CHAMPAIGN — The fireworks after Saturday’s football game at Memorial Stadium were not as explosive as the Louisiana Tech football team.
The Bulldogs (3-0) had touchdown passes of 21, 27, 38 and 78 yards in their 52-24 rout of the Illinois Fighting Illini.
“They just beat us in one-on-one situations,’’ Illinois coach Tim Beckman said.
But, the big touchdown plays were something new for Louisiana Tech, which has scored at least 50 points in all three victories.
Before Saturday night, the Bulldogs had two of its 16 touchdowns come from more than 20 yards.
“Big plays hurt and that’s something a successful defense can’t allow,’’ said Illinois senior defensive end Michael Buchanan, who added those plays were probably a result of “poor tackling and guys not being where they were supposed to be.’’
Louisiana Tech receiver Quinton Patton, who 6 receptions for 164 yards, made two of those big plays to start the second half.
“We were fortunate to get a couple of big plays and they turned the tide of the game,’’ said Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes, whose team went from leading 21-17 at halftime to an 35-17 advantage in just 5 minutes, 34 seconds of the second half.
Colby Cameron, quarterback for the Bulldogs, finished the game with 284 yards passing and four scores.
According to Beckman, the defensive pass problems were a combination of factors.
“We have to create more pressure on the quarterback and then we have to cover better,’’ he said. “It was a lot of play-action that caught us in one-on-one situations, and they ended up being successful.
“They ended up being good football players that ended up making some big plays.’’
And while some people will associate this loss with the 45-14 drubbing at Arizona State on Sept. 8 when the Sun Devils threw for 318 yards, Illinois sophomore quarterback Reilly O’Toole is not one of them.