You know, it’s been a pretty good decade. Over the last ten years, Tech has hit some pretty nice highs (and some outrageous lows, but let’s not talk about those).
In football, we saw Tech win a WAC Championship, go 77-51 overall, win
5 6 bowl games, and only have two losing seasons (2011 and 2013). In men’s hoops, the Dunkin’ Dawgs went 204-112 overall, won three regular season conference titles, and went 5-3 in the NIT. Meanwhile, the Lady Techsters had their roughest decade of all time, going 141-120 with only two NCAA Tournament appearances, two WNIT appearances, and one conference title in the 2009-2010 season.
But now that the decade is ending, we here at gtpdd want to cover some of our favorite Louisiana Tech Sports moments from the 2010s. And who doesn’t like a good top ten list?
So in an attempt to be scientific or something, all seven of us filled out a ballot of our favorite moments of the decade. A first place vote was worth ten points, a second place vote is worth nine points, and so on.
Before we jump into the top ten list, let’s look back at a few plays that received some votes, but not quite enough to crack the Top Ten:
- Football shutting out NMSU in the 2011 WAC Championship
- Softball’s 2017 Conference USA Title
- Basketball downing NSU 94-93 after a Raheem Appleby buzzer beater in double OT
- Football beating Ole Miss in Oxford in 2011
- Football finally defeating USM in 2019 due to Amik’s three INTs
- Football shutting out Miami in the Indy Bowl to close out the decade
With all that out of the way, let’s get into it. The Top Ten moments of the decade:
10. Diamond Dogs Secure an At-Large Bid
Nathan: It had been a rough few years for Louisiana Tech baseball before the hiring of Greg Goff in 2015. The team hadn’t made an NCAA regional since 1987, and was coming off three straight losing seasons. Goff started the turnaround in 2015, but it wasn’t until the next year that the team became something to reckon with.
A conference tournament win would have given the team an automatic bid, but the Bulldogs fell to Rice twice in the double-elimination bracket. But between those losses, Tech was able to upset #1 seeded FAU. That win gave the Bulldogs just enough clout to sneak into the 64-team tournament.
9. Walking Off ULL
Nathan: Okay, I promise not all of these will be baseball related.
After Tech baseball’s success in 2016, other programs took notice. Most important of these was Alabama, who poached (then subsequently fired) head coach Greg Goff from the Bulldogs.
Tech went out and hired Lane Burroughs, and while expectations were high, nobody knew if Tech would reach those same heights.
And on a Wednesday night in March, #6 ranked Louisiana-Lafayette came into town. With the game tied at 5 in the bottom of the 13th inning, pinch-hitting Chase Lunceford came to bat with men on first and second and two outs.
And the rest is history:
8. Winning the Heart of Dallas Bowl
Evan: After 2012’s less-than-ideal ending (not to mention the end of the 2014 CUSA Championship game…), going to any Bowl game at all felt nice. But beating a Power 5 team in the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium? That was too good to be true!
The game itself reads like a mid-2010’s greatest hits of LA Tech football: A Xavier Woods pick six, a couple of wonderful Kenneth Dixon touchdowns, a long pass to Carlos Henderson, and a bunch of outstanding plays by transfer athletes. Houston Bates, a linebacker who transferred in from Illinois before the 2014 season, had 4.5 sacks against his former team, and made it really difficult for the Illini to get anything going on offense.
Overall, this game is more significant as the beginning of the longest current bowl game win streak in college football!
7. Hoops Senior Sendoff
Nathan: When Mike White took over as the head basketball coach at Tech, the program had seen better years. After a 24-11 season finish in 2009-10, Kerry Rupp led the Bulldogs to a 12-20 last place finish in the WAC. That was enough to for Tech to move on from Rupp and bring in an assistant from Ole Miss, Mike White.
White needed to fill out his first recruiting class, so he targeted three high schoolers that had seen very little Division 1 attention: Kenneth (Speeedy) Smith, Raheem Appleby, and Michale Kyser.
The trio would go on set the program record for most career wins.
And while Tech never made the NCAA Tournament during their four year stay, Senior Night in 2015 was a night to remember.
6. Amik’s Game Winning Block
Nathan: From the moment he stepped on campus, Amik Robertson has been a game changer for Tech. The All-American was mostly known for his prowess at the cornerback position, but he also made his presence known on special teams from time to time.
Also, it still hurts to write about Amik’s Tech career in the past tense.
5. Dixon’s 99 Yard TD Run in Lafayette
Nathan: Tech entered the 2014 football season with quite a few question marks. Second year head coach Skip Holtz had ended the previous year with a 4-8 record. So when the Bulldogs made the trek to Lafayette following a 48-16 loss to Oklahoma, many people (myself included) just hoped Tech wouldn’t embarrass themselves.
But instead, the Cajuns were the embarrassed party, as the Bulldogs would head back up US-167 having secured a 48-20 victory. The most exciting score of the day was also the first, when Kenneth Dixon received a handoff five yards deep in his own endzone and ended up in Iberia Parish.
4. Kenneth Dixon’s Record Breaker in New Orleans
Nathan: Oh, you though we were done with Kenneth Dixon?
That 99-yarder was only one of 87 career rushing and receiving touchdowns for the Bulldog running back. Number 86 set the record for the most career touchdowns in NCAA history, and while the record was broken a few days later by Navy’s Keenan Reynolds, it still made for a great moment for one of the best players to ever put on a Bulldog uniform. Dixon’s exploits in the New Orleans Bowl are the stuff of legend, as well. He scored touchdowns in his usual #28 jersey, a Jersey with no numbers, AND a #1 jersey, because that’s his position in our hearts.
3. Shakeil Lucas’s Pick Six Against Texas A&M
Evan: This one honestly should be higher up on the list for how absolutely, insanely hype we all were when this happened. To set the stage for you, Tech was 5-0, ranked #23 in the nation, and playing the #22 ranked Aggies in a virtual home game in Independence Stadium. To say the game started poorly is the understatement of the century: The Dogs spotted A&M 27 points before finally getting their #1 offense going. By halftime, the score was 39-16, bad guys. After chipping away at the lead throughout the third quarter, Kenneth Dixon scored a bonkers touchdown that’s worthy of its own spot on this list, bringing the score to 46-38 with 12 minutes to play in the game. Quinton Patton went OFF for 232 yards and FOUR touchdowns, too. But the play we’re here to talk about came right after the Dixon touchdown run: Shak Lucas’s pick six off the eventual Heisman winner Jonathan
Manziel Football. On 1st and 25, Manziel was pressured up the gut by Andre Taylor. Instead of taking a safety, Manziel heaved it straight into the open arms of Tech DE Shakeil Lucas, who took it into the end zone for the score.
“I don’t really remember a lot about it,” said Lucas. “I jumped the route and when I saw the end zone in front of me, my pee-wee days kicked in and I wasn’t going to be denied.”
Much like Shak Lucas, the only thing I remember about the immediate aftermath of this play is going absolutely BUCK F*****G WILD in the end zone band section. I was literally too busy screaming and jumping up and down to even play a single damn note of the fight song! (Sorry, jRob!)
2. Barnes’s Armed Forces Bowl Game Winner
Evan: In the back and forth affair that was the 2016 Armed Forces Bowl, it felt like it would come down to whoever had the ball last. Luckily for us, after Navy tied the game at 45 with 3:40 on the clock, the Dogs slowly marched down the field to put all-time leading scorer Jonathan Barnes on the field for a 32 yard try. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I just want to be as happy as Trent Taylor was when MONEY Barnes drilled the kick:
1. Speedy Smith’s Game Winning Put-back Against Iona
Nathan: I could spend a while setting the stage here, but instead this is all you need to know:
Tech is playing in the postseason NIT tournament. Down by one to Iona. Led by that trio of Speedy, Appleby, and Kyser, the Bulldogs have the ball.
I won’t blame you if you watch this on loop for a bit: