-New Orleans The end result was never in doubt, but the Louisiana Raign Cajuns (0-1) fought to keep the season opener against Mississippi State (1-0) competitive. However, the Bulldogs offense pulled away in the second half to cruise to a 38-18 victory.
How It Happened:
Mississippi State came out of the gates firing with a six-play drive that ended with Tommy Stevens connecting with a wide-open Osirus Mitchell for a 31-yard touchdown to open up the scoring. Things didn’t look much better on the first play from scrimmage for the Ragin’ Cajuns when Levi Lewis was picked off by Cam Dantzler. The defense came up huge though with a strip-sack by Michael Jacquet, which was recovered by Chauncey Manac.
After both teams failed on fourth-down conversions, Louisiana received a little bit of luck when Mississippi State accidentally touched the football off of a punt, getting the Cajuns into the redzone. Two plays later, Elijah Mitchell knotted things up at seven with a three-yard jaunt into the endzone.
After a missed field goal by Jordan Lawless gave the Cajuns new life, things turned sour once again after a Levi Lewis fumble near midfield. That resulted in an eight-yard touchdown run from Nick Gibson to take back control of the ballgame.
Levi Lewis fired back with the best offensive drive late in the first half to tie things up with a touchdown pass from the Scotlandville product to Nick Ralston. However, the Bulldogs took advantage of their last drive before halftime with a march down the field that resulted in a rushing touchdown by Stevens to take a 21-14 lead into the locker room.
The second half for the Cajuns started out poorly with a drive plagued by a pair of penalties, forcing them to punt. The Bulldogs then drove the ball down the field, resulting in a rushing touchdown for Kylin Hill to take a two-possession lead.
Mississippi State really poured it on early in the fourth quarter after a big punt return when Stevens connected with Austin Williams, making it 35-14. Levi Lewis then fired back with a 69-yard drive that ended with Levi Lewis running it in from one-yard out.
The Cajuns got within one score in the final five minutes thanks to a 17-yard run from Trey Ragas, but a late field goal from Lawless sealed the victory for Mississippi State.
Big Number: 5
When you commit five turnovers, it’s pretty hard to come away with a win no matter who you are. There were opportunities to seize control of the ballgame, but those errors started to pile up as the afternoon progressed.
Player of the Game: Tommy Stevens
The former Penn State quarterback was electric in his first appearance for the Bulldogs, going 20-of-30 for 236 yards and two touchdowns through the air and one on the ground. It’s clear to see that he was the only real choice for Mississippi State.
Next Up: Saturday, September 7th vs Liberty; Kickoff at 6 pm