Cajuns Come Up Short Against Warhawks In 2OT
Louisiana scored 21 unanswered points in the final 8 minutes of the 4th quarter to tie the game at 43 and force overtime, but the Warhawks thwarted the Cajuns in the second OT, winning the contest 56-50.
In a game with three combined missed PATs (2 by the Cajuns), a missed field goal by Louisiana in the 2nd overtime, 106 total points and 1,119 yards, the defensive struggle on both sides was evident.
ULM quarterback Caleb Evans led his team up and down the field throughout most of the game, rushing for 5 touchdowns and passing for another, ending the game with combined 472 yards.
"Too little too late," said Ragin' Cajun head coach Mark Hudspeth after the loss. "Defensively, we didn't play well enough to win the game."
The Cajuns were constantly shredded by Evans throughout the game and the sophomore, who had completed less than 50% of his passes coming into the game, stayed on target throughout, completing 28-34 for 343 yards and a touchdown, which came in the first overtime period to R. J. Turner.
Evans also did plenty of damage with his legs, gaining 126 yards on 16 carries. He did not have a negative rushing play on the night.
Offensively, Louisiana was without starting quarterback Jordan Davis for the majority of the game. After starting, Davis clearly wasn't himself as he continues to recovered from a knee injury suffered last week against Texas A&M.
Andre Nunez replaced Davis at quarterback. He had accuracy issues early, but settled in in the 4th quarter, propelling the Cajuns three quick scoring drives to force overtime. Nunez finished the game with 287 yards passing, 28 yards rushing and 3 total touchdowns (2 pass, 1 rush).
The Cajuns trailed 43-22 after a pair of Evans touchdowns with 9:35 to play. But Nunez engineered an 83 yard drive.completing four passes for 64 yards with Trey Ragas getting the touchdown from a yard out.
ULM went three and out and the Cajuns got a 25 yard punt return by Ryheem Malone to put the Cajuns in business at the ULM 37 with 5:07 left. Nunez completed four passes, including the touchdown to Jarrod Jackson to get the Cajuns within seven points, 43-36 with 3:34 to play.
The Warhawks came up just inches short in their next series and punted to the Cajuns with 1:56 to play. Starting the drive at their own 17 and no time outs, Louisiana drove the length of the field. After taking a sack, Nunez hit Jarrod Jackson for 26 yards and Michael Jacquet for 20, 17 and 10 yards to put the ball at the ULM 14. Following an incompletion, Nunez found Ja'Marcus Bradley, who made a sliding catch in the end zone as time expired to get the Cajuns within a point.
Despite a roughing the passer call which gave the Cajuns half the distance, Hudspeth eschewed the two point attempt and Calvin Linden forced the OT with his point after touchdown, tying the game at 43.
"Nope," Hudspeth said afterward when asked if he thought about the two pointer, "not here at home."
After Evans' touchdown pass to Turner, the Cajuns tied the game on a Nunez six yard run to force a second overtime. Linden missed a 39 yard field goal attempt in the second overtime and ULM got the win on an eight yard run by Derrick Gore to end it. Gore finished with 85 yards on 23 carries.
Louisiana was led on the ground by freshman Elijah Mitchell with 107 yards on 13 carries. he scored twice. Ragas had 91 yards on 17 carries. ULM won the total offense battle, 593 to 526.
With the loss, Louisiana falls to 1-3 on the season, 0-1 in Sun Belt Conference play, while ULM is 1-2 and 1-0 in the league.
Louisiana will have an open date next week and travel to Idaho on October 7th.