Louisiana Shuts Out Texas State 45-0 on Homecoming
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns earned their seventh consecutive win by blanking the Texas State Bobcats 45-0 on homecoming.
With the win, Louisiana improves to 7-1 and 5-0 in Sun Belt Conference play. The victory was the Cajuns first shutout since 2012.
Texas State got the ball to open the game but fumbled on the first play. The fumble was forced by defensive lineman Tayland Humphrey and recovered by defensive back Percy Butler.
However, Louisiana's offense did nothing with it. The Cajuns only managed to gain two yards in three plays and attempted a 44-yard field goal which missed wide right.
A sack on third down near midfield by Louisiana cornerback Mekhi Garner wrecked the second drive by the Bobcats, but the Cajuns offense once again went three-and-out and were forced to punt.
After Texas State's next drive stalled near midfield, Louisiana quarterback Levi Lewis started moving the Cajuns down the field. After getting them to midfield, on third down, running back Chris Smith broke open a 28-yard run to give the Cajuns their first trip to the red zone at the end of the first quarter.
The first play of the second quarter was a fourth-and-goal from the two yard-line. Lewis completed a pass to Smith who walked in to the end zone for the first score of the game. The touchdown finished off a 14-play, 86-yard drive after the Cajuns had only gained four yards over their first two possessions.
The Cajuns defense started giving up big gash runs, but safety Bralen Trahan forced a fumble that was recovered by safety Kam Pedescleaux at Louisiana's six yard-line to give them the second turnover of the first half.
For the second time in the game, Louisiana's offense went three-and-out following a turnover.
Texas State attempted a 49-yard field goal after their next drive stalled in Cajuns territory, but a block by Humphrey kept the Bobcats scoreless.
On the first play of the next possession, Smith broke free for 24 yards. Lewis followed it up with a 26-yard completion to tight end Johnny Lumpkin to get the Cajuns back into the red zone. This time, a one-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to tight end Hunter Bergeron made it 14-0 late in the second quarter.
Louisiana's defense forced another punt to give the offense a chance at a two-minute drill before halftime. A 42-yard run by Smith was negated by a holding penalty. The Cajuns offense still managed to get down to the 28 yard-line. A 45-yard field goal by Nate Snyder made it a three-possession game going into halftime.
The second half started out well for the Cajuns offense. Lewis connected with wide receiver Dontae Fleming for 36 yards to get Louisiana into the red zone, and, after the drive stalled, Snyder hit a 32-yard field goal to make it 20-0.
The Bobcats got to midfield on their next possession, but on fourth-and-four, an incompletion forced a turnover on downs.
Lewis hit wide receiver Errol Rodgers for a 35-yard completion on the first play after the turnover. On the sixth play of the drive, Lewis threw his record-breaking touchdown pass to Jalen Williams.
The touchdown was his third of the day and 65th as a Cajun, breaking Jake Delhomme's school record. They went for two and converted to take a 28-0 lead.
Head coach Billy Napier gave postgame love to his starting quarterback.
"It never ceases to amaze me how much that guy has grown and improved, not only as a football player but a person," Napier said.
The Cajuns offense scored their fourth touchdown of the game on a three-yard score by Chris Smith to make it 35-0 late in the third quarter.
On the second play of Texas State's next drive, defensive back Eric Garror got an interception for the third turnover of the day by Louisiana's defense. It set Louisiana's offense up at the Bobcats 12 yard-line.
For the third time in the game, the Cajuns went three-and-out, but Snyder hit his third field goal of the day, this time from 37 yards out to extend the lead to 38-0 early in the fourth quarter.
Napier put the backups in for the rest of the fourth quarter. With 59 seconds left to go, a three-yard touchdown run by T.J. Wisham put the finishing touches on a great homecoming day.
Napier said that the shutout was the best game the Cajuns have played this season.
"That's about as good as we've played," Napier said. "Compliment to our staff and the leadership among our players.
The announced crowd at the game was 28,794. Napier thanked the fans for showing up for homecoming.
"It was special in here today," Napier said. "I'm hoping we can continue that."
Up next, the Cajuns host Georgia State on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 6:30 p.m.