The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns went to Lynchburg to take on the Liberty Flames. Louisiana moves to 10-1 on the season with a big 42-14 win as the Cajuns defense locked up the Liberty offense.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Liberty started the game with the ball and returned it to midfield on the kickoff. The Flames moved the ball inside the Louisiana 35 yard line to the 33. On 3rd & 10, Andre Jones forced and recovered the fumble on the Shedro Louis carry.
Louisiana went three-and-out after an incomplete pass to Chris Smith on third down. On the Rhys Burns punt, the ball was muffed and recovered by the Cajuns inside the Flames 15 yard line. Even with a second chance to score, the Ragin’ Cajuns settled for a failed Nate Snyder 29 yard field goal attempt.
The following three possession resulted in punt, including two being three-and-outs. On their fourth possession, the Cajuns found themselves on fourth down and short after Smith rushed for no gain on 3rd & 3. Quarterback Levi Lewis took it himself for four yards and a first down to the Liberty 30 yard line. Freshman Montrell Johnson converted his own fourth down later in the drive to make it 1st & Goal from the four yard line and Lewis connected with John Stephens Jr for the game’s first touchdown with under two minutes left in the opening quarter.
The Flames moved backwards their next drive with quarterback Malik Willis getting sacked by Chauncey Manac for a 12 yard loss on first down. The next play they were called for holding and ran the ball for three yards on 3rd & 32 to give Louisiana the ball with good field position.
On the final play of the first quarter, Lewis completed a 32 yard pass to running back Emani Bailey. Two plays later, Lewis found Kyren Lacy for a 15 yard touchdown to make the score 14-0 early in the second quarter.
A couple of possessions later, Willis connected with Louis for a 22 yard gain and were now in Louisiana territory. Cajuns defense forced another punt after Manac recorded his second sack of the game, but this time the snap was too high for the punter and Dalen Cambre scooped the ball up and returned it to the house and gave Louisiana the 21-0 lead nine minutes before halftime.
Liberty looked to respond and on their third play of the drive Willis completed a pass to Louis that went for 44 yards to set up the Flame offense deep in Cajun territory. Following Willis getting sacked on second down, Liberty found themselves at 3rd & 18 from the Cajun 29 yard line. Willis took a shot to the end zone and connected with Kevin Shaa for the big play touchdown.
Both teams went into halftime as the Cajuns were holding onto a 21-7 lead and would receive the ball to start the second half.
The Flames kickoff coverage team tackled the Cajuns inside their own 15 and made Louisiana start their drive at their 13 yard line. The drive was short-lived with Burns punting the ball back to Liberty, but they’d start their first drive of the second half in Cajuns territory. On the third play of the drive for the Flames, Willis found Shaa in the end zone for the second time in the ballgame and now the Cajuns only had a seven point lead.
The next drive for the Ragin’ Cajuns began with four straight Johnson run plays, going for 22 total yards. Lewis then hit Peter Leblanc for 34 yards and a couple of plays later, Lewis tried to get the ball to Michael Jefferson, but a flag was called on the defense for pass interference and set the ball up at the Liberty two yard line. Johnson would finish the drive with a rushing touchdown midway through the third quarter.
Willis was intercepted on the Flames first play by defensive lineman Mason Narcisse and returned to Liberty 12 yard line. Louisiana couldn’t capitalize on the takeaway and failed to convert the fourth and short.
Starting at their own five yard line, progressed down the field as TJ Green carried the ball for 43 yards into Louisiana territory on the second play of the drive. A few plays later, Willis was picked off for the second drive in a row, this time by linebacker Andre Riley.
Following the interception, the Cajuns offense was called for a delay of game penalty and looked at a third and long. Lewis completed a 23 yard pass to Jalen Williams for a big first down to extend the drive. Smith ran for another 17 yards to push them deep into Liberty territory. Lewis then hit Johnny Lumpkin for an additional 24 yards and set themselves at 1st & Goal. Lewis capped of the drive with a two yard touchdown pass to Neal Johnson.
The Flames tried to keep themselves in the game now that time was against them. Willis took the offense down field as he completed passes and right to to start. They went for it on fourth down after back-to-back incompletions back, but didn’t convert as Willis as sacked for the seventh time of the game.
Louisiana iced the game with a 12 play 66 yard touchdown drive that took eight minutes off the clock. The possession was run focused with the ball being carried primarily by Johnson and Bailey with Bailey being the one to reach pay dirt.
On the final Flame drive, backup quarterback Johnathan Bennett’s pass was picked off by Kam Pedescleaux as the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns defeated Liberty 42-14.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Chauncey Manac
Manac was an absolute force in the game, recording four of the team’s six sacks in the 42-14 victory over Liberty.
BIG NUMBER: 6
The Ragin’ Cajuns defense forced six total turnovers in Saturday’s win over the Liberty Flames.
NEXT UP: vs ULM; Kickoff Saturday November 27th @3:00 p.m.