Posted: Oct 19, 2009 9:32 PM by Travis Webb
Updated: Oct 19, 2009 9:32 PM
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns met the winless Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Saturday evening at chilly L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green, Ky.
Ragin Cajuns improves to 4-2 (2-0 Sun Belt) on the season thanks to a 30-22 victory. WKU falls to 0-6 (0-2 Sun Belt).
It was the first meeting between the two schools in Bowling Green and first as Sun Belt Conference foes.
The Cajuns' defense used two interceptions and a fumble recovery to generate excellent field position for the offense. Through three quarters, the Cajuns average starting position was their 35-yard line. That starting position helped the Cajuns generate enough points to hold off WKU.
The first two minutes belonged to the Hilltoppers, but it was all Cajuns after that.
WKU sliced through the Cajuns defense on the first series of the game. The Hilltoppers traveled 67 yards on four plays, scoring on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Kawaun Jakes to Rod Johnson.
Louisiana answered, marching 72 yards in 11 plays, scoring on a two-yard touchdown pass from Chris Masson to Matt Desormeaux. The drive's key play was a 13-yard pass from Masson to Luke Aubrey on third-and-nine from the WKU 23-yard line.
For Desormeaux, it was his third career reception and first career touchdown.
The Cajuns outscored WKU 30-7 after that first series to build a 30-14 lead. Tyler Albrecht's 25-yard field capped a 13-play, 55-yard drive with only 10:21 to play in the game.
The Hilltoppers scored with 5:11 remaining, but it wasn't enough, as the Cajuns held on for the win.
Quarterbacks Masson and Brad McGuire provided an excellent compliment to each other for the second straight week. Masson finished the game 16-of-25 for 204 yards. He threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another. McGuire did not attempt a pass, but ran 11 times for 59 yards, including six that converted on third down.
The Cajuns finished 12-of-19 on third down, while holding WKU to 2-of-8. UL posted 23 first downs - the most since the opener with Southern - and controlled the game clock with a time of possession 15:36 greater than the Hilltoppers (37:48 to 27:12).
After the Cajuns defense forced WKU into a three-and-out on their second possession, UL moved 32 yards in nine plays to take their first lead of the game. Albrecht nailed a 49-yard field goal to give the Cajuns a 10-7 lead with 2:07 left in the first quarter.
The Cajuns defense came up big for the second straight series. An interception by Maurice Rolle, Jr. put the offense back on the field at the Cajuns 43-yard line.
Six plays later, Masson found Javone Lawson with a 19-yard touchdown pass to increase the Cajuns lead to 17-7. For Lawson - just as it was for Desormeaux - the touchdown marked his third career reception and first career touchdown.
The ensuing kickoff saw Junior Jean recover a WKU fumble at the 32-yard line. Unfortunately, the Cajuns offense was unable to convert their best starting field position of the season into seven points, instead settling for a 25-yard field goal by Albrecht.
The Cajuns were dealt a crushing blow to their offense in the second quarter, as running back Undrea Sails injured his leg and ankle and was carted off the field. Preliminary x-rays revealed a leg fracture, putting his status in doubt for the remainder of the season.
WKU used a nine play, 53-yard drive to pull within six points, 20-14, midway through the second quarter.
UL took the opening series of the second half 65 yards on 12 plays, consuming 4:43 of the third quarter. Masson capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown run to increase the visitor's lead to 27-14. The key plays during the drive were an 11-yard pass from Masson to Aubrey on third-and-four and a four-yard rush by McGuire on third-and-four.
Antwyne Zanders gathered another Cajuns interception to help the offense, but the Cajuns fumbled the ball away five plays later at the WKU 28-yard line.
The Ragin' Cajuns now turn their attention to Florida Atlantic. The meeting with the Owls is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24 at Cajun Field with a 4 p.m., kickoff. The game will serve as the annual homecoming contest.