Louisiana Tech has history of comebacks

Updated: October 28, 2003, 12:42 PM ET

RUSTON, La. -- Fifty-one weeks ago, Louisiana Tech football coach Jack Bicknell III wanted a videotape of LSU's 33-30 victory over Kentucky, featuring the Bluegrass Miracle pass, for his collection. You can't have too many examples to show your players that a game isn't over 'til it's over.

The Bulldogs, in turn, gave Bicknell two more tapes for his video library. On Sept. 13, they scored two touchdowns in the last 1:09 to defeat Michigan State 20-19. On Saturday, they rallied to defeat Nevada 42-34 after trailing 21-3.

Bicknell saw the comeback at Nevada as a breakthrough that might have been possible only because of the comeback at Michigan State.

"Finishing the way we did at Michigan State helped us against Nevada," Bicknell said. "Down 21-3, we kept playing. When you have a team that's done it before, they believe it a little bit more the next time you tell them to keep playing, not to quit, that they still have a chance to win the game."

Louisiana Tech can't win the Western Athletic Conference. Losses in three of their first four WAC games took care of that, but the Bulldogs (4-4) can continue their push for a winning season when they become the homecoming opponent of No. 7-ranked LSU (7-1) Saturday.

"Heck, I'm from Boston, and my whole life I've wanted to go down and see a game there," Bicknell said of playing in Tiger Stadium. "I never wanted to go there as the opposing head coach, but it's the tradition, it's everything. You talk about LSU, that's college football right there."

Tech hasn't ducked many challenges since joining Division I-A in 1989. From a 50-0 loss to Tennessee in 1993 to a 63-13 loss to Texas A&M in 1996 to a 67-7 loss to Penn State in 2000, the Bulldogs have played the big boys regularly.

There have been bittersweet moments. In a 1998 road game against defending national champion Nebraska, Tech quarterback Tim Rattay threw for 590 yards, the most ever allowed by the Huskers, and wide receiver Troy Edwards caught 21 passes for 405 yards, an NCAA record. Nebraska still won 56-27.

In Tech's next game, Daunte Culpepper led Central Florida to a 64-30 victory in Ruston. One of Tech's most talented offensive teams had little defensive help.

Still, the Bulldogs have had their moments. In 1997, the defeated a slumping Alabama team 26-20. Two years later, they shocked the Crimson Tide again, winning 29-28. This time, Alabama went on to win the Southeastern Conference.

In 2001, Tech won 48-41 at Auburn, which came within a victory of going to the SEC Championship Game.

This season began for Louisiana Tech against No. 2-ranked Miami, which won the 2001 national championship and nearly repeated in 2002. Miami defeated Tech 48-9.

The Bulldogs' stunning comeback victory over Michigan State 16 days later put Spartans coach John L. Smith on the hot seat.

Today the Spartans are 7-1 and ranked No. 9 in the country. If not for the loss to Tech, Michigan State would be in the thick of the BCS race.

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