The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are coming off their first Western Athletic Conference title since 2001. The Bulldogs went 8-4 this season, including a 6-1 WAC record.
This will be Louisiana Tech’s first bowl appearance since 2008 when they lost 17-10 to Northern Illinois in the Independence Bowl.
Second-year head coach Sonny Dykes was named WAC Coach of the Year. Louisiana Tech had a league-high seven players named first team All-WAC.
“They’re probably right there with Boise [State] and Baylor as far as their skill players,” said Patterson. “They’re all over the place with their receivers. Good quarterback, great running back, physical offensive front.”
Louisiana Tech’s offense is led by wide receivers Quinton Patton and Taulib Ikharo. Patton, a first team All-WAC selection had 74 catches for 1,135 yards and ten touchdowns. Ikharo followed with fifty receptions for 496 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bulldogs switched quarterbacks midway through the season from freshman Nick Isham to junior Colby Cameron. Cameron went 97 for 172 and two touchdowns in the last six games.
On the ground, the Bulldogs are led by Lennon Creer’s 198 carries. Creer had nine touchdowns and 4.2 yards per carry.
Louisiana Tech’s defense is powered by the WAC Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Adrien Cole. Cole recorded a team-high 120 tackles this season, 72 of which were unassisted. He led the team with 13 tackles for loss, including two sacks.
Joining Cole at linebacker is Jay Dudley, a second team All-WAC selection. Dudley finished second on the team with 92 tackles and a team-high four interceptions.
Louisiana Tech opened its season with a 1-4 start. It fell in the season opener to Southern Miss by two points. The Bulldogs would later fall to Houston, 35-34. Their lone victory in those five games was in overtime against Central Arkansas. Louisiana Tech increased their losing streak to three when they lost their conference opener to Hawaii 44-26.
The loss to Hawaii would mark the end of Louisiana Tech’s losing streak. The Bulldogs rattled off seven straight wins, including a 27-7 beatdown on SEC foe Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss.. The victory over New Mexico State on Nov. 26, coupled with Nevada’s loss to Utah State, secured the WAC title for the Bulldogs.
“They changed quarterbacks and really came on, offensively,” said Patterson. “Defensively, they were able to hold an SEC school to seven points, and they’re going to get about 14 practices. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Famous Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Terry Bradshaw, quarterback
Terry Bradshaw played quarterback for the Bulldogs 1966-1969. He was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Bradshaw threw for 2,890 yards during his junior year, No. 1 in the NCAA. The Bulldogs finished 9-2 and beat Akron in the Rice Bowl. The following year, Bradshaw garnered an 8-2 record and finished third in the NCAA with 2,314 yards.
The Pittsburgh Steelers took Bradshaw with the first pick in the 1970 NFL draft. He would win four Super Bowls (’74, ’75, ’78, ’79) and two Super Bowl MVPs (’78 and ’79) in 14 seasons. He was inducted into the Pro-football Hall of Fame in 1989. Bradshaw is now a football analyst and cohost of Fox NFL Sunday.
Tim Rattay, quarterback
Tim Rattay transferred to Louisiana Tech (’97-‘99) after one season at Scottsdale Community College. Rattay is in the top five of every offensive category in NCAA football. He broke school records for yards (4,943) and touchdowns (46) in a single season as a senior. He also finished in the top ten of the ‘98 Heisman voting.
Rattay played for four teams in his NFL career. He was taken by the San Francisco 49ers in the 7th round of the 2000 NFL draft. He was backup for Jeff Garcia for most of his time in San Francisco but was given the starting job when Garcia was released. Before leaving the 49ers, Rattay broke Joe Montana’s record for completions in a game (38) against Chicago. Rattay would spend time with Tampa Bay (‘05-‘06), Tennessee (’07) and Arizona (’07) to finish up his NFL career. He then played one year with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League. Rattay is now the wide receivers coach for the Locomotives.
Luke McCown, quarterback
McCown was a four-year starter at Louisiana Tech (’00-‘03) and played in 43 consecutive games. He became the NCAA’s No. 4 all-time leader in passing yards (12,666) and is ninth in touchdown passes (87). During his tenure, McCown led the Bulldogs to upset wins over Oklahoma State and Michigan State.
McCown is now a quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was taken in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns. He played four games for the Browns and was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2005. McCown played in five games for the Bucs and threw for 1,007 yards, three interceptions and five touchdowns. He was traded to the Jaguars in 2009 and was David Gerrard’s backup for two seasons.