Courtesy of Louisiana Tech Athletics
RUSTON, La. â€“ Louisiana Techâ€™s offense and defense played to a 44-44 tie Saturday in front of several thousand fans at Joe Aillet Stadium.
Due to injuries, the game was set up as offense vs. defense with a modified scoring system that awarded points for select achievements during the game, as well as the normal touchdowns, field goals and extra points.
Steven Ensminger was 13-for-21 for 148 yards and a touchdown Saturday in a game that saw no interceptions. Ross Jenkins, battling Ensminger for the top spot, was 7-for-12 for 58 yards and a touchdown while Colby Cameron was 11-for-14 for 81 yards. Doak Raulston also performed well, going 10-for-21 for 106 yards.
Most of Ensmingerâ€™s passing yards came on an 81-yard touchdown pass to Tim Molton, Moltonâ€™s only catch of the day. Eric Harper led all receivers with five catches for 62 yards while Richie Casey caught a touchdown pass from Jenkins as a part of his 31 receiving yards on five catches. Caseyâ€™s touchdown came late in the first quarter, completing a three-minute drive that spanned 61 yards on nine plays.
â€œItâ€™s been a while since I played,â€ said Casey. â€œJust getting out there, I was so excited I had to find some way to calm myself down. I was just excited to be able to be out there and playing. It feels good that they [the coaches] have confidence in me and they arenâ€™t holding my legs against me. It makes me feel good that they are going to be looking for me and to be able to come to me [to make a play].â€
Lennon Creer and Lyle Fitte paced the rushing game as Creer ran the ball 12 times for 53 yards and a touchdown while Fitte recorded 46 yards on 10 carries. Creerâ€™s touchdown came on a one yard run that capped off a 13-play, 74-yard drive that lasted over four and a half minutes.
â€œThe thing I was really happy about offensively was that we only made one turnover today,â€ said Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes. â€œWe did a much better job taking care of the football. We have to continue to develop a little more continuity, offensively. This summer for us is going to be a very critical time. It will give our quarterbacks and receivers a chance to improve.â€
The defense put constant pressure on the offense throughout the game and recorded seven total sacks for a loss of 57 yards in the game. Solomon Randle, who led the defense with nine total tackles, was credited with three tackles for a loss and one sack. Tank Calais had seven tackles with one for a loss of two yards.
â€œI feel really good about where we stand defensively,â€ Dykes said. â€œSeveral guys stood out today, like Solomon Randle who was very active. Our middle linebacker position between Solomon Randle and Adrien Cole is a strength of our defense. Both of those guys are pretty good. Tank Calais is as consistent as a defensive player that we have right now. He is playing really well at that nickel position and that is the perfect position for him to play. It gives him a lot of freedom to make some plays.â€
Randy Grigsby led the sack category, recording two sacks for a total loss of 20 yards for the offense while also forcing and recovering a fumble. Of his five tackles on the day, Christian Lacey made 2.5 of those stops for a loss of 12 yards for the defense.
Overall, the defense had 17 tackles for a total loss of 77 yards.
Saturdayâ€™s T-Day Spring Game was Louisiana Techâ€™s 14th practice session during the spring workout season. The Bulldogs will wrap up the spring season with one final practice on Tuesday at 4 p.m. in full pads at Joe Aillet Stadium.