RUSTON, La. -- Louisiana Tech chose a bad time to have its worst performance of the season. Tech opened WAC play with Hawaii Saturday night and fell by a score of 44-26.
Disappointment was the keyword in the post-game press conference from head coach Sonny Dykes and some of his players.
"Disappointing performance, obviously, a little bit bit embarrassed by how our team played," said Dykes. "[Hawaii] was a much more mature football team than we were tonight in a lot of different ways. That was pretty evident in the game and pretty evident in the score. We've got to handle things better than we did and handle the ups and downs of a football game better than we dealt with them tonight. I was not pleased at all with the product we put out on the field tonight and we've got to get better, play better and react better."
Dykes apologized for his team's performance and took full responsibility for the performance. Following the interception returned for a touchdown and fumble on the ensuing kickoff that was returned for a touchdown Tech seemed to be done at that point.
"We kind of lost our focus," said Dykes about the mistakes. "[We] went into a little bit of a panic mode and lost our focus. If we don't make those plays this game is competitive down the stretch. That's what we have to learn and that all start with me; handling things better and it trickles down to our players."
Having good attendance and performing the way they did made Dykes even more disappointed.
"The support was outstanding," said Dykes. "I would like to personally thank each person personally for being there. It was a great crowd, I'm sorry that we played like we did. That's not what this team is about. That's why I am so disappointed that we had such a great crowd and we didn't put a better product on the field."
Senior corner back, Terry Carter echoed Dykes' apology.
"It is pretty embarrassing and very disappointing," said Carter. "We have a bunch of great fans and I am apologizing for the way we competed on the field. I promise that will never happen again."
Following the game, Dykes said the team morale was disappointment.
"I think everyone is disappointed," Dykes said. "We're embarrassed about how we played and how we represented ourselves and our team and our program. I'm embarrassed. I didn't do a good job."
Time and time again, Tech tried to make something out of nothing on plays. When a team does that, bad things typically happen.
"The worst thing you can do is try and do too much," said Dykes. "That's what we did over and over and over tonight; we tried to do too much."
During the game, there were multiple occasions when the officials congregated for minutes on hand, the longest a 22-minute powwow. Dykes said he was never given a full explanation of what exactly happened. The word we heard was after an incomplete pass by Hawaii on third down, the play became under review. The replay official in the booth thought Hawaii had been given five downs instead of four. The officials then decide to give Tech the ball on the Hawaii 22 yard line. Hawaii head coach Greg McMackin argues with the officials and tells them they took a timeout during the series. The officials reconvene and decide he is correct. This process took 22-minutes to complete.
This extended time period was hard for both teams Dykes explained in the press conference and he also shows his disgust for the way it was handled.
"I still don't have an explanation," Dykes explain. "I thought it was bad for everybody. I'd like to sit here and say it was only bad for us, but I think it was bad for football. You've got some guy sitting in a booth for 22 minutes trying to decide what's going on on the field. Then they make a decision and change that decision. The whole thing was a joke. But again, that had nothing to do with how we played tonight."
Tech also kicked off twice in the game, never opening a half with possession of the football. Yet another bizarre call in the game Dykes never got an explanation for.
As if the officiating was not strange enough, officials are supposed to be available to the SID following the game in the pressbox for clarification on calls during the game. They, for whatever reason, were not available for clarification of any calls following the game.
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