BOONE, N.C. – Louisiana Football (3-4, 1-2 SBC) had its two-game winning streak snapped with a 27-17 loss to the Appalachian State Mountaineers (5-1, 3-0 SBC) Saturday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
In the air Louisiana was led by senior quarterback Andre Nunez’s 108 yards passing on 14-for-23 passing and sophomore quarterback Levi Lewis’ 80 yards passing on three-for-four passing with one touchdown pass, while senior wide receiver Ryheem Malone led Louisiana in receiving yards finishing with 47 yards.
On the defense end, the Ragin’ Cajuns got great production from senior defensive linemen LaDarrius Kidd, who finished with 10 tackles. Freshman Eric Garror got his second career interception as Louisiana held App State to 106 yards passing for the game.
HOW IT HAPPENED (First Half): Louisiana went three-and-out in its first two drives, but the defense made a statement retuning the favor forcing a three-and-out in the Appalachian State’s first drive. It was on App State’s second drive where the defense really showed up, bouncing back from a defensive pass interference call, to stall App State’s drive stopping the Mountaineers on fourth-down to get the ball at the Louisiana 28-yard line.
Louisiana fumbled on the ensuing drive, which led to the opening touchdown when App State’s Darrynton Evans ran it in for a touchdown from the two-yard line to give the Mountaineers a 7-0 lead with 3:46 to play in the first quarter. But as the quarter reached its conclusion, Louisiana answered back when Lewis took the field and orchestrated an eight play 75-yard touchdown drive that was capped off when Lewis found sophomore running back Elijah Mitchell wide open at the 15-yard line to connect on a 38-yard touchdown pass to tie things up at 7-7.
Appalachian State responded to Louisiana’s touchdown drive, with a seven-play 41-yard scoring drive that the Mountaineers finished off with a 40-yard field goal, putting the Mountaineers up 10-7 early in the second quarter. A big play in the drive was when junior defensive linemen Bennie Higgins knocked down a pass from App State’s Zac Thomas on third down to force App State to attempt the field goal.
Louisiana answered App State’s field goal drive, with a field goal scoring drive of its own, going nine plays for 49 yards before senior Kyle Pfau nailed a 43-yard field goal to tie things up at 10-10 with nine minutes to go in the half. Both teams traded possessions, including an interception snagged by Garror to end Appalachian State’s ensuing drive after Pfau’s field goal.
The Mountaineers would take the lead before the half, with a five minute and 17 second, 10-play 73-yard touchdown drive, with Thomas tossing a 20-yard touchdown pass to Evans to slide the Mountaineers ahead 17-10 as the teams headed into the locker room.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Second Half): App State came out of the locker room and quickly extended its lead, when on the second play of the half Evans went 65 yards up the middle to put the Mountaineers down to the Louisiana six-yard line. On the next play Marcus Williams Jr., ran into the endzone to cap off the three-play 73-yard scoring drive and it put the score at 24-10.
Following App State’s second half opening touchdown, both team’s traded possessions without scoring, but a short punt of only 21 yards, by the Mountaineers with 1:20 left in the third quarter put Louisiana on the App State 32-yard line to set up a drive into the App State redzone.
But Louisiana failed to convert on a fourth-and-two, with Mitchell coming up just short, and the Cajuns turned the ball over on the App State 12-yard line. Neither team would score on each of their next possessions, and Louisiana punted with 8:29 to go in the game, putting App State on the Louisiana 25-yard line.
The Mountaineers then began to work the clock down, powered by Evans’ 24-yard rush to start the drive, and after going for and getting it on fourth-down App State entered the red zone with just over four minutes to go in the game. With 2:46 to go in the game, App State kicked its second field goal of the game, when Chandler Staton nailed a 29-yard field goal to put App State up 27-10.
The Cajuns took the kickoff and quickly and efficiently stormed down the field to close the gap on App State, going 69 yards in seven-plays scoring a touchdown on a 27-yard run by Ragas to put the score at 27-17 with 1:03 left to play. Louisiana then lined up for an onside kick and for the first-time since 2013, recovered the onside kick when junior Jordan Wright fell on the ball to give Louisiana another chance to score.
Louisiana was unable to cash in on the onside kick recovery and following a failed fourth-down attempt, the Mountaineers took a knee to wrap up the game and give App State a 27-17 win.
– Coin Flip Winner:
– Louisiana won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. It is the second straight game the Cajuns have won the coin toss and the third straight game where Louisiana received the opening kickoff. Louisiana is 4-3 this season on coin tosses
– Recovering 2013:
– For the first time since Sept. 21, 2013 at Akron, Louisiana recovered an onside kick with Jordan Wright recovering the fourth quarter onside kick
– It was Louisiana’s first attempt at an onside kick this season
– Big Kidd:
– LaDarrius Kidd had a career-high 10 tackles during the game, making it the most tackles by a defensive lineman this season and the most since Trev Miller recorded eight tackles against Georgia Southern on Nov. 25, 2017
– It is the first time that a defensive lineman has had at least 10 tackles in a game since Joe Dillion posted 10 tackles at New Mexico State on Oct. 1, 2016
– First Half Blanket:
– Louisiana held Appalachian State to only 55 yards passing in the first half, which is the second least amount of passing yards allowed in the first half this season (54 yards at Texas State on Oct. 6)
– That is the lowest total of passing yards by the Mountaineers in the first half this season
– Shutting Down The Passing Attack
– Louisiana held App State to 106 total passing yards which is the lowest total by an opponent this season
– It is the least amount passing yards allowed by Louisiana since allowing 75 yards against Georgia Southern on Nov. 25, 2017
– Longest Yard:
– Pfau nailed a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter which is the longest field kicked
– Busy Tight Ends:
– Louisiana’s tight ends, with four receptions in the game, surpassed the unit’s 2017 reception total of eight receptions
– Senior Matt Barnes had three catches for 24 yards and sophomore Johnny Lumpkin added one catch for eight yards
– Closing The Gap:
– Despite losing to App State for the fifth-time in five meetings, the 27-17 final score was the closest game played between the Cajuns and Mountaineers, with the gap being only 10 points
– It is the closest game in terms of final score between Louisiana and Appalachian State since the first meeting between the two school on Nov. 22, 2014 which App State won 35-16
– Second Half Scoring:
– Ragas’ fourth quarter 27-yard rushing touchdown was the first time that the Mountaineers have surrendered a second-half point since the first game of the season on Sept. 1 at No. 9 Penn State
– Career Highs:
– Mitchell’s 38-yard touchdown reception was a career-long reception and his second career touchdown reception
– Pfau’s 43-yard field goal in the second quarter was a career high
– Kidd’s 10 tackles was a career high
– Game Highs:
– Nunez led the Cajuns in passing with 108 yards on 14-for-23 passing with no interceptions
– Ragas was the leader on the ground with 81 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries
– Malone led the team in receiving yards with 47 yards on three catches
– Senior Corey Turner led the team in tackles with 11, nine of which were solo
UP NEXT: Louisiana returns to Cajun Field on Saturday, Oct. 27, when they host the Arkansas State Red Wolves. The game, which has a 6 p.m. kickoff time, will be broadcast on ESPN+.
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