LAFAYETTE – Louisiana Football submitted a dominant performance that featured four turnovers and four rushing scores as it downed Sun Belt East rival App State, 41-13, on Tuesday night at Cajun Field.
The victory marked the Ragin’ Cajuns’ first win over the Mountaineers on home turf and improved the program to 15-3 in games played at Cajun Field under head coach Billy Napier.
Quarterback Levi Lewis completed 15-of-29 passes, totaling 209 yards through the air and added a three-yard rushing score to open the game. The Ragin Cajuns are 16-3 when the quarterback exceeds 200 yards passing.
A balanced offensive attack kept App State’s defense on its heels for the majority of the contest, with nine different Ragin’ Cajuns catching passes on the night led by Kyren Lacy, who hauled in two receptions for a team-high 57 yards and a score.
Louisiana’s (5-1, 3-0 Sun Belt) multifaceted run attack recorded 246 yards and was aided by a 103-yard performance by Montrell Johnson and an 82-yard display by Chris Smith. Johnson is the first Ragin’ Cajun to cross the triple-digit mark this season.
On the opposite side of the ball, Louisiana’s defense forced a season-high four turnovers and limited App State to just 211 yards of total offense. Since 2018, the Ragin’ Cajuns are 16-2 when forcing two or more turnovers.
Linebackers Lorenzo McCaskill and Ferrod Gardner led the unit with seven tackles apiece. Louisiana is 13-2 when McCaskill records seven or more takedowns in his career. For Gardner, the game marked his third performance of seven or more tackles this season.
The Ragin’ Cajuns offense was in rhythm from the opening kick. Louisiana received the football and marched 75-yards to the end zone on eight plays, capping the drive by Lewis’ 3-yard touchdowns scramble.
The Mountaineers were held to a field goal on their opening possession and the home offense got right back to work, marching the length of the field to set up a two-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to Lacy.
Immediately following the score, Zi’Yon Hill tracked down App State quarterback Chase Brice and forced a fumble that was scooped up by safety Percy Butler, setting up the Ragin’ Cajuns offense in prime field possession on the 31-yard line. Louisiana capitalized on the turnover as Smith punched the ball in from one yard out, giving the home team a commanding 20-3 lead.
With just over 13 minutes remaining in the second quarter, Brandon Bishop stepped in front of a third-down pass from the Mountaineers’ signal caller and returned it eleven yards, the first interception of his career.
The Ragin’ Cajuns momentum continued into the second half as Gardner snagged an interception on the first drive out of the break and set Louisiana up in the red zone. Smith added his second score of the night with a 21-yard rush straight through the middle of the defense.
App State (4-2, 1-1 Sun Belt) responded on the next drive to cut the lead to 27-13 before the end of the third quarter, but Louisiana put the finishing touches on the performance in the fourth.
Johnson capped off his career day with a two-yard score and Bailey followed with a 26-yard sprint down the right sideline to put the game out of reach at 41-13.
Louisiana continues Sun Belt Conference play on the road on Thursday, Oct. 21, when it travels to Jonesboro, Ark., to take on the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
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