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October 21, 2012

Dixon's record six TDs paces Tech over Idaho

RUSTON -- Louisiana Tech freshman Kenneth Dixon continued his assault on the record books, rushing for 232 yards and six touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to a 70-28 win over Idaho before 20,255 fans at Joe Aillet Stadium Saturday night.

Dixon scored on runs of 1, 2, 1, 7, 2 and 20 yards to break Arry Moody's 36-year old single game record of five rushing touchdowns in a game set against Northeast Louisiana in 1976. The Strong, Ark. native now has 16 rushing touchdowns on the season - 15 of them coming at home - as he broke Charles McDaniel's freshman single season mark of 14 set in 1971.

"I thought it was a good win," said Tech head coach Sonny Dykes. "It was good to see the way the team came out and played after a tough loss last week. We wanted to come out and get off to a good start after not doing that last week against Texas A&M."

LA Tech (6-1, 1-0 WAC) recorded 839 total yards of offense, a program single game record and the most by an FBS team this season as the Bulldogs rushed for 408 yards and passed for another 431 yards in the win.

The 70 points were the most by a LA Tech team since the Tim Rattay-led Bulldogs scored 77 in a win over UL-Lafayette in 1998. Tech, which entered the game ranked No. 1 in the country in scoring offense, also tied a WAC single game record with 56 first half points as the Bulldogs led 56-21 at the break.

It didn't take long for the onslaught to begin as Idaho (1-6, 1-2) fumbled the opening kickoff as Tech recovered on the Vandals one-yard line. Dixon scored the first of his half dozen TDs on a one-yard plunge as Tech led 7-0 only 12 seconds into the game.

After Dixon's second score of the night gave the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest, Idaho struck with a 58-yard double pass that saw Roman Runner hit a wide open Najee Lovett down the right sideline to cut the deficit to 14-7.

"We got hit by a bad play early with that double pass they scored on," Dykes said. "But our guys kept their foot on the accelerator. That's the sign of a good team when you can pull away early."

A Ray Holley five-yard touchdown run with 10:03 to play in the opening quarter gave Tech a 21-7 advantage but the Vandals answered immediately as Todd Handley took the kickoff and raced 92-yards to paydirt as the deficit was once again only one touchdown.

Dixon's third score of the night - a one-yard run - and a Colby Cameron to Quinton Patton 20-yard pitch and catch completed the first quarter scoring as the Dawgs led 35-14.

"Kenneth (Dixon) runs hard," said Dykes. "The good thing is he'll get even better when he learns to run lower and quits taking so many shots. He'll get better and better as he learns that."

Tech struck again early in the second quarter as Myles White caught a short pass, made a couple of Vandal defenders miss and raced 36 yards to the endzone. Three minutes later Dixon scored for the fourth time in the game on a 7-yard run as the lead ballooned to 49-14 with 9:50 to play before the half.

Each team scored one more time in the second quarter as James Baker scored on a one-yard run for the Vandals following an 86-yard fumble return that gave Idaho the ball on the Bulldogs one-yard line. Dixon then scored his fifth TD on a two-yard run with 3:17 to play in the stanza as Tech led 56-21 at the break.

Dixon broke Moody's record midway through the third quarter on a highlight reel 20-yard run through the middle of the Vandals defense. It would be the freshman's last carry of the night as he finished with a career-high 232 yards on only 17 carries and the six scores.

"He's a great running back," Cameron said. "He's big and fast and quicker than people expect. With him doing so well, it helps the quarterback and is a credit to our offense."

It was also the last play for the Bulldog offensive starters as the Tech reserves played the final quarter and a half of the game. Zach Griffith led Tech's final scoring drive, a seven-play, 44-yard march that ended with a three-yard run by the backup signal caller - his first career score.

Idaho scored the lone touchdown of the fourth quarter on a one-yard pass from Dominique Blackman to Michael LaGrone with 8:31 to play.

In addition to Dixon's big night, walk-on running back Brandon Davis added 85 yards on 14 carries while Holley finished with 47 yards on 11 carries and one score.

Cameron was impressive once again, completing 29-of-37 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Cameron has now thrown 20 touchdowns this season and has yet to throw an interception in 275 pass attempts.

As a team, Tech registered 39 first downs while averaging 8.8 yards per play in 95 snaps under center.

Defensively, the Bulldogs were stellar, holding Idaho to only 304 yards and 11 first downs in the game. The Vandals scored three touchdowns, but one was via special teams, one came after taking over on the Tech one-yard line following a fumble and one was on a trick play. The Bulldogs defense also forced four more turnovers.

"Idaho was 0-11 on third down," Dykes said. "That's as good as I've seen getting off the field. (Tech defensive coordinator) Tommy Spangler had a good game plan and (the defense) did a good job making plays on the ball."

The Bulldogs return to action next Saturday when they travel to Las Cruces to face New Mexico State at 7 p.m. CT.



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