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Louisiana Escapes Arkansas State with a 28-27 win

Louisiana survives a frightening upset attempt from Arkansas State, rushes for over 400 yards in primetime rivalry matchup

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 02 Louisiana at South Alabama Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTER

Red Wolves TD 5:38 L. Hatcher pass,to C. Rucker for 6 yds for a TD, (B. Grupe KICK)

13 plays, 94 yards, 5:44

7-0 Arkansas St

Cajuns TD 5:19 M. Johnson run for 99 yds for a TD, (N. Snyder KICK)

1 play, 99 yards, 0:19

7-7

Red Wolves FG 2:21 B. Grupe 32 yd FG GOOD

10 plays, 66 yards, 2:58

10-7 Arkansas St

Cajuns TD 0:28 C. Smith run for 6 yds for a TD, (N. Snyder KICK)

9 plays, 80 yards, 1:53

14-10 Louisiana

HALF

THIRD QUARTER

Red Wolves TD 14:07 L. Hatcher pass,to T. Hunt for 76 yds for a TD, (B. Grupe KICK)

2 plays, 80 yards, 0:53

17-14 Arkansas St

Cajuns TD 12:35 M. Johnson run for 3 yds for a TD, (N. Snyder KICK)

5 plays, 75 yards, 1:32

21-17 Cajuns

Red Wolves TD 9:05 L. Hatcher pass,to E. Stevenson for 15 yds for a TD, (B. Grupe KICK)

3 plays, 51 yards, 0:57

24-21 Arkansas St

Red Wolves FG 3:23 B. Grupe 35 yd FG GOOD

6 plays, 12 yards, 2:16

27-21 Arkansas St

Cajuns TD 2:37 C. Smith run for 74 yds for a TD, (N. Snyder KICK)

2 plays, 80 yards, 0:46

28-27 Louisiana

FINAL


Benjamin R Massey/Ragin Cajuns Athletics

Well, a win is a win.

Behind career nights from Chris Smith and Montrell Johnson Jr. in the Louisiana backfield, the Cajuns were able to survive an Arkansas St group that definitely played up for this rivalry game.

Smith rushed for 238 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, while Johnson carried for 150 yards on 17 carries (99 yards came on one play). Johnson also added 2 TDs for the Cajuns as well. Levi Lewis was rather inefficient at QB, going 11-of-20 for 122 yards with one interception.

The 10-minute, 26-second drive that ended the game was the mark of a great team. Louisiana, up by 1 28-27, chipped away at the Red Wolves defense, which is statistically the worst overall defense in the country. The Cajuns ran 20 plays on this last drive, covering 90 yards of the field, eating all the clock even when they had opportunities to score. That veteran leadership and the experience factor to know that a touchdown on that drive gives the ball back to a dangerous offense, so you purposefully avoid the endzone? Phenomenal stuff from Montrell Johnson in that last drive.

When Billy Napier was asked about that drive postgame, he said “to finish like that, I think it’s pretty special.”

For Arkansas St, Layne Hatcher had a great performance, replacing James Blackman. Hatcher, the Alabama transfer, went 16-31 for 298 yards and 3 TDs. Te’Vailance Hunt had a big 76-yard touchdown from Hatcher in this game, while Jeff Foreman and Corey Rucker also turned in big games in the Arkansas St receiving core.

The Cajuns looked very sloppy for most of this game, but that was largely expected after the win over App St last week. This game against the Red Wolves had all the makings of an emotional letdown, or trap, game. Not to mention the rivalry and divisional implications this matchup has every year.

Up Next

Louisiana (6-1, 4-0 SBC) will head home to host Texas St next Saturday for Homecoming (11 a.m., ESPNU)

Arkansas St (1-6, 0-3 SBC) will go on the road to Mobile next Saturday for an afternoon matchup with a very good South Alabama squad (4 p.m. ESPN+)