A dominant first half performance and stout defense late in the game gave Louisiana the edge it needed to leave Jonesboro with a win for the first time since 2009 following its 37-20 victory over Arkansas State on Thursday evening.
The Ragin’ Cajuns racked up 331 of its 496 total yards in the first half of the game and took a 14-point advantage at halftime, a lead that it never relented. In the fourth quarter, the defense came up with a critical stop on fourth down and picked off A-State in the end zone to seal the victory.
Louisiana’s (5-2, 2-1 SBC) 37 points in the contest were the most that a Ragin’ Cajuns team has scored in Jonesboro since recording 41 on Oct. 4, 1997.
The running backs were dominant against Arkansas State, combining for 279 yards and each scoring a touchdown, the second time this season the dynamic trio has found the end zone in the same game this year.
Raymond Calais led the trio with 144 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns, including an 80-yard touchdown scamper in the second quarter, tied for the 12th-longest rushing score in school history. Elijah Mitchell went over the century mark as well, recording 109 yards and two scores of his own. Trey Ragas also added a score in the victory.
Through the air, Levi Lewis had a productive night by completing 17 of his 24 attempts for 181 yards. His go-to target was Ja’Marcus Bradley, who hauled in six of those passes for 72 yards. Calif Gossett had a strong game as well, finishing with a career-high three catches and 33 yards.
Senior Jacques Boudreaux paced the defense, posting his third-straight game with 10 or more tackles with 11 on the evening. Bennie Higgins was a force in the backfield, recording a career-high two sacks.
Arkansas State (3-4, 1-2 SBC) went ahead 7-0 on its opening possession, taking the ball 92 yards in 12 plays to set up a 10-yard touchdown pass from Layne Hatcher to Brandon Bowling.
With 11 ticks remaining in the opening period, Louisiana found the end zone for the first time when Ragas powered his way across the goal line from one-yard out to tie things up with seven points apiece.
After the Red Wolves connected on a 25-yard field goal, the Ragin’ Cajuns responded with an 11-play, 74-yard drive that was capped off by an 11-yard touchdown run by Mitchell to put Louisiana ahead, 14-10 with 5:12 to play in the second quarter.
Louisiana went on to score 10 more points in the final three minutes of the first half after Calais turned on the jets for an 80-yard score and Stevie Artigue connected on a 25-yard field goal to put the Ragin’ Cajuns ahead, 24-10, at the half.
A-State scored 10 unanswered points in the second half of play before Louisiana was able to tack on a touchdown with 6:19 in the contest after Mitchell scored from one yard out to push the lead to 30-20.
Calais provided the dagger with 3:18 to play, scoring for the second time from 38-yards out to put Louisiana ahead, 37-20. Arkansas State had a chance to answer, but an Asjlin Washington pick in the back of the end zone sealed the road win for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Following its open date, Louisiana returns to action at home on Saturday, Nov. 2, when it welcomes Texas State to Cajun Field for Homecoming. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ with kickoff slated for 4 p.m. CST, pending potential television designation.