RUSTON - So the Sonny Dykes’ era at Louisiana Tech University was supposed to be all about offense, huh?
Oh, the Bulldogs play defense, too.
Oh, how they do.
Ask the 10 teams that Tech (6-4, 4-1 Western Athletic Conference) has played so far, each of which has been held below its rushing average and minus a running back who has reached triple digits.
Or check the weekly WAC statistical report, where the Bulldogs are No. 1 against the rush (105.2 ypg), in turnover margin (plus eight) and fewest points allowed per game (25.0).
Overall, Tech has totaled five takeways, including two in a 27-7 victory at Southeastern Conference member Ole Miss on Saturday; linebacker Jay Dudley had returned two pass interceptions for touchdowns and safety Javontay Crowe and cornerback Terry Carter each has returned an aerial pickoff to the end zone. Defensive back Chad Boyd has returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
“When you play hard and run to the football like we have, then you’ve got a good chance to create some turnovers,” Dykes said. “If you look at our season and split it in half, the big difference has been in getting turnovers.
“We were 1-4 in the first five games and now have won our last five games.”
Tech has intercepted 16 passes to rank No. 4 in the country in that department.
“Lots of that has to do with our pass rush,” Dykes said. “For whatever reason, we’re making the plays to get the interceptions. Last year, we probably led the country in drops.
“A lot of how we’re doing defensively this year is playing tough and going to the football.”
And the defensive toughness hasn’t been lost on members of the Tech offensive unit which is averaging 33.7 points per game during the win streak.
“It makes it easier on the offense when you have a defense playing like ours has,” junior quarterback Colby Cameron said. “They’ve been a huge momentum builder for us, and it really helps get offense in gear.”
Tech’s defense will have a major task Saturday when it faces WAC leader Nevada (6-3, 4-0) in a 3 p.m. showdown in Reno, Nev.
The Wolf Pack has been notoriously tough on the Bulldogs with their “Pistol” attack which puts a big emphasis on the running game.
And in the current conference statistical report, Nevada is No. 1 in total offense (524.7 ypg) and time of possession (34:06).
“They’ve got a great offense, and it’s going to take all of us, not just or two, going to the runner,” said senior linebacker Adrien Cole.