Red-hot Roadrunners go beep-beep, run away from error-prone Bulldogs

(Photo by MURPHY BAVINGA, Louisiana Tech Athletics) 

By MALCOLM BUTLER, Lincoln Parish Journal

SAN ANTONIO — Louisiana Tech committed five turnovers and struggled to get off the field defensively as the Bulldogs fell 51-7 at Conference USA kingpin UTSA Saturday afternoon at the Alamodome.

The Roadrunners (8-2, 6-0 C-USA) picked up their seventh straight win and kept a stranglehold on first place in the league standings. The Bulldogs (3-7, 2-4 C-USA) saw any chance of postseason end with the loss, its third straight in the series.

UTSA scored early and often in building a 21-0 first-quarter lead and then cruising to the win.

“I didn’t get our football team ready to play on the road,” said first-year Tech coach Sonny Cumbie. “We have not started football games very well and this one wasn’t any different. We didn’t start the game well on offense. We fumbled the ball when we had some momentum on our first drive.

“Anytime you turn the ball over five times this is the result you are going to get. You are going to lose football games. Whether you lose 51-7 or whether you lose by one point. You are going to lose the game when you turn the ball over like we did on offense.”

The defending Conference USA champions were simply the better team on Saturday.

“They are a really good football team,” said Cumbie. “Your mistakes become magnified when you are playing a really good football team like UTSA. I am very, very disappointed in the outcome. I am very disappointed as coaches. We didn’t get our team emotionally charged and emotionally ready to play this football game. And ultimately that is my responsibility.”

UTSA scored on all six of its possessions in the first half, four touchdowns and two field goals to build a 34-7 halftime leader. The only bright spot for Tech was a 32-yard strike from freshman quarterback Landry Lyddy — making his second collegiate start — to Smoke Harris late in the first quarter that cut the Roadrunners lead to 21-7.

The Shreveport-Calvary Baptist product, last year’s Mr. Louisiana Football for the Cavaliers, started for the second time in three weeks in place of the injured Parker McNeil. He completed 14-of-26 passes in the game for 138 yards and one TD. He also threw two interceptions in three quarters of action.

“Landry is a good player and he has a great future ahead of him,” said Cumbie. “This was a tough environment for him to play in, much tougher than FIU, against a team that has a pretty good defense. I thought Landry competed. We didn’t do some things to help him out. He made some crucial third-down completions. He stood in the pocket and made some good throws. There were some times that we have to catch the ball on fourth down and we didn’t. In a situation like this I think you learn and grow a lot.”

UTSA quarterback Frank Harris completed 18-of-26 passes for 216 yards and one score while Kevorian Barnes rushed for 106 yards and two scores on just 11 carries. Barnes scored on runs of 46 and 27 yards on his first two carries of the game.

As a team UTSA rushed for 268 yards.

“They are a good football team on offense,” said Cumbie. “We couldn’t get off the field on third down. They ran the football really well but we had chances. We just did not play well enough to win a football game. We didn’t coach well enough to win a football game.”

Maki Carabin recorded a career-high 11 tackles while Hue Davis added 10 tackles.

The Bulldogs travel to Charlotte next week for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff against the 49ers. Cumbie said he wasn’t sure who would start at quarterback in the final two games of the season.

“We will have to evaluate it moving forward and see what gives us the best chance to win,” said Cumbie.