. We can really build from this game tonight. I am very disappointed in the outcome but we are going to be a better team for it. I don't care what the letters are, FBS or FCS, we had a chance to win tonight and we didn't do it.
LA Tech broke the scoreless tie with 3:40 remaining in the first quarter when Scotty Young found Jacarri Jackson in the end zone from three yards. The score capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive that consumed 4:59 on the clock. The Cardinals drove the ball down to the Bulldog 36-yard line on the ensuing drive but a questionable no-call on a would-be touchdown pass, followed by a holding call and a Caleb Berry sack ended the drive. Lamar's defense forced a three-and-out, and the Cardinals moved the ball to the Bulldogs' 24 before Berry's pass was picked off in the end zone by Le'Vander Liggins.
Senior Payton Ploch got Lamar on the scoreboard when he ended an 11-play, 54-yard drive with a one-yard run for the score. Ploch's score, the first touchdown against an FBS opponent since bringing back the program, pulled the Cardinals even with 5:23 in the half, but Louisiana Tech took the advantage into the locker room, 14-7. The Cardinals were forced to punt out of their own end zone giving LA Tech its best field position of the half. Two plays later Young found Andrew Guillot on a 34-yard scoring strike. The drive was aided by a personal foul call against the Cardinals.
Lamar's offense did more than keep pace with Louisiana Tech in the opening half, outgaining the Bulldogs, 181-173, but the Cards were hurt by miscues. An interception in the end zone, a holding call followed by a sack to end another drive, a 17-yard punt out of their own end zone and an LU personal foul to set up a Bulldog score hurt the Cardinals in the first 30 minutes.
Louisiana Tech struck for the first big play of the second half. Following a Kollin Kahler punt that was downed on the Bulldogs' one-yard line, Tevin King took the first handoff and carried it 64-yards to the Lamar 35. LU's defense held forcing a 44-yard field goal giving Louisiana Tech a 10-point lead, 17-7, with 3:03 remaining.
Junior Kevin Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 43 yards out to the Lamar 47 yard line. The Cardinals moved the ball into Louisiana Tech territory before the drive stalled out forcing a Kahler punt which was downed inside the LA Tech 10 yard line.
Lamar got back on the scoreboard with 10:56 remaining when Berry found Jordan Edwards over the middle from 62 yards out. The touchdown pass was Berry's seventh of the season, and the longest reception of Edwards' career. The Bulldogs were able to push the lead back to six points just seven plays later when Tech's Kyle Fischer drilled a 49-yard field goal with 9:04 remaining.
Lamar got good field position on the next kickoff, following Johnson's 33-yard return out to the Lamar 34 yard line. Berry moved the Lamar offense down to the Tech 31 yard line before the drive ended on the second Cardinal turnover of the game. LA Tech responded by moving the ball 65 yards on nine plays that ended with a 19-yard Guillot touchdown run for the game's final tally.
Lamar finished the game with 362 yards of total offense, while Tech racked up 266 of its 439 yards in the second half. Berry finished the game completing 23-of-37 passes for 272 and one touchdown. Edwards led all receivers with five catches for 119 yards and the score.
The Lamar backfield had another strong performance led by Ploch and freshman Kade Harrington. The duo ran hard all night, led by Ploch's 46 yards on 10 carries, including one touchdown run. Harrington added 42 yards on 12 carries.
Senior Tyrus McGlothen led the Cardinals' defense with 12 tackles, including eight solo stops. Classmate Jesse Dickson added eight tackles, including one sack.
The Cardinals return to action Saturday, Sept. 14th, when they travel to Stillwater, Okla., to take on Oklahoma State. The game against No. 13 OSU is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. from Boone Pickens Stadium.