Cole, Dykes Earn Awards

Adrien Cole (AP)

Adrien Cole was named 2011 WAC Defensive Player of the Year. Sonny Dykes was named Coach of the Year following his team's 6-1 run through the conference schedule.

Louisiana Tech (8-4, 6-1) faces 18th ranked TCU (10-2) in the Poinsettia Bowl on December 21st. Tech accepted a bid to the game immediately after defeating New Mexico State 44-0 to win the conference title outright.

Adrien Cole was a big reason for the shutout against the Aggies and a big reason for the success of the defense all year long. The senior from Mobile, AL had 121 tackles on the year and got in on the Bulldogs pick-six party with an interception return for a touchdown in the final game.

Cole was a wrecking ball in the final game, causing havoc wherever the play found itself unfolding on the field. He was joined on the first team by punter Ryan Allen, offensive linemen Kris Cavitt and Stephen Warner, and wide receiver Quinton Patton, defensive end Matt Broha, and cornerback Terry Carter. Jay Dudley, Justin Ellis, Matt  Nelson, and Chad Boyd were named to the second team.

Coach Dykes was named Coach of the Year after his team went from 4-4 in league play a year ago to 6-1 in 2011. The Bulldogs were able to knock off Nevada, ending a six game losing streak to the Wolf Pack.

Carter, like his fellow senior Cole, had a revival of sorts in his final season. His re-emergence really helped the secondary become one of the best in the WAC. Chad Boyd and Javantay Crowe, both of whom had started in years past, also stepped up in a big way in 2011. Matt Broha and Justin Ellis were certainly handfuls for every offensive line they faced this season. Broha moved into second place on Tech's all-time sack list. Ellis, along with Jon'al White, gave Defensive Coordinator Tommy Spangler some much need size and strength on the interior of the line. Jay Dudley capped off a brilliant Tech career playing alongside fellow linebacker Cole. Dudley and Cole will go down as one of the greates linebacker duos in Bulldog history.

while the Bulldog defense had an outstanding year, a lot of credit goes to punter Ryan Allen, a finalist for the Ray Guy award. Allen continously pinned the opposition inside the twenty, flipping the field and making it hard for anyone to put together scoring drives.

Tech's offense was no slouch either, putting up 34.8 points per contest over the last 5 games and over 30.5 points per game over the entire season. Quinton Patton was a huge addition to the offense in 2011, going for over 100 yards, with 74 receptions and 10 touchdowns. Junior Quarterback Colby Cameron came in to start for Coach Dykes over the second half of the season. Cameron threw for over 1400 yards with 11 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions.

Kris Cavitt and Stephen Warner helped lead an offensive line that really came on at the end of the year. Big Oscar Johnson joined Jordan Mills to form a massive right side of the line and Kevin Saia returned at left guard.

No Tech story can go without a Hunter Lee mention. Lee, a true freshman, started the season as an inside receiver, but ended up being the Bulldog's feature back. Lee finished the season with over 700 yards of offense. Lee rushed for 586 yards and 4 touchdowns rushing.

The Bulldogs will face off against a TCU squad that won 10 games this season against only two losses. The Horned Frogs lost by two to Heisman candidate Robert Griffin III abd Baylor, 50-48. TCU also lost in overtime to SMU.

Tech is no stranger to close losses. The Bulldogs lost by two to Southern Miss and by one to Houston. Both USm and Houston finished the season ranked in the Top 25. Tech also lost to Mississippi State in overtime.

Both teams are coming off of seven game winning streaks heading into the bowl game.

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