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Fresno State 45, Louisiana Tech 13

12/8/2002

RUSTON, La. (AP) _ Rodney Davis capped a big season with a big
night.
Davis rushed for 221 yards and two touchdowns to lead Fresno
State to a 45-13 victory over Louisiana Tech on Thursday night.
``We have to be able to run the football,'' Fresno State coach
Pat Hill said. ``Tonight was a night that was important and Rodney
Davis had a great night.''
Davis, a junior college transfer playing his first season with
the Bulldogs, moved into second place on the school's single season
rushing list with 1,433 yards _ 44 yards behind Ron Rivers' 1993
record.
It was the second time this season that Davis reached 200 yards
rushing in a game. He ran for 201 yards and two touchdowns in
Fresno State's 30-7 victory over SMU.
``We didn't seem to be able to stop them,'' Louisiana Tech coach
Jack Bicknell said. ``They ran the ball and we didn't tackle very
well, and then we just didn't make plays on offense. Truthfully, we
didn't get very many opportunities in the second half because they
just ran the ball down our throat.''
Fresno State (8-5, 6-2), winners of four straight and seven of
their last nine games, had already earned a third straight trip to
the Silicon Valley Football Classic.
Fresno State is now 4-0 against Louisiana Tech (4-8, 3-5).
``Our seniors are 33-15 and this season is their fourth bowl
game,'' Hill said. ``I don't know how many programs around the
country can say that.''
The excitement of playing a rare game on national television
ended early for Louisiana Tech. The crowd thinned quickly as Fresno
State pulled away in the second half and the temperature dropped to
29 degrees.
Tech was 4-0 at home this season, averaging 47 points per game.
But Luke McCown struggled under relentless pressure, completing
just 16 of 49 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns.
Joe Smith rushed for 123 yards on 20 carries for Louisiana Tech.
Paul Pinegar was 18-for-27 for 321 yards and three touchdowns
for Fresno State. Marque Davis, Rodney's brother, caught seven
passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. Deandre Gilbert had five
receptions for 133 yards.
``We knew we would be tested,'' Hill said. ``We have never won
in Louisiana so tonight was a first.''
After a scoreless first quarter, Fresno State cranked up its
running game, driving 86 yards for a score to make it 7-0 early in
the second quarter. Davis gained 71 yards on the drive, including a
2-yard touchdown run.
Tech pulled to 7-6 on McCown's 48-yard touchdown pass to Chris
Norwood. Fresno State blocked the extra point.
Fresno stretched its lead to 14-6 on Pinegar's 11-yard pass to
Marque Davis with 7:31 left.
McCown tossed his second touchdown pass of the half to D.J.
Curry, hitting him with a 5-yarder with 1:43 remaining in the half
to pull Tech to 14-13.
Fresno State needed just six plays to score again as Pinegar hit
Gilbert with a 35-yard TD pass to make it 21-13 at the half.
Fresno State opened the third quarter with two quick touchdowns.
Pinegar capped an 80-yard drive with a 4-yard TD pass to Stephen
Spach.
On the next possession, an intentional grounding call on
Louisiana Tech drove the Bulldogs back to their own goal line.
After Dustin Upton grabbed a very high snap and punted from the
back of the end zone, a personal foul against Tech gave Fresno
first down on the Tech 11.
Adam Jennings covered the distance on first down to make it
35-13.
Asen Asparuhov opened the fourth quarter with an 18-yard field
goal for Fresno and Davis scored on a 4-yard run to make it 45-13
with 10:29 left in the game.