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Football: Cajuns Pull Away From South Alabama For Fourth-Straight Win

Elijah McGuire

LAFAYETTE, La. – Hunter Stover connected on four field goals while Elijah McGuire added a fourth quarter touchdown to carry the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns football team to their fourth-straight victory Saturday night in a 19-9 Homecoming win over South Alabama.

Louisiana outgained the Jaguars 412-336 with a 196-66 edge in rushing yards, while USA held a 270-216 advantage in passing yards. Terrance Broadway went 16-for-28 with 216 yards with James Butler catching four passes for 91 yards and McGuire making nine catches for 90 yards. On the ground, McGuire led the Cajuns (5-3, 4-0 SBC) with 116 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries.

For South Alabama (5-3, 4-2 SBC), Brandon Bridge was 16-of-27 for 177 yards and one touchdown. Shavarez Smith led the Jaguars receivers with eight catches for 116 yards. Xavier Houston led the USA running game with 43 yards on 10 carries.

Defensively, Jake Molbert paced Louisiana with seven tackles, six being solo, while Tracy Walker added a total of six tackles, all solo. For the Jaguars, Trrell Brigham and Davin Hawkins led the team with nine tackles apiece.

The Cajuns’ running game carried Louisiana down the field on their first possession of the game before a Broadway pass to Devin Scott for 45 yards to the USA 10 put the Cajuns in the redzone. However, the Louisiana drive would stall, forcing a 23-yard field goal by Hunter Stover to put the Cajuns up 3-0 with 9:19 to play in the first quarter.

USA evened the game at the beginning of the second quarter with a 20-yard field goal by Aleem Sunanon. After Braedon Bowman caught a nine-yard pass from Bridge, USA went to the running game with back-to-back runs by Johnson to put the Jaguars at the Louisiana 10-yard line. Facing a third-and-goal, a roughing the passer call on the Cajuns gave USA an automatic first down at the four. However, the Jaguars would be stopped short of the endzone, turning to Sunanon to get on the board.

USA grabbed the lead midway through the second quarter with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Bridge to Jereme Jones for a 9-3 Jaguars lead after a missed extra point. Roughing the kicker on a USA punt gave the Jaguars the ball back on their own 25 before a 58-yard pass from Bridge to Smith moved the Jaguars into the Louisiana redzone to set up the touchdown.

Louisiana cut into the Jaguars’ lead on their next drive with a 26-yard field goal from Stover to make it 9-6 with 4:30 to play in the half. After a Broadway completion to McGuire for 11 yards, a personal foul and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Jaguars moved the Cajuns to the USA 34. Broadway found Butler for 13 yards to reach the USA 13 but the Cajuns would be stopped by the Jaguars to defense to bring out Stover for the field goal attempt.

In the third quarter, Stover knotted up the game for the Cajuns with his third field goal of the contest, a 22-yarder to make it 9-9 with 3:31 to play. Broadway completed a 16-yard pass to Butler followed by a 38-yarder to move Louisiana into Jaguars territory. Following a 14-yard gain on the ground by Broadway, he completed a 14-yard pass to McGuire to put the ball on the USA seven-yard line. However, the Cajuns would come up short, turning to Stover for the field goal.

Louisiana began the fourth quarter with the ball on its own 20. McGuire started off the Cajuns’ drive with a 33-yard gain followed by a 14-yard run to carry the Cajuns to the USA 33. After a 13-yard rush by Broadway, the Cajuns were unable to find the endzone once again, looking to Stover to give Louisiana the lead. Stover converted the 32-yard attempt to put the Cajuns ahead, 12-9, with 11:28 to play.

The Jaguars didn’t take long to move the ball down the field with Matt Floyd finding Bowman for 26 yards to reach midfield. USA followed with a 41-yard pass from Floyd to Marvin Shinn to reach the Cajuns four-yard line. However, three plays later Christian Ringo came up with a Jaguars’ fumble to give the ball back to Louisiana with eight minutes to play.

The Cajuns recorded their first touchdown of the game three minutes later. Broadway threw a 31-yard pass to McGuire before answering with a 40-yard completion to Butler to set up an eight-yard touchdown run for McGuire to put the Cajuns up 19-9.

Facing a fourth-and-four, USA was unable to convert late in the contest, allowing the Cajuns to run out the clock and earn the victory.

Louisiana returns to the road next Saturday when it heads to Las Cruces, N.M., to face New Mexico State in a 7 p.m. game.