Bulldogs, 49ers both look to end streaks

Landry Lyddy and the Bulldogs face Charlotte today at 2 p.m. (photo by Josh McDaniel)

By Malcolm Butler

When Louisiana Tech faces Charlotte today at 2:30 p.m. at Jerry Richardson Stadium in North Carolina, something has to give.

The Bulldogs have lost 13 straight road games dating back to a win at North Texas in 2020.

The 49ers have lost six straight home games.

One of those streaks will come to an end.

The contest can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on 107.5 FM and on the LA Tech Athletics app with Malcolm Butler and Teddy Allen providing a call of the action.

Tech (3-7, 2-4) is coming off a 51-7 loss at league leader UTSA last weekend in a game that saw the Bulldogs struggle in all three phases of the game. However, true freshman quarterback Landry Lyddy will make his third start of the season today, something that head coach Sonny Cumbie is excited to see.

“It’s Landry’s game really,” said Cumbie when asked about the gameplan for his QBs. “Let’s see how well he does. We have a game plan we feel good about and opportunities for him to spread the ball to the guys who can make plays. I’m excited to watch him play again.”

Lyddy completed 14-of-26 passes for 138 yards and one TD while throwing two interceptions against the Roadrunner, but Cumbie said he felt the young signal caller made some strides.

“I think that Landry did a fine job,” said Cumbie. “He made some good throws on third down to keep some drives alive. He hit Tre Harris on a great throw on a third down. He made a nice to throw to Smoke (Harris) for the touchdown in terms of an anticipation throw over the middle of the field. There are some things read-wise that I have to stay on him about in terms of our RPO game and other things. He was playing against a really good defense.”

Charlotte (2-9, 1-6) counters with one of the most experienced signal callers in the country. Chris Reynolds has thrown for 2,272 yards and 22 touchdowns this season and is the key for the 49ers according to Cumbie.

“41 career starts,” he said. “That’s what he is making today in his last career start at home for Charlotte. He can make plays with his feet. We have watched a lot of crossover film of Charlotte’s when we were preparing for other opponents, and I have a ton of respect for him as a competitor. He is really fun to watch. He won’t be fun to watch (today).

“But watching him in those other games, seeing him compete. He gets knocked around some and he gets back up. He is making throws. He has some talented receivers. They like to throw the ball down in the field in terms of their passing game.”

Elijah Spencer (52-886-9 TDs) and Grant DuBose (62-757-9 TDs) are his main weapons and will be a challenge for a Bulldog defense that has been decimated by injuries this season.

The 49ers are allowing over 41 points and almost 500 yards of offense a game this year, but according to Cumbie, have some playmakers in Amir Siddiq and Markees Watts.

“From a defensive standpoint, they have two of the best defensive ends in our league,” he said. “They are two of the best pass rushers that we will play in Conference USA. We will have our hands full in terms of pass protection.”

The Louisiana Tech football team looks to get back in the win column when they travel to Charlotte, N.C., to take on the Charlotte 49ers at Jerry Richardson Stadium on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3.

Date: Saturday, Nov. 19
Time: 2:30 p.m. (CT)
Location: Charlotte, N.C (Jerry Richardson Stadium)
Live Stats: LaTechSports.com/stats
Radio: LA Tech Sports Network (KXKZ 107.5 FM)

Series: LA Tech leads, 1-0
In Ruston: 1-0
In Charlotte: N/A

The Bulldogs are coming off a 51-7 setback at conference leader UTSA. Landry Lyddy made his second start of the season during the loss, completing 14 of 26 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. The Bulldogs’ touchdown came just before the end of the first quarter when Lyddy connected with wide receiver Smoke Harris on a 32-yard touchdown pass.

Quarterback Parker McNeil leads Tech in passing with 1,908 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. During his last appearance in a win over Middle Tennessee, the senior threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns. McNeil did not appear at UTSA due to an injured throwing hand.

The Bulldogs receiving core is led by the duo of Tre Harris and Smoke Harris.

Tre Harris leads LA Tech this season with 49 receptions, 852 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns. Harris’ nine touchdowns rank eighth nationally, while his 852 receiving yards rank 19th. As a result of his performance this season, Harris was added to the 2022 Biletnikoff Award Watch List on Nov. 9, becoming the first LA Tech receiver to be selected since Adrian Hardy in 2019.

Smoke Harris has tallied 51 receptions, 537 yards receiving and four touchdowns. Harris has recorded a reception in 30 consecutive games, which is the 18th longest streak in the country and is the only Bulldog to score a touchdown in every season dating back to 2018.

On the ground, running back Marquis Crosby leads the way with 741 total yards and five touchdowns this season. Tech has eclipsed the century mark in rushing in its previous four games.

LA Tech ranks sixth nationally in scrimmage plays over 30 yards (33), fifth nationally in plays over 40 yards (18) while ranking eighth in plays from scrimmage over 50 yards (9).

Defensively, LA Tech has had a knack for taking the ball away from opposing offenses. The Bulldogs lead the country in forced fumbles (15) while ranking fifth in turnovers gained (22) and eighth in fumble recoveries (11).

Linebacker Hugh Davis leads the Bulldog defense with 65 tackles and ranks third on the team with 1.5 sacks.

Defensive back BeeJay Williamson is second on the team in tackles with 52, including a tackle for loss in addition to an interception and three pass breakups.

Roberts and Brooks lead the LA Tech secondary with three interceptions apiece, tied for the second most in the conference. Brooks has been named C-USA Defensive Player of the Week twice this season (Oct. 10, Nov. 7).

Kershawn Fisher is the Bulldogs leading tackler on the defensive line with 35 total stops, followed by Deshon Hall with 22.

Cumbie is in his inaugural season at the helm of the LA Tech football program. LA Tech is one of 29 FBS programs with a new coach this season.

Charlotte carries a 2-9 overall record and a five-game home losing streak into the matchup on Saturday. The 49ers are 1-6 in C-USA play, with a 56-23 victory at Rice on Oct. 29.

Charlotte is averaging 24.3 points per contest while allowing 41.1 points a game this season.

The 49er offense is led by redshirt senior quarterback Chris Reynolds, who has completed 181-286 passes this season for 2,272 yards and 22 touchdowns. Reynolds was recently named a semifinalist for the Burlsworth Trophy, which is an award that honors the most outstanding football player in the country that began their career as a walk-on.

Running back Shadrick Byrd is their leading rusher with 568 yards and four touchdowns.

Wide receivers Elijah Spencer and Grant Dubose are the 49ers’ top receivers. Spencer leads the way with 886 yards receiving, while Dubose has tallied 757 receiving yards. Both have each recorded nine receiving touchdowns.

Linebacker Prince Bemah and defensive back Wayne Jones lead Charlotte in tackles with 58 apiece. Jones, a transfer from Kansas State also leads the 49ers with two interceptions and has posted two pass breakups and a quarterback hurry this season.  

Charlotte is currently led by interim head coach Pete Rossomando after they parted ways with Will Healy on Oct. 23. Biff Poggi was recently hired as the third head coach in program history on Nov. 15, and will take over the reigns following the 2022 season.