Dec 5, 2020; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Derius Davis (12) catches a pass against Oklahoma State Cowboys cornerback Rodarius Williams (8) in the first quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

TCU, Louisiana Tech look to add one more win to resumes

TCU will host Louisiana Tech on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas, in a game that wasn’t even on the schedule until Dec. 2.

Blame it on 2020. In a season of stops and starts created by the concerns over the spread of coronavirus, the two teams were determined to get in another game.

The dustup with Louisiana Tech replaces the Horned Frogs’ originally scheduled game against SMU that was first postponed and then canceled. The Bulldogs have lost three games to cancelations and another (a potential rescheduling of a game against Rice) is still in limbo.

The Horned Frogs (5-4) have won four of their past five games, including a rousing 29-22 win last Saturday at home against then-No. 15 Oklahoma State. The week’s game will be TCU’s only regular-season nonconference contest.

TCU quarterback Max Duggan had 369 yards of total offense (265 passing, 104 rushing) last Saturday as the Horned Frogs earned their third win over Oklahoma State in the past four years. TCU totaled 501 yards of offense thanks in part to two 100-yard receivers (Derius Davis, 139, and Quentin Johnston, 114) and a 100-yard rusher (Duggan, 104).

Safety Trevon Moehrig made the game-saving defensive play against Oklahoma State, nabbing a one-handed interception in the back of the end zone late in the fourth quarter.

“These guys played a lot of football last year and this year, and they trust each other,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said after the victory. “When you get your guys to where they like to play with each other and have a good time, good things happen. They’ve been having a good time the last four or five weeks. At the end of the day, you’ve got to score one more. You’ve got to hold them to one less.”

Louisiana Tech (5-3) was on the field for the first time in more than a month on Dec. 3, when it outlasted North Texas 42-31 on the road.

The win, the Bulldogs’ second in a row, came on the distant heels of a 37-34 victory in double overtime over UAB on Oct. 31, with two cancelations and two postponements coming in between.

“It had been a long time since we were out on the field,” Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz said after the North Texas contest. “I know our players were excited to be back out there. It has taken a lot out of us when games kept getting canceled. I was a little worried about rust, but I wasn’t worried about the team competing. We played physical, and we played hard.”

Israel Tucker was the star for the Bulldogs against North Texas, rushing for 161 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries.

Tucker, who was named Conference USA co-offensive player of the week for his performance, became the first Louisiana Tech runner to carry the ball 30 or more times since Lennon Creer in 2011. His 37 carries weare the fourth most in program history and the most since 2004.

TCU and Louisiana Tech are meeting for just the second time and first since the Horned Frogs defeated the Bulldogs, 31-24, in the 2011 Poinsettia Bowl at San Diego.

–Field Level Media

Dec 21, 2019; Montgomery, Alabama, USA; Fiu Golden Panthers place kicker Jose Borregales (30) reacts after missing a field goal late in the 4th quarter against Arkansas State Red Wolves at Cramton Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Shorthanded FIU forced to cancel game with La. Tech

Saturday’s game between Florida International University and Louisiana Tech has been canceled due to a shorthanded position group impacted by COVID-19 on the Panthers team.

“Due to FIU football’s lack of available healthy players at a key position, the Nov. 28 game against Louisiana Tech has been canceled,” was the extent of the statement released by FIU on Monday.

The Conference USA game will not be rescheduled. FIU is 0-3 in the East division; the Bulldogs are 3-2 in the West.

It’s the fourth straight week that La. Tech has had a game postponed or canceled outright, due to the pandemic. The Bulldogs haven’t played since Oct. 31.

“This is a disappointing announcement for our program and our fan base, but we understand that FIU is protecting their student-athletes,” La. Tech athletic director Eric Wood said in a statement. “We were really hoping to get back on the football field this coming weekend and allow our student-athletes to compete and represent their university. However, these things are out of our control with testing and contract tracing.”

La. Tech is scheduled to play North Texas in a makeup game on Dec. 3. That game was postponed from Nov. 7 due to COVID complications in the Mean Green program.

The cancellation marks the sixth postponement or cancellation for FIU. The Panthers are scheduled to play at Charlotte on Dec. 5.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2017; Ruston, LA, USA; General view before the game between the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Joe Aillet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Louisiana Tech-ULM game canceled

After a 20-year wait, Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Monroe will have to wait even longer to play each other because of a COVID-19 outbreak within the Warhawks program.

This Saturday’s nonconference game was canceled between the northeast Louisiana programs that last met in 2000.

Louisiana-Monroe (0-8) has not played a game since Nov. 7 when it lost a 52-34 Sun Belt Conference decision to Georgia State. This is the third time this season the Warhawks have suspended football activities because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Louisiana Tech (4-3) has not played since Oct. 31. The Bulldogs were not able to play a Conference USA game Saturday against Rice because they were short offensive linemen due to injuries and positive COVID-19 tests. That came after the Bulldogs did not play Nov. 7 because their opponent, North Texas, was dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak.

Louisiana Tech is working with Conference USA officials to find a home opponent for Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Oct 13, 2018; Denton, TX, USA; North Texas Mean Green defensive back Cam Johnson (11) and defensive back Taylor Robinson (24) and safety Khairi Muhammad (4) and defensive back Jameel Moore (39) celebrate a stop of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles during the first half at Apogee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

UNT-Louisiana Tech postponed due to COVID-19 issues

The Saturday game between host North Texas and Louisiana Tech was postponed Thursday due to COVID-19 issues within the Mean Green program.

The game will be rescheduled for the weekend of Dec. 5, according to officials from both schools.

North Texas said that “the number of COVID-19 cases and subsequent contact tracing” led to the postponement of the Conference USA contest.

“We are very disappointed to announce the postponement of our game against Louisiana Tech this weekend,” Mean Green athletic director Wren Baker said in a statement. “However, it is necessary in the interest of the health and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches and staff. We’ve appreciated the consistent dialogue with our colleagues at Louisiana Tech and we look forward to safely resuming play.”

Louisiana Tech athletic director Eric Wood said he understood the situation.

“Although we are disappointed we won’t get to play this Saturday, we support the decision that has been made for the welfare of everyone involved,” Wood said in a statement. “We understand the current situation at North Texas as we were in their exact same position back in early September prior to our opener against Baylor.

“This will provide our student-athletes an open weekend to recover from seven straight weeks of football, and we look forward to playing in Denton in early December.”

The Bulldogs (4-3, 3-2 C-USA) are scheduled to host Rice on Nov. 14. North Texas (2-3, 1-2) also plays on Nov. 14, traveling to Birmingham, Ala., to oppose UAB.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2020; Provo, UT, USA; BYU wide receiver Gunner Romney makes a catch against Troy in the first half during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Provo, Utah. Mandatory Credit: Rick Bowmer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

No. 22 BYU continues to roll, routs Louisiana Tech

Zach Wilson ran for three touchdowns and passed for two as No. 22 BYU defeated visiting Louisiana Tech 45-14 on Friday night in Provo, Utah, for its third consecutive lopsided victory to start the season.

Wilson completed 24 of 26 for 325 yards and had scoring runs of 9, 1 and 14 yards and finished with 43 yards on eight rushes.

The Cougars, who began the season with easy victories over Navy and Troy, have outscored their three opponents by a combined score of 148-24.

Luke Anthony, whose passing helped lead the Bulldogs to victories over Southern Miss and Houston Baptist to begin the season, finished 18 of 27 for 191 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

BYU outgained Louisiana Tech 513 yards to 313.

The Cougars extended their 28-7 halftime lead when Wilson ran 1 yard for a touchdown early in the third quarter. Jake Oldroyd’s 45-yard field goal pushed the lead to 38-7 at the end of the period.

Wilson ran 14 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to make it 45-7.

Anthony threw his second touchdown pass to Smoke Harris, a 4-yarder with 4:58 left, to complete the scoring. It was the first second-half touchdown allowed by BYU this season.

Wilson, who had two touchdown passes and two touchdown runs against Troy a week earlier, started the scoring with a 9-yard touchdown run less than five minutes into the game.

Anthony threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to Harris to tie the score at the end of the first quarter. After that, it was all BYU.

Wilson, who completed his first 12 passes for 134 yards, broke the tie with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Carter Wheat with 10:34 left in the second quarter.

Tyler Allgeier ran 1 yard for a touchdown that increased the lead to 21-7 later in the quarter.

Wilson added a 22-yard touchdown pass to Gunner Romney, who finished with seven catches for 101 yards, with 59 seconds left in the second quarter to give the Cougars a 28-7 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Louisiana Tech’s Aranda makes coaching debut at Baylor

Dave Aranda makes his head-coaching debut Saturday when Baylor welcomes Louisiana Tech to McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas.

Aranda coordinated the national championship-winning LSU defense a season ago, and in his new role inherits a defense that ranked No. 19 nationally in points allowed in 2019. The Bears won 11 games under then-head coach Matt Rhule — now with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers — and fell just an overtime short of winning the Big 12 Conference championship.

“When (LSU was) prepping for our (College Football Playoff) semifinal game, we watched a lot of Baylor — two games worth vs. Oklahoma,” Aranda said at his introductory press conference in January. “I could see the togetherness of the team.”

Applying his philosophy to the inherited toughness hit a roadblock for Aranda and his staff, the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bears’ season opener was delayed a week, Louisiana Tech replaced an originally scheduled meeting with Ole Miss in Houston, and the Bulldogs slotted into a Sept. 12 weekend in which Baylor was initially set to face Big 12 counterpart Kansas.

Likewise, Louisiana Tech transitioned from scheduled opening dates at UNLV and Conference USA rival Southern Miss to Saturday’s road trip against Baylor.

The revised schedule, which was not set until Aug. 18, may have changed Louisiana Tech’s preparation. However, the Bulldogs entered training camp with other pressing matters in mind as a result of COVID-19.

“The first three days we came to camp, there was a lot of (anxiety), trepidation, concern on the practice field,” said Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz. “The question was, ‘Are we really going to do this?’”

“Now, we’ve been in camp three weeks, going through it,” he continued. “The No. 1 thing is, they want to play. That’s the bottom (line). That’s the formula for what’s made this team click.”

Holtz enters his eighth season as Louisiana Tech head coach. His teams have won at least seven games each of the last six seasons, and the 2019 squad set a high-water mark in his tenure with 10 wins.

While Saturday’s matchup may not have the same intrigue as Baylor’s original opener against an SEC opponent, with another first-year head coach in Lane Kiffin, Aranda’s debut poses a considerable challenge.

“For as long as I’ve known about (Louisiana) Tech, it’s been their efficiency on offense and their athletic skill on defense (that has been most impressive),” Aranda said.

Louisiana Tech’s “athletic skill” is particularly noteworthy. Since 2014, the program has produced 12 NFL draft picks, including 2020 draftees Amik Robertson and L’Jarius Sneed. The next Bulldog pros could include this season’s standouts like running back Justin Henderson and offensive lineman Kody Russey.

Henderson and Russey are rare returning starters on a new-look roster. Per ESPN.com, Louisiana Tech returns just 46 percent of its production from 2019, making the Bulldogs one of the least experienced teams in college football.

Baylor is in a similar situation. Aranda inherits 51 percent of production from 2019 per ESPN, including a mere 32 percent of defensive production. In linebacker Terrel Bernard, however, the Bears defense returns an important cornerstone around whom to build in the program’s new era.

–Field Level Media