Lyddy’s efforts not enough as Tech defense falters in OT loss

 SHARP START:  Calvary Baptist product Landry Lyddy threw for 256 yards in his first collegiate start Friday night for Louisiana Tech. (Photo by JOSH MCDANIEL, Louisiana Tech Athletics)

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MIAMI Shreveport’s Landry Lyddy got his first collegiate start Friday night for Louisiana Tech, and was impressive before the Bulldogs suffered the same fate they did a week earlier when he came off the bench in the final minute.

Tech lost in heartbreaking fashion for the second game in a row, falling 42-34 to FIU in double overtime on Friday night at Ricardo Silva Stadium.

Lyddy, Mr. Louisiana Football as a high school senior last season at Calvary Baptist, operated in the same style he did last week in a brief role when he threw two TD passes in the final minute and overtime of a 42-41 home loss to Rice.

Friday night, he completed his first 10 passes and went 28-of-40 for 256 passing yards, distributing the ball to nine different receivers. Lyddy guided Tech from behind to a 27-24 edge in the fourth period, but the Tech defense didn’t hold on, giving up a 69-yard drive in the final two minutes that produced a game-tying 28-yard field goal in the final seconds of regulation.

“Landry did a nice job. He competed and made some really good throws, got us into some really nice plays. He did a good job in the RPO game,” said first-year Bulldogs coach Sonny Cumbie. “He gave us an opportunity at the end of the game to win.”

Both teams scored touchdowns and kicked extra points in the first extra period. FIU notched a TD and converted its two-point try to move back on top, then stopped Tech just outside the 10 on downs to salvage the victory.

Tech (2-6, 1-3 C-USA) hit on all cylinders early, scoring on drives of 75, 61, and 75 on its first three offensive possessions – a 1-yard sneak by Lyddy, a 36-yard field goal by Jacob Barnes and a 29-yard rushing TD by Marquis Crosby.

The Bulldogs held a 17-7 advantage early in the second quarter, but the momentum shifted in favor of the Panthers. The home team took advantage of short field position, mainly by winning the special teams battle (blooped onside kick recovered, 17-yard punt by LA Tech, and blocked field goal).

FIU (4-4, 2-2 C-USA) converted the special teams plays into 17 consecutive points, taking a 24-17 advantage into the fourth quarter.

Tech ended up totaling 184 yards on the ground, nine of which came on a speedy rush to the outside by Charvis Thornton for a tie at 24-all with 13:01 remaining. Another short field goal by Barnes, this one from 32 yards, allowed the Bulldogs to retake the lead with just over five minutes to go. Tech had one more series, but fell just a couple yards shy of a clinching first down, leaving the door open for FIU to make the game-tying drive in the final 120 seconds.

“We have to find a way to win,” said Cumbie. “We had an opportunity to seize momentum early in the game, but our lack of execution on special teams cost us. It is our job as coaches to respond the right way. It is not about feeling sorry about ourselves. Our players are very dejected. Football provides a ton of lessons. We are going to find ways to win football games.” 

Tech returns to Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston next Saturday afternoon to face Middle Tennessee.