RUSTON — Colby Cameron passed for 237 yards and Lennon Creer got his seventh career 100-yard rushing performance as Louisiana Tech defeated San Jose State 38-28 on Saturday.
While the offense was recording 497 total yards, the Bulldogs defense forced five turnovers, including a season-high four interceptions as Tech held SJSU to 12 yards rushing on 17 carries.
The Bulldogs (4-4, 3-1 Western Athletic Conference) used a five-minute stretch that included the final possession of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half to blow open a close game to beat the Spartans (3-5, 2-2 WAC) for the fifth straight time.
“It was a good win for us,” Tech coach Sonny Dykes said. “It ended up being a little tighter than we wanted it to be at the end. It was frustrating in the fourth quarter. We did not make some plays to be able to run out the clock, and then we ended up giving up a 99-yard drive. The biggest play was stopping the two-point conversion (after their final TD). That would have made it a one possession game.”
Tech led 17-14 late in the second quarter but capitalized on two interceptions to score 21 straight points as the Bulldogs led 38-14 with a little more than 10 minutes to play in the third quarter.
The barrage started when safety Jamel Johnson intercepted a Matt Faulkner pass with 51 seconds to play in the second quarter and returned it deep into Spartans territory. Three plays later, Cameron hit Quinton Patton on a 2-yard TD toss — the duo’s second scoring hookup of the game — as Tech took a 24-14 lead into halftime.
“We played extremely well in the first half, only giving up a cheap touchdown after a fumbled punt return,” Dykes said. “It all started with our ability to stop the run, and that was very critical to winning this game. It kind of made them one-dimensional, and our defense made some big plays with sacks and interceptions.”
After a 40-yard kickoff return by freshman Levander Liggins to open the second half, the Bulldogs marched 60 yards on 12 plays and took a 31-14 lead on a 1-yard touchdown dive by Creer with 11:15 to play in the third quarter. Tech converted a pair of third downs and one fourth down on the scoring drive.
“Offensively, we had a great drive to start the second half, but we have to do a better job of making plays and running out the clock,” Dykes said.
On the first play of scrimmage for San Jose State following the kickoff, Tech linebacker Jay Dudley intercepted Faulkner and raced 36-yards untouched to the end zone as the Bulldogs lead ballooned to 38-14. It was the third straight game Tech has returned an interception for a score, and the second for Dudley.
San Jose State added a Chandler Jones 5-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter and a Ryan Otten 20-yard scoring reception late in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough as the Bulldogs won for the third straight time.