Ruston, LA – Colby Cameron threw for three touchdowns in motoring the Louisiana Tech high-powered offense, as the No.22 Bulldogs defeated Texas-San Antonio, 51-27, on Saturday.
Cameron completed an efficient 30-of-39 throws for 348 yards and Kenneth Dixon rushed for three scores, setting a new school record for rushing touchdowns in a single season to help Louisiana Tech (8-1, 3-0 WAC) remain undefeated in conference play.
"This was a tough, hard-fought game," said Bulldogs coach Sonny Dykes. "We knew coming in they were well coached and would play hard. We faced some adversity tonight and it was good to overcome that and get the win."
Quinton Patton caught a game-high 10 passes for 152 yards and a score, as the Bulldogs captured their third straight victory following a loss to Texas A&M.
Eric Soza threw for four touchdowns and 314 yards on 23-of-41 passing, but the Roadrunners (5-4, 1-3) dropped their fourth consecutive game. Cole Hubble hauled in three passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns in the defeat.
"I think we did some things that showed us glimpses of how good we can be, said Roadrunners coach Larry Coker. "We have three games left, and if we keep pressing like we have been, we will have a good season and be a good team."
Both teams wasted no time in putting points on the board early, as each offense scored touchdowns on their first two possessions.
Louisiana Tech received the ball to start and struck first Set up by a 20- yard reception by Richie Casey to the Roadrunners' 1-yard line, Cameron then found R.P. Stuart in the end zone for the score two plays later.
Texas-San Antonio answered right back, scoring on a Hubble 33-yard touchdown catch. Soza completed a pass to Hubble for 11 yards earlier in the drive and on the play prior to the score, he found Cole Hicks for a 15-yard completion.
The Bulldogs quickly scored on their next touch. D.J. Banks returned the ensuing kickoff 63 yards, and a personal foul penalty moved the Bulldogs to the Roadrunners' 18. A defensive pass interference call allowed Louisiana Tech to advance to the 3-yard line and on the next play, Dixon punched it in for a 3-yard score to make it 14-7.
However, the Roadrunners responded yet again. On the seventh play of the drive, Soza threw a strike to a wide-open Hubble over the middle, and the receiver took it all the way for a 57-yard score to tie the game with 5:44 to play in the first quarter.
"When you play defense the way we do, the safeties are going to get into a bind sometimes," mentioned coach Dykes. "We're still a work in progress in many ways."
From there, the scoring slowed some in the first half as each defense made two consecutive stops.
Following an exchange of punts, Louisiana Tech took over on its own 37 late in the first quarter. After failing to pick up a first down, the Bulldogs decided to go for it on 4th-and-1, but failed to convert when a screen pass to Dixon was stuffed for no gain.
The Roadrunners started inside their opponent's territory following the turnover on downs, but after losing eight yards in recovering consecutive fumbles, they faced 3rd-and-16. Soza threw a short pass to Evans Okotcha for an 14-yard gain and following a timeout, Texas-San Antonio decided to go for it on 4th-and-2.
However, Soza's pass intended for Aaron Grubb fell incomplete and the Roadrunners also turned it over on downs.
The Bulldogs needed just a minute of game clock to take advantage of the stop. Cameron threw a deep pass down the field to Patton, who sprinted past the nearby defenders for a 79-yard score, giving Louisiana Tech the lead back at 21-14 with 9:56 to play in the second quarter.
Louisiana Tech wasted an opportunity to tack on three more later in the period, as Matt Nelson's 37-yard kick sailed wide left with 4:27 to play in the first half.
However, the Bulldogs got the ball back quickly and scored a touchdown just before halftime.
Using 13 plays, Cameron capped the 76-yard march when he found Jon Greenwalt for a 23-yard touchdown with eight seconds to play in the half. But Nelson missed the extra point and Louisiana Tech maintained a 27-14 advantage going into halftime.
The Roadrunners pulled within a score after driving 80 yards down the field in nine plays. Soza completed three passes of over 10 yards on the drive, the last a 17-yard throw to Earon Holmes for the touchdown. Earlier in the possession, he completed a 12-yard strike to Brandon Freeman to cross midfield and later hit on a 26-yard pass to Jeremiah Moeller.
But Louisiana Tech also scored on its first touch of the half, relying heavily on the running game. Dixon ran the final three times of the Bulldogs' eight rushes on the march, crossing the goal line for a 7-yard touchdown on the 12th play of the drive to extend the hosts' advantage to 34-21.
Early in the fourth, the Bulldogs added three on a Nelson 22-yard field goal to make it 37-21.
The Roadrunners refused to go away, though, and marched 65 yards down the field for a touchdown. Soza completed a pass to Brian Vaughn for 29 yards to cross midfield before finding Hicks for a 14-yard score.
In an attempt to make it a one-score game, Texas-San Antonio went for the two- point conversion, but Ryan Polite could not sneak it into the end zone and the Roadrunners remained down by 10.
The Roadrunners did not get any closer, as Louisiana Tech put the game out of reach on its next touch.
After Matt Nelson missed a 39-yard attempt, the Bulldogs kept possession after Texas-San Antonio was flagged for roughing the kicker. The Roadrunners again stopped the Bulldogs on third down, bringing Nelson out for another attempt, but Louisiana Tech ran a fake and holder David Gru connected with Malon Lee in the right side of the end zone for a 44-27 advantage.
Soza moved the ball to midfield on the ensuing possession, but threw three straight incompletions and the Roadrunners turned it over on downs.
Dixon added his third score of the game from six yards out with 14 seconds to play to account for the final margin.
The Bulldogs scored 40 points in a game for the eighth time this season ... Dixon passed Ryan Moats for most rushing scores in a single season. Moats ran for 18 in 2004 ... There were 29 total penalties in the game, with Texas-San Antonio being flagged 14 times for 142 yards and Louisiana Tech penalized 15 times for 157 yards.