HOUSTON, Texas —For the seventh time this season, a Louisiana Tech football game was decided by a single possession as the Bulldogs lost to Rice, 35-31, in its season finale on Saturday.
LA Tech (3-9, 2-6 C-USA) took an early 10-0 lead after a 20-yard field goal by redshirt freshman kicker/punter Jacob Barnes and a 44-yard touchdown reception from freshman quarterback JD Head to freshman wide receiver Tre Harris. Rice (4-8, 3-5 C-USA) scored a pair of touchdowns to take the 14-10 lead at the half.
It was the final game as head Bulldog for Tech coach Skip Holtz.
Tech Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Eric Wood announced on Friday that Holtz would be coaching his final game for the Bulldogs against Rice.
“It was a very chirpy game,” Holtz said. “There was a lot of talking going on. It was a very physical game. Both teams played extremely hard. There wasn’t a bowl. There wasn’t a conference, so it’s playing for pride at the end of the year and both teams competed really hard. Unfortunately, we made a couple too many mistakes tonight to be able to overcome them to win.”
Holtz was the third-most winningest coach in program history with 64 victories in his nine seasons. He led Tech to seven straight bowl games and earned his 150th career win as a FBS head coach in the 45-42 victory over Southeastern on Sept. 11.
Head connected with sophomore wide receiver Smoke Harris for a 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter for the 17-14 lead. After another touchdown by the Owls, Head rushed for a 22-yard touchdown and then found junior wide receiver Griffin Hebert for the 6-yard touchdown to lead 31-21 with 13:10 left in the fourth quarter.
Rice trimmed the lead to 31-28 with just over four minutes to play. After forcing a three-and-out, the Owls returned a punt for 48 yards to the Tech 18 yard line where they went onto convert a touchdown for the 35-31 lead. Tech drove down the field to the Rice 33-yard line, but the Owls would intercept the ball to seal the victory.
Harris led the Bulldogs with six receptions. The wide receiver led the team in receptions in all 12 games this season to become the first Tech player to have the most receptions in every game since Troy Edwards in 1998.
Barnes made his lone field goal of the day, a 20-yarder, and was a perfect 4-for-4 in PATs.
He is now a perfect 72-for-72 in PATs in his career.