C-USA notebook: Slow start for Petersen at La. Tech
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Tony Petersen's opening month as Louisiana Tech's offensive coordinator isn't going quite as planned. With that, the Bulldogs were outbarked by Tulane 24-15 in their first-ever Conference USA game Thursday night.
The Bulldogs (1-2, 0-1) forced four turnovers and had five sacks, but their offense didn't score a touchdown until there was 3:45 left in the game. The hosts gained only 295 total yards, with two quarterbacks completing just 16 of 44 passes.
"Offensively it was hard to watch," said new Tech coach Skip Holtz. "Offensively, I apologize to the people that had to sit there and watch, because it was hard to watch. When you are about 20 percent on third down, and I do not know what we were throwing the ball, but it certainly was not good."
Holtz came to Ruston to replace Sonny Dykes, who took the vacant California job. Holtz hired Petersen from Marshall, where he served as quarterback coach with a "co-coordinator" title. Petersen had to cope with the loss of many seniors, including quarterback Colby Cameron.
It hasn't been easy. The Bulldogs' only win was at home against Lamar, and that was just 27-14. The lead closed to 17-14 until Tech pulled away.
Neither of the West Division teams plays Marshall this fall.
The Marshall-Ohio game should be the day's second-most interesting game of the C-USA day. The fun begins at noon, when East Carolina hosts Virginia Tech.
There are many angles to that game, which will draw a full and rowdy crowd to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, N.C. For one, Marshall plays at Virginia Tech next week; second, the Pirates and the Thundering Herd (2-0) are the only undefeated teams in the league.
ECU (2-0, 1-0) is taking on three Atlantic Coast Conference teams this fall. After today, the Pirates take a week off and then play at North Carolina, and later play at North Carolina State on Nov. 23. The Pirates faced those three in 2010, beating N.C. State.
Shane Carden has taken the early league lead in passing, both in yards (319.0 per game) and efficiency rating (176.8). Marshall's Rakeem Cato, whose load has been lightened by routs, is fifth in both categories (241.5 yards, 155.4 rating).
Around the USA
The Roadrunners lost to the Cowboys 56-35 and won't find the going any easier tonight, as they play at Arizona.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.