The UL Ragin’ Cajuns played their best game over the past two seasons when they needed it most with a convincing 41-13 win over Appalachian State in front a national TV audience Tuesday at Cajun Field.
The Cajuns improved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in Sun Belt play, while Appalachian State dropped to 4-2 and 1-1.
UL’s defense recovered two fumbles and picked off two passes, producing 20 points off those four turnovers.
It was Appalachian State's worst loss ever in a Sun Belt game.
The defense limited the Mountaineers’ offense to 0-of-11 on third down and limited Appalachian State to 83 rushing yards in the convincing win in front of 20,066 fans.
The drive of the night got the game into the fourth quarter when UL drove 98 yards on 13 plays in 7:54 – longest drive of the season – to grab a commanding 34-13 lead with 10:38 left to play.
It was the second longest drive of the season and ate the most time off the clock. Montrell Johnson did the honors with a two-yard touchdown run.
Offensively, Levi Lewis completed 15 of 25 for 209 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
The Cajuns also ran it for 242 yards to make it two straight wins over the Mountaineers after losing the first eight games in the series.
Johnson led the way with 103 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while Chris Smith added 82 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
The first quarter couldn’t have gone much better for the Cajuns.
The Cajuns wasted no time getting on the board first. Lewis connected with Kyren Lacy on a 55-yard bomb on the game’s second play to set up a 3-yard touchdown run for Lewis for the quick 7-0 lead.
The Mountaineers responded with a 10-play, 62-yard drive, but the defense limited it to a 31-yard field goal by Chandler Staton to narrow the gap to 7-3.
UL’s offense continued to click with a six-play, 87-yard drive in 2:36 for a 14-3 lead. A 36-yard Montrell Johnson run was immediately followed by a 36-yard Lewis pass to Michael Jefferson. Two plays later, Lewis hit Lacy in the back of the end zone for the score.
The opening period got even better when a Zi’Yon Hill pressure forced ASU quarterback Chase Brice to try a lateral that was fumbled and recovered by Percy Butler at the Mountaineer 31.
Four plays later, Chris Smith scored on a 1-yard TD run with 13 seconds left in the first quarter. Unfortunately for the Cajuns, Nate Snyder missed the extra point to make it 20-3.
The Cajuns later threatened to build an even larger lead two drives later by driving 55 yards on 13 plays in 7:20. But the drive ended with an interception in the end zone with 3:35 left until halftime.
Appalachian State tried to take advantage of the turnover by driving 70 yards on 10 plays in 2:51. The Mountaineers hit a 27-yard field goal with 44 seconds left until halftime to cut it to 20-6.