RUSTON - It was a fitting end to a championship run.
Louisiana Tech's defense recorded its first shutout at home since the mid-1990s, the Bulldog offense used a balanced attack led by walk-on running back Hunter Lee and the special teams unit added a score of its own as Tech blanked New Mexico State 44-0 Saturday afternoon under rain-soaked conditions at Joe Aillet Stadium.
With the win, Tech (8-4, 6-1 WAC) won the Western Athletic Conference regular season title for the first time since 2001 and earned a trip to the San Diego Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 21 to face either TCU or Boise State.
Heading into the day tied with Nevada in the league standings, Tech's lopsided win parlayed with the Wolf Pack's 21-17 loss at Utah State gave the Bulldogs the outright league championship belt.
Following the final gun, WAC Commissioner Karl Benson presented the championship trophy to the team while Poinsettia Bowl Chairman Bruce Binkowsky extended the invite to the postseason game in San Diego.
Lee rushed for a career-high 148 yards and three touchdowns while Colby Cameron passed for 217 yards and one score, including eight receptions for 105 yards and one touchdown to Taulib Ikharo.
Senior linebacker Adrien Cole led a tenacious Bulldog defense, recording 12 tackles. Cole's 45-yard interception return for a touchdown with seven seconds to play in the first half blew the game wide open as Tech took a 23-0 lead into the halftime locker room.
Tech put the game away in the third quarter as Lee added a pair of rushing touchdowns and Craig Johnson returned a punt 83 yards for a score - the first of the year by the Bulldogs.
Tech's defense held an Aggies team that had entered the game averaging over 27 points per game to zero as New Mexico State totaled 279 yards and the Bulldogs defense registered seven sacks.
The victory was the seventh straight for the Bulldogs, the longest winning streak since the early 1970s and the eight wins is the most since the 1999 Tim Rattay-led Bulldogs went 8-3 in 1999.
The Bulldogs bowl bid is the first since 2008 when Tech defeated Northern Illinois 17-10 in the Independence Bowl.