Boise State will make the long trek to Ruston, Louisiana to take on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs tomorrow night and hope that they won't succumb to the malaise and general blahness that usually attends teams that play in Ruston. The Broncos seem to have hit their stride after another dominating win on Saturday against San José State, but the Bulldogs are searching for answers after a 4th quarter choke job against Idaho. The Bulldogs are undefeated at home this year and usually play the Broncos much better in their own climes, so something's gotta give tomorrow evening. Many in Broncoland know little of Louisiana Tech beyond their swampy, sleepy stadium so needless to say, there is a lot to be learned about this week's foe (don't worry, Kellen Moore already knows their defense intimately). Hey, I know...let's explore the Bulldogs through the magic of factoids and childish jokes. It's time to get to know your enemy, Bronco Nation...so take notes
Ten things Bronco fans probably didn't know about Louisiana Tech or their rustic Ruston roost
10) Louisiana Tech University was created and founded as the Industrial Institute and College of Louisiana by Act 68 of the Acts of the State of Louisiana of 1894. The Act established the school "for the education of the white children of the State of Louisiana in the arts and sciences" (finally...a break for the white kids), and was to provide “academic and literary education, together with a knowledge of telegraphy, stenography, and phonography and also a knowledge of fancy, practical and general needlework"
Now you know where the "tech" part comes from. Needlework.
9) Legend has it that the Louisiana Tech mascot, the stately bulldog, was chosen because of a chance encounter with a stray pooch. In 1899, five Tech students on their way home found a stray bulldog sitting quietly under a tree on the edge of campus. The students fed the dog with what they had on them (Rootmarm, perhaps) and went on their merry ways. Upon arriving at their boarding house, the students discovered that the dog had followed them home and made arrangements with the owner to allow the dog to sleep in the kitchen for the night. Later that night, when all in the house were asleep, a fire broke out in the boarding house and the dog went from room to room tugging on the students' bedsheets alerted them to the blaze. When the students fled the blaze, they realized one of their roommates was still inside the house...well, you can guess what happened next—the bulldog, in true Spiderman form, ran back into the house and the student emerged moments later...the bulldog, sadly did not. The students found the heroic dog the next day in an unburned corner of the house—he'd succumbed to the heat and smoke (at least that's what they want you to believe) and had died (don't worry, all dogs go to heaven). The students took the lifeless dog back to the tree that they'd found him under...wrapped him in a blue and red jacket (hey...those are the school colors!) and buried Superdog in that very spot. The following year, when a football team was being formed, Backdraft the Bulldog seemed a fitting mascot for the squad and the rest is history—a history with questionable veracity...but history nonetheless.
The bulldog almost certainly looked like this
8) Take a look at the Louisiana Tech record books and you'll see that the biggest disparity in coaching records occurred the very same year: 1979. Head Coach Larry Beightol was basically sucking it up in his first season at the helm and had led the Tech squad to a 2-8 record before being canned, so Pat "Gravy" Patterson, the school's baseball coach, became the interim head coach for the final game. Gravy won his lone contest against Louisiana-Monroe before sneaking back to the baseball diamond, where he coached until 1990. But there it is, Gravy's win record for his 1979 coaching job stands at 100%, while Beightol's record for the same year is a sickly 20%. Interim Head Coach: the three sweetest words in the English language.
7) Current Tech coach Derek Dooley practiced law for two years before becoming a coach—this means that he not only examines game film...but also cross-examines it.
A true Renaissance man
5) The Bulldogs play their home football games at Joe Aillet Stadium (30,600 capacity) which is known locally as "the Joe". The Stadium is named after legendary Tech football coach and College Football Hall of Famer Joe Aillet (neè Fuourka) who rode the Orphan Train from New York to Opelousas, LA in 1905 and went on to notch 151 career wins at the university in 26 years, along with 12 conference championships. In 1966, Aillet's squad post an uncharacteristic 1-9 record—the worst of his career—and Aillet retired, possibly feeling that his coaching prime had past. Stadium construction began just two years later and Aillet's name was added to the field in 1972. Joe's son Bobby played for his father from 1945 to 1949...he currently is a voter in the Harris Poll, and is a really, really great guy, don't you think?
"I knew when to quit"
4) Louisiana Tech is not the only school located in tiny Ruston, LA—the Louisiana Center for the Blind is there, too. Now you know where all the WAC referees went to school! *rimshot*
3) One of the most beloved landmarks at Louisiana Tech is The Lady of the Mist statue that sits in a fountain on the campus quad. The statue symbolizes "Alma Mater" ("nourishing mother" in some long dead language) and represents "a hope that Tech graduates will fulfill their ambitions and their highest callings." It also stands as a reminder to all that the fountain water is very cold, as you can see by viewing the lady here.
2) Louisiana Tech offered the first Nanosystems Engineering program in the nation. If your Nanosystems need a tune-up...you know where to go.
1) Ruston, Louisiana was once home to Camp Ruston, one of the largest P.O.W. camps in the United States. The camp was built by area rich-guy T.L. James' outfit in 1942 with help from the Army Corps of Engineers. At first, the camp was home to the Women's Army Corps training center (see, Ruston was home to a WAC team then, too), but the center was shut down in June of 1943 to make way for some captured Nazis. By October of 1943, the camp housed over 4,300 P.O.W.s—comprised chiefly of captured baddies from Rommel's Afrika Korps and officers and crewmen from U-boat 505. While I'm sure the camp was hardly a picnic, the prisoners were nonetheless allowed to organize orchestras, theaters, and libaries while incarcerated and some even took correspondance university courses funded by the War Department—many of the books they used were on loan from Louisiana Tech. After repatriation of its prisoners in 1946, the camp became a tuberculosis sanitorium and then a mental facility and now it is home to a livestock facility for Louisiana Tech University. So, to review...Camp Ruston was home to: Ladies, Luftwaffe, lungers, looneys, and livestock (in that order).
Summer fun at Camp Ruston
For all you law-talkin' guys! Check out this here litigation against Louisiana Tech that made it all the way to the state Supreme Court.