Louisiana Tech football falls to Rice 35-31 late in fourth quarter in final game for Skip Holtz

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Louisiana Tech closed out the season and coach Skip Holtz’s last game with a 35-31 loss against Rice on Saturday in Houston.

The Owls scored the game-winner on TJ McMahon's 3-yard touchdown pass to Cedric Patterson III with 61 seconds left.

Sloppy offense in the forth quarter deteriorated the Bulldogs (3-8, 2-6 C-USA) and the Owls (4-8, 3-5) took advantage of every hiccup. La Tech held the lead for the majority of the game despite allowing Rice to score 14 unanswered points early in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs finished the season losers of seven of their final eight games.

Here are some takeaways from Holtz's last game with the Bulldogs.

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End of the Holtz era at La Tech

After nine seasons with the Bulldogs, La Tech announced Holtz wouldn't return.

Holtz is the program'sthird winningest coach with a 64-50 record. He led the Bulldogs to six bowl wins in seven appearances and two C-USA Championship game appearances .

"With the success that we have had and how competitive we were and knowing that we played with our third quarterback I would've loved to have come back for another year but that wasn't my decision," Holtz said.

Head makes his second start

Redshirt freshman JD Head made his second career start. He completed 19 of 35 passes for 270 yards with two TDs and two picks.

Head was quick to use his feet, too. Rushing for 20 yards on eight carries and a TD.

He made some rookie mistakes late in the fourth quarter. An interception by Rice's Gabe Taylor with 12 seconds left on an overthrown pass ended any hopes of a comeback.

"Some plays he looked like a freshman and unfortunately we were not able to overcome some the mistakes and ended up losing a close football game," Holtz said.

Looking forward

And now La Tech starts the search for a new coach with the early signing period on Dec. 15.

"I don't think this program is broken right now," Holtz said.

The Bulldogs close out the season with 16 rushing touchdowns and 21 receiving touchdowns for 4,612 total offensive yards. Defensively they had with 871 total tackles, nine interceptions and 20 sacks.

“I think somebody is going to be very lucky to have the team, to have the opportunity to inherit this team,” Holtz said. “They’re just a couple plays away from being really, really good.”

A Twitter List by emhernandeznews

Emely Hernandez covers University of Louisiana-Monroe Athletics and High School Sports. Email her at ehernandez@thenewsstar.com and follow her on Twitter @emhernandeznews.

This article originally appeared on Monroe News-Star: Louisiana Tech football loses to Rice in Skip Holtz last game

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