Jonathan Barnes

Undermanned La Tech holding upper hand on Marshall at half

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Louisiana Tech may be playing without five starters due to an academic eligibility issue, but the Bulldogs are leading Marshall on the road in the Conference USA championship game at halftime. A sloppy start for Marshall has led to two turnovers, and the Bulldogs lead 17-13 at the break.

Louisiana Tech opened the scoring with a 26-yard field goal from Jonathan Barnes. Louisiana Tech had four plays inside the red zone but had to settle for the three points on its first offensive possession of the game. Later in the first quarter the Louisiana Tech defense recovered a fumble by Marshall’s Steward Butler at the Marshall 33-yard line. On the first play following the turnover, Kenneth Dixon took a handoff and found room for a 33-yard touchdown for a 10-0 lead. Dixon has rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns in the half.

Rakeem Cato has completed nine of 20 pass attempts so far for 136 yards and a touchdown. The lone touchdown came on the first play of the second quarter, a pass to Deon-Tay McManus. Justin Haig has added a pair of field goals in the second quarter, both from at least 40 yards.

Marshall is playing for one last shot at a possible landing spot in the New Years Six bowl line-up, although the HErd may need a decent amount of help. Boise State appears to be in the driver’s seat and can wrap up the coveted invitation to the Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl or Cotton Bowl with a win in tonight’s Mountain West Conference championship. If Boise State tumbles, the door is open for Marshall with a win, or Northern Illinois or Memphis. Marshall may only have one loss with a win, but the perception of the overall body of work has been scrutinized in a negative fashion all season long.

But hey, win this game and then we’ll talk.