Louisiana Tech Opens It Up

Lyle Fitte helped Tech break out (AP)

This is what fans had in mind when Sonny Dykes took over the Louisiana Tech football program.

The Bulldogs' 48-35 win over Idaho on Saturday had all the makings of the high-powered offense Dykes promised when hired.

"Two weeks ago, people were writing us off," Dykes said, referring to the reaction to a 41-21 loss at Hawaii. "But we've got a lot of fight in us. Our players never had a sense of panic. That's different than what we had earlier."

Saturday against Idaho, the Bulldogs gained 683 yards of total offense (422 passing, 261 rushing), the fourth most in school history.

At the front of the statistical charge was senior quarterback Ross Jenkins, who looked every bit the part of the pass-happy quarterbacks who have run the Air Raid offenses Dykes has been a part of in the past.

Jenkins completed 31 of 44 passes for 422 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 34 yards and a touchdown.

This coming from a player who had been relegated to third-string duties for several games this season when it was evident he wasn't the fit at the position Dykes was looking for. Saturday, Jenkins fit the offense like a glove. "I'm really proud of what (Jenkins) has done," Dykes said. "He's a great young man."

Jenkins' 422 passing yards make him the first Louisiana Tech quarterback to pass for more than 400 yards at the once pass-happy school since Luke McCown threw for 403 against Hawaii on Oct. 18, 2003.

With the way Dykes runs the show, and now that he's found his quarterback, Saturday might not be the last time Jenkins throws for 400 yards in a game this season.

NOTES, QUOTES --The post-game notes package after Saturday's 48-35 victory over Idaho was full of offensive nuggets that pointed to how long it's been since the once dominant Louisiana Tech offense looked as good as it did against Idaho. The 683 yards of total offense were the fourth most in program history. The last time the Bulldogs eclipsed 600 yards of total offense came in 2003, when they gained 623 against Hawaii. QB Ross Jenkins passed for 422 yards, the first time a Louisiana Tech quarterback threw for more than 400 since Luke McCown had 403 against Hawaii in 2003.

--Was there a bigger disparity in pass defense from last week to this week anywhere in the nation than in Ruston, La.? After allowing only 73 passing yards to Utah State on Oct. 9, Louisiana Tech allowed 513 passing yards Saturday to Idaho. That up-and-down has been the norm for the Bulldogs. Against Idaho, Hawaii and Texas A&M, the Bulldogs allowed 1,394 passing yards (464.7 passing yards per game). In the team's other four games, the Bulldogs allowed 683 passing yards (170.8 per game).

--Country music stars and Louisiana Tech graduates Trace Adkins and Kix Brooks were honorary captains for Saturday's game against Idaho.

GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Ross Jenkins -- The guy who wasn't a good fit for Sonny Dykes' pass-happy offense looked the part Saturday, completing 31 of 44 passes for 422 yards and three touchdowns to go along with another touchdown on the ground and 34 rushing yards.

KEEP AN EYE ON: RB Lennon Creer -- The junior might have finally broken through. Creer had 269 rushing yards (53.8 per game) and no scores in the Bulldogs' first five games this season. In the team's last two games, WAC victories over Idaho and Utah State, Creer has 299 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "If we give up touchdowns, our offense is learning how to respond to that. We've done a good job of getting momentum back on special teams. I think we're learning how to play well together and learning how to win." -- Coach Sonny Dykes.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL LOOKING GOOD: The Louisiana Tech offense looked as good as any in the WAC, at least for one game. Saturday against Idaho, the Bulldogs used a little bit of everything -- wildcat, shotgun, under center and pistol -- to rack up 683 total yards (422 passing yards, 261 rushing yards). Several players set individual highs with various stats, but the way the team meshed as a unit makes it hard to imagine that any team in the league other than Boise State will be able to slow down the Bulldogs. Unfortunately for Louisiana Tech, those Boise State Broncos are next on the schedule on Oct. 26 in Boise, Idaho.

STILL NEEDS WORK: Shootouts like the one Saturday in Ruston, La., used to be the norm in the WAC, but it's not what coach Sonny Dykes wants to see from his defense. The team's pass defense had a deceiving 73-yard passing performance against Utah State on Oct. 9 sandwiched between a 532-yard passing effort in a loss to Hawaii on Oct. 2 and a 513-yard passing performance Saturday against Idaho. Some consistency there would be nice. Aside from the defense, the Bulldogs aren't going to get away with losing four fumbles, as they did Saturday, and still win many games the rest of the season.

ROSTER REPORT: --Senior DE Randy Grigsby had his first career interceptions Saturday vs. Idaho.

--Senior WR Phillip Livas' 52-yard touchdown reception was his first receiving score of the season.

--WR Tim Molton, the transfer from LSU, did not play Saturday against Idaho after tearing an ACL on Oct. 9 against Utah State.

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