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Football: Cajuns Over Warhawks in SBC Final, 30-3 – ready to go bowling

Cajuns Are Bowl Eligible; Defense Helps Louisiana Roll Past ULM, 30-3

Cajuns to find out bowl destination on Sunday

MONROE – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns are going bowling again.
Playing in a driving rain for nearly the entire game, Trev Miller and Otha Peters each returned a pair of second-quarter fumbles for touchdowns, Elijah McGuire rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown and Stevie Artigue booted three field goal as Louisiana forced five turnovers and defeated ULM, 30-3, in the Sun Belt Conference regular-season finale on Saturday at JPS Field at Malone Stadium.
The win by Louisiana (6-6, 5-3 SBC) was its second straight to end the regular-season and its sixth straight win in Monroe dating back to 2005. The Ragin’ Cajuns, who competed in the R�L Carriers New Orleans Bowl from 2011-14, secured one of the Sun Belt Conference’s five designations and will find out their bowl destination on Sunday.
With temperatures in the upper 40’s and both teams combining to complete five passes in 19 attempts, Louisiana took a 7-3 lead after the first quarter before extending its lead to 24-3 at halftime.
The Ragin’ Cajuns capitalized on their second possession after Savion Brown picked off ULM quarterback Caleb Evans on the Warhawks’ first play from scrimmage at the ULM 47. McGuire, who reached the 1,000-yard mark for the third straight season, capped an eight-play, 47-yard drive with 1-yard run off right tackle with 8:53 remaining in the first quarter.
ULM (4-8, 3-5 SBC) cut the lead to 7-3 after driving 51 yards in eight plays, with Austin Vaughn sparking the drive with consecutive runs of 13, 16 and 12 yards. The Warhawks got as far as the UL 7 before the Ragin’ Cajuns held and Craig Ford booted a 23-yard field goal with 5:22 left in the first quarter.
After that it was all the Ragin’ Cajuns defense.
ULM looked to capitalize on after Justin Backus returned an Anthony Jennings interception 18 yards to the UL 37. The Warhawks drove inside the Ragin’ Cajuns 20-yard line before Brown knocked the ball away from Evans and Miller scooped it up and rumbled 73 yards for a touchdown for a 14-3 lead with 10:58 remaining in the second quarter.
Peters found his way to the end zone later in the quarter when he scooped up a Duke Carter fumble that was forced by Karmichael Dunbar and ran 29 yards to give Louisiana a 21-3 lead with 5:10 remaining in the half.
Artigue, who moved into a tie for second-place on the single-season field goal list with 19, capped a 10-play, 63-yard drive with a 26-yard field for a 24-3 lead at halftime before booting field goals of 35 and 37 yards in the third quarter.
Dunbar, Travis Crawford, Jarvis Jeffries and Denarius Howard had four tackles each to lead Louisiana, which held ULM to 147 yards of total offense and eight first downs.
Darius Hoggins added 78 yards on the ground for Louisiana, which recorded all 240 yards of its total offense on the ground. The Ragin’ Cajuns controlled the football for just over 38 minutes
• Captains were WR Al Riles, DB Dominick Jones, DL Karmichael Dunbar and TE Nick Byrne.
• ULM won the toss and elected to defer (UL now 6-6 on the coin toss this season).
• The win at JPS Field at Malone Stadium for Louisiana was its sixth straight since a 13-10 ULM win in 2004.
• The 27-point victory was the largest for the Ragin’ Cajuns in Monroe since a 54-21 win in 2005.
• The 73-yard fumble return by Trev Miller in the second quarter was the longest in the Mark Hudspeth era.
• The defensive TDs by Trev Miller and Otha Peters were the first for each in their Ragin’ Cajuns career.
• Louisiana’s two defensive touchdowns were the most for the Ragin’ Cajuns since the 2011 opener at Oklahoma State (Bill Bentley INT return, Jemarlous Moten INT return).
• Louisiana’s three defensive TDs in the past two games equaled the team total in 2013, with a combined two TDs set in 2014-15.
• Louisiana scored 24 points off five ULM turnovers after entering the game with 29 points scored off turnovers in the first 11 games.
Elijah McGuire‘s 110 yards against ULM increased his season total to 1,028, marking the third consecutive year with 1,000 yards rushing in a season.
Stevie Artigue‘s three field goals gave him 19 on the season, tying him with John Roveto (19, 1977) for the second-most in a single-season in school history.
• Louisiana forced five turnovers and finished �3 in the game and evened their turnover margin on the season.