#19 Louisiana Slips Past Georgia State 34-31 in Overtime
#19 Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns followed up their historic win last week at Iowa State with a narrow overtime victory today at Sun Belt foe Georgia State by the score of 34-31.
Senior running back Elijah Mitchell scored a walk-off 12-yard touchdown run in OT to help the Cajuns escape Atlanta with a win, and improve to 2-0 overall.
"We're 2-0 on the road, but know we can be much better," said head coach Billy Napier. "We're very much a work in progress, but I'm excited about it."
The Panthers were the more physical team in the first half, as the Cajuns offense struggled to get into a rhythm the majority of the first two quarters.
Georgia State led 14-7 at halftime, but the Ragin' Cajuns came alive, scoring 21 unanswered in the third and early fourth quarter.
The Panthers would answer with a scoring drive of their own, tying the contest at 28, as both teams exchanged punts late in regulation.
Facing a 4th and 4 at the Panther 39-yard line, Louisiana elected to go for it, but quarterback Levi Lewis was sacked at the Cajun 46 yard line, setting up Georgia State for a potential game-winning drive.
However, Louisiana's defense held firm, forcing Georgia State into a 3 and out, leading to a Panther punt, and eventually overtime.
"We made numerous stops in the second half, " noted Napier. "A lot of credit to the defensive players for getting some stops, not just at the end of the game, but in overtime."
Louisiana forced the Panthers to settle for a 25-yard field goal on the first possession of OT, before the Cajuns answered with a game-winner.
Needing a touchdown to improve to 2-0, the Ragin' Cajuns leaned on running back Elijah Mitchell.
The senior from Erath carried it 4 times on 4 plays, scoring the walk-off touchdown on a 12-yard run.
Mitchell was resilient. After rushing for only 17 yards in the first half, he finished the contest with 164 yards on 16 carries and 2 touchdowns, including a 59 yarder in the 3rd quarter.
"Eli is a talented player," added Napier. "I think we didn't block well in the first half, and blocked much better in the second half (and overtime)."
Quarterback Levi Lewis was 21 of 37 for 279 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions.
"We kept on fighting," said Lewis. "We know we can't get too high, can't get too low, just keep on fighting....just stay the course and keep chopping wood."
Louisiana (2-0, 1-0) returns to Lafayette for their first home game of the season next Saturday, with an 11 am kickoff at Cajun Field against Georgia Southern (1-0, 0-0).
Pregame begins a 9 am on ESPN1420.