Moats savoring opportunity

Updated: October 8, 2003, 3:54 PM ET

RUSTON, La. -- Now that the door of opportunity has opened, Ryan Moats is doing his best to make the most of it.

For the second straight week, Moats will be the featured running back for Louisiana Tech (2-3, 0-2 Western Athletic Conference) which travels to Texas-El Paso (2-4, 1-0) Saturday.

In the first four games of the season, Moats shared running back duties with Ralph Davis. However, Davis was suspended for last Saturday's game against Boise State after an altercation in a local bar. Coach Jack Bicknell has extended Davis' suspension another week, meaning Moats will again carry the load at running back.

"I want to prove myself over and over again until they say we can depend on Moats," Moats said. "I want them to say we can depend on Ryan Moats when it counts."

The 5-8, 202-pounder helped make his case against Boise State, rushing for a career-high 99 yards and one touchdown on eight carries.

"Obviously, we would love to have Ralph and Ryan, but with the uncertainty over Ralph, Ryan gets a chance to prove himself as the starter and he's doing a good job," quarterback Luke McCown said. "Ryan is obviously a tremendous athlete. He's got another gear."

Moats is tied for second on the team with four long plays -- defined as plays 20 yards or longer -- and is averaging 6.9 yards per carry, which is the best among the WAC's top 10 rushers.

"Ryan can hit the corner and make a guy miss and get upfield for extra yards," McCown said. "That's huge for us."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index