EditorsNote: Minor fixes throughout, including missing word and extra period in 9th graf
Quarterback J’Mar Smith had a 26-yard touchdown pass to running back Israel Tucker in the second quarter and added a clinching score on an 8-yard run with 1:15 left in the game as Louisiana Tech blanked Miami 14-0 in Thursday’s Walk-On’s Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.
Cornerback Aaron Roberson’s first interception of the season with 3:22 left set up the final score for the Bulldogs (10-3), who won a bowl game for the sixth consecutive year and finished with 10 wins for the first time as an FBS program.
The Hurricanes (6-7) were shut out for the first time since a 58-0 loss to Clemson on Oct. 24, 2015, and for the first time in a bowl game since falling to Arizona 29-0 in the 1994 Fiesta Bowl. They were tagged with their first losing season since 2014, when they also lost in the Independence Bowl to finish 6-7.
Miami has lost nine of its last 10 bowl appearances.
The Hurricanes played three quarterbacks, but none could get much going. Starter Jarren Williams was 9-for-20 passing for 94 yards and an interception, Tate Martell completed his only attempt for 7 yards, and N’Kosi Perry was 5 of 13 for 52 yards, plus the crucial interception.
The two teams combined for an Independence Bowl record 18 punts (nine apiece) and just 564 yards in total offense.
The Bulldogs finished with 337 yards, with 91 coming on their 13-play, second-quarter scoring drive.
Louisiana Tech running back Justin Henderson led all rushers with 95 yards on 22 carries.
Miami was without seven key players, and Louisiana Tech was minus second-team All-America cornerback Amik Robertson, out for NFL draft prep. Bulldogs linebacker Collin Scott also was suspended in the first half Thursday because of a targeting violation in the previous game.
For the Hurricanes, tight end Brevin Jordan, running back DeeJay Dallas, and offensive guard Navaughn Donaldson were out with injuries. Defensive ends Jonathan Garvin and Trevon Hill, linebacker Michael Pinckney and receiver Jeff Thomas skipped the game because of draft considerations.
—Field Level Media