Cajuns’ Defense Shines in Win Over South Alabama
Last Tuesday night the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns offense put up eight rushing touchdowns in a 55-40 win over Arkansas State.
Saturday night, it was payback time for the Louisiana defense.
The Cajuns' "D" pitched a shutout in the second half and the Cajuns game back from a first half deficit to post a 19-9 win over the South Alabama Jaguars before a homecoming crowd of 25,681 at Cajun Field.
The Cajuns (5-3, 4-0 Sun Belt) won their fourth straight game. South Alabama (5-3, 4-2) saw its four game winning streak snapped.
Hunter Stover kicked four field goals for Louisiana to give the Cajuns a 12-9 lead and Louisiana put the game away with a 6 play, 91 yard drive culminating in an eight yard run by Elijah McGuire to put the game out of reach with 5:01 left.
The sophomore had to carry the load after Alonzo Harris was banged up and did not play in the second half. McGuire wound up with 116 yards on 18 carries. He also caught nine passes for 90 yards.
Quarterback Terrance Broadway completed passes of 31 yards to McGuire and 40 yards to James Butler to set up the winning score. Butler had a season high 91 yards receiving on four catches.
The winning drive occurred after Christian Ringo recovered Kndall Houston's fumble on third and goal from the UL two yard line. Quarterback Matt Floyd, filling in for the injured Brandon Bridge, completed passes of 26 yards to Braedon Bowman and 41 yard to Marvin Shinn to set up the Jaguars at the Cajuns' four yard line prior to Houston's fumble.
The Cajuns got on the board first, driving from their 25 to the USA six yard line before stalling. Broadway had hit Devin Scott with a 45 yard completion on third and 28 from the Cajuns' 45 yard line to set up Stover's 23 yard field goal.
Two possessions later, the Jaguars drove from their 21 to the UL three yard line as the first quarter ended. The Jaguars had first and goal at the Cajuns' four yard line after a roughing the passer call on third and goal from the eight. But Houston lost a yard on first down, a shovel pass to Shavarez Smith gained two yards to the three and Bridge threw the football away under duress on third down. Aleem Sunanon's 20 yard field goal tied the score with 14:47 left in the half.
On their next possession, South Alabama was unable to move the football from deep in their own territory and after a McGuire punt return of 19 yards, the Cajuns were in business at the USA 29. But on the first play, Harris fumbled and Maleki Harris recovered at the 28. The Jaguars then drove 72 yards on eight plays with Bridge hitting Jereme Jones for 12 yards and a touchdown. Sunanon missed the extra point, but the Jags led 9-3 with 8:15 to play until halftime.
Stover got the Cajuns three points closer on the next possession as the Cajuns drove from their 25 to the USA 10 yard line. The senior's 26 yard field goal made it 9-6 with 4:30 left. South Alabama had one more chance after a 21 yard Daniel Cadona punt set the Jags up at the UL 46. But Sunanon missed a 49 yard field goal as the first half ended.
Midway through the third quarter, Louisiana drove from its 27 to the South Alabama five as Broadway hit passes of 16 and 22 yards to Butler. A Broadway scramble for fourteen yards was followed by a pass to McGuire for another 14 to give the Cajuns first and goal at the USA seven. But again the drive stalled and Stover booted his third field goal to knot the game at nine apiece with 3:31 left in the third.
The Cajuns got the lead early in the fourth quarter when UL moved from its 20 to the USA 15 yard line. A 33 yard run by McGuire started the drive. Stover's fourth field goal, this one from 32 yards, gave the Cajuns a 12-9 lead with 11:28 to go.
Broadway finished the game 16-28 passing for 216 yards. He also gained 54 yards on eleven carries. Bridge was 16-27 for 177 yards and a touchdown before being injured late in the third quarter on a sack by Dominique Tovell. Reseve Matt Floyd was 4-8 for 93 yards in relief.
The Cajuns held the Jaguars to just 66 yards net rushing for the game and just 127 yards total offense in the second half.
The Cajuns will now play three of their final four games on the road, beginning next Saturday at New Mexico State. Kickoff from Las Cruces is scheduled for 7pm.