LAFAYETTE – Louisiana got off to a sluggish start on Saturday afternoon, but 21 points in the second half and a staunch defensive performance clinched bowl eligibility for the Ragin’ Cajuns for the second-straight season after they defeated Texas State, 31-3, at Cajun Field.
Saturday’s win also marked Louisiana’s (6-2, 3-1 SBC) eighth-straight victory over a Sun Belt West opponent dating back to the 2017 season and gave the Ragin’ Cajuns their first 6-2 start since the 1993 campaign.
The ground game once again proved to be key for the Ragin’ Cajuns, which finished the night with 296 rushing yards and two rushing scores. Elijah Mitchell was the beneficiary of the majority of those yards, racking up 126 yards on 13 carries and scoring once.
Raymond Calais led the team with 21 carries and totaled 83 yards, while Chris Smith toted the ball seven times for 46 yards and recorded his second-career touchdown.
Quarterback Levi Lewis had another strong day, completing 13 of his 21 attempts for 183 yards and two touchdowns while adding 40 yards on the ground on seven carries. Nick Ralston once again found his way into the end zone, hauling in a 24-yard touchdown pass as part of a two-reception, 33-yard outing.
Louisiana’s defense dominated the game, holding Texas State to just three points, the fewest a Ragin’ Cajuns defense has allowed since holding ULM to three points on Dec. 3, 2016. Michael Jacquet III and Bralen Trahan each came up with an interception in the game and combined to produce eight tackles, while Zi’Yon Hill led the team with six tackles.
After a scoreless first quarter, Louisiana found the end zone at the 6:28 mark of the second period when Mitchell busted around the left side of the line for a 39-yard touchdown.
Texas State (2-6, 1-3) answered with its only points of the game, a successful 33-yard field goal, with 1:44 remaining before the break before Louisiana put together a 10-play, 50-yard drive to set up a 46-yard field goal into the wind for Stevie Artigue, which he drilled to send the Ragin’ Cajuns into the locker room with a 10-3 lead.
Ralston, Smith and Calaias all scored touchdowns for Louisiana as part of a 21-point, 210-yard period to extend the Ragin’ Cajuns’ lead to 31-3 with 15 minutes left to play.
The defense did its job in the final quarter, keeping the Bobcats off the board to preserve the 31-3 victory on Homecoming and send the Ragin’ Cajuns bowling for the second-straight season.
Louisiana returns to action on Thursday, Nov. 7, when it treks to Conway, S.C., for a midweek clash with Coastal Carolina. Kickoff from Brooks Stadium is slated for 6:30 p.m. (CST) and will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.