Just when you thought Carlos Henderson had a career night last week against WKU, think again.
Henderson outdid himself Saturday night when the receiver eclipsed 300 yards receiving on 12 receptions and caught five touchdowns to help lead Louisiana Tech to a 56-28 victory over Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
With the win over UMass, La. Tech notched to its third straight victory to move to 4-3 on the season.
After putting together a three-touchdown first half last week against the Hilltoppers, Henderson followed up with a nearly identical performance in the opening half and then some against UMass. Once it was all said and done, Henderson became the first player in school history with more than 300 yards receiving and five touchdowns in the same game.
Henderson’s 326 receiving yards are the most by any Bulldog receiver since Troy Edwards in 1998 and the second-most in program history behind only Edwards.
In addition to Henderson’s highlight-reel day, Ryan Higgins racked up 484 passing yards and was 26-of-33 passing with five touchdowns, all of which went to Henderson. Trent Taylor also surpassed the 100-yards receiving mark with nine catches for 126 yards, while Jarred Craft and Boston Scott combined for 190 rushing yards on the day.
It took Louisiana Tech just 75 seconds to get on the board thanks to a three-play opening drive that included a 50-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Higgins to Carlos Henderson to put the Bulldogs up, 7-0, over the Minutemen. LA Tech has now scored on every opening drive this season.
A 41-yard punt return by the Minutemen midway through the first quarter of play set up the game-tying touchdown by UMass, a 9-yard rushing score by Marquis Young to tie the game, 7-7, with 6:12 left to play in the first quarter.
La. Tech once again took the lead over the Minutemen with a quick 37-second scoring drive in the second quarter after Higgins’ second touchdown pass of the afternoon to Henderson to put the Bulldogs ahead, 14-7, over UMass.
With the Bulldogs knocking on the door at the 3-yard line, Holtz sent out the T-bone formation as Kam McKnight punched it in easily for his fifth rushing touchdown of the season to give La. Tech a 21-7 lead over UMass in the first half.
UMass wasted no time responding as the Minutemen needed less than a minute to go 58 yards and cut La. Tech’s lead to 21-14 with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Ford to Dan Jonah to make it a one-score game with under a minute to play in the first half.
Louisiana Tech never flinched as the Bulldogs put together a 7-play, 74-yard scoring drive and used up just 51 seconds on the clock to take a 28-14 lead over the Minutemen thanks to Henderson’s third touchdown reception of the first half, a 5-yard pass from Higgins to put the Bulldogs up by two touchdowns.
In the third quarter, UMass struck first after a sack fumble gave the Minutemen the ball on the La. Tech 14-yard line, which led to a 14-yard touchdown pass from Ford to John Robinson-Woodgett to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 28-21.
Forty-two seconds later, Higgins and Henderson responded with their fourth connection of the game, this one for 83 yards to extend LA Tech’s lead, 35-21, over UMass with 11:19 left in the third quarter.
The Bulldog defense stepped up shortly after with a 19-yard touchdown on a fumble recovery by Russell Farris following the forced fumble by Jaylon Ferguson with just over 11 minutes left in the third quarter to give La. Tech a 42-21 lead over UMass.
Henderson did it again early in the fourth quarter as he nabbed his fifth touchdown catch of the day, a 6-yard pass from Higgins to cap off a 7-play, 82-yard drive to put the Bulldogs ahead, 49-21, over UMass.
Boston Scott put the icing on the cake for the Bulldogs late in the fourth when the running back capped off the scoring with a 71-yard rushing touchdown to give La. Tech a 56-21 advantage over the Minutemen.
La. Tech returns to Conference USA play next Saturday, Oct. 22 as the Bulldogs travel to Miami to take on league foe FIU at 6 p.m. at FIU Stadium.