78F Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LA
Louisiana Tech might be in the midst of one of the best seasons in school history, but it collectively understands it can't take anything for granted.
After a lackluster performance in their last contest, the No. 22 Bulldogs hope to maintain full focus when they try for a third consecutive victory Saturday against visiting Texas-San Antonio in a Western Athletic Conference matchup.
Louisiana Tech (7-1, 2-0) moved back into the Top 25 by piling up a school-record 839 yards during a 70-28 rout of Idaho on Oct. 20. However, the Bulldogs held a 7-0 halftime lead against a one-win New Mexico State squad before totaling 530 yards in a 28-14 road victory last Saturday for their first-ever win as a ranked team.
"I guess we are human," said senior Colby Cameron, who was 29 of 44 for 292 yards with a touchdown. "It was kind of like a gut check to us that we need to get better."
Though the Bulldogs rank in the top 10 in the FBS averaging 52.6 points and 328.6 passing yards, they learned last weekend that even the most favorable matchups can be a challenge.
"We are not taking any team lightly," receiver Myles White, who had season highs of seven receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown last Saturday, told Louisiana Tech's official website. "We have to step our game up some more. (This last game showed) anything can happen. We expect to be great so we have to execute at all times."
Cameron has certainly done that while ranking among the national leaders completing 70.5 percent of his passes for 2,598 yards with 21 TDs and throwing an NCAA single-season record 319 passes without an interception. Dating back to last season, Cameron has thrown 335 passes without a pick and is in position to break the national record of 379 set by Russell Wilson over the 2008 and 2009 seasons while at North Carolina State.
Cameron's top target, Quinton Patton, has 65 receptions for 848 yards and 10 TDs, but has been limited to 10 for 83 yards and a score in the last two games.
While the Bulldogs' offense sputtered some at New Mexico State, it got back on track thanks to 130 rushing yards and a touchdown from senior Ray Holley.
Whether through the air or on the ground, the Bulldogs pose a major challenge to a Texas-San Antonio team playing its second full season of football and first in the WAC. The Roadrunners (5-3, 1-2), guided by former Miami coach Larry Coker, have been outscored 134-55 during a three-game skid after winning their first five contests - three against non-FBS schools.
"(UTSA) is actually a good football team, and you can see them improving," Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes said. "I think what has happened is they played a pretty favorable schedule early and gained a little confidence. I really think they did a smart thing scheduling and got some confidence, and then they played some of the better teams in the WAC."
Freshman Ryan Polite has completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 550 yards with three TDs and three INTs over the last two games in place of Eric Soza, who could return from a fractured hip suffered during a 34-14 loss at Rice on Oct. 13. Polite threw for 248 yards with a touchdown and two picks during last Saturday's 48-17 loss to Utah State.