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Football: Cajuns Win Sun Belt Opener Over Georgia State, 34-31

Jamal Robinson hauls in eight passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns

LAFAYETTE, La. – Terrance Broadway went 20-for-26 for 216 yards and two touchdowns while Jamal Robinson caught eight passes for 119 yards and two scores in Louisiana’s 34-31 Sun Belt-opening win over Georgia State on Saturday night. 

Louisiana (2-3, 1-0 SBC) totaled 461 yards of offense compared to Georgia State’s 425, and outgained the Panthers on the ground, 195-138. Elijah McGuire led the Cajuns with 90 rushing yards on six attempts. For Georgia State, Nick Arbuckle went 19-for-27 with 276 yards. Donovan Harden led the Panthers with 91 receiving yards on four catches, while Marcus Caffey totaled 90 yards on the ground on 27 carries. 

After forcing the Panthers (1-4, 0-2 SBC) to punt on their opening drive, the Cajuns made the most of their first possession. Broadway completed an eight-yard pass to Al Riles to move Louisiana near midfield before McGuire capped off the Cajuns’ 6-play, 80-yard touchdown drive with a 54-yard run around the right side, the longest play of the season for the Cajuns, to give Louisiana a 7-0 lead with 8:57 left in the first quarter. 

Georgia State answered on its next possession as Wil Lutz kept the Panthers’ drive alive by converting a fourth-and-11 with a fake punt for 26 yards. After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Cajuns, Georgia State moved into Louisiana territory with a new set of downs. The Panthers moved into the redzone following another Louisiana unsportsmanlike conduct penalty before Duvall Smith evened the contest at 7-7 with a one-yard touchdown run, concluding a 16-play, 91-yard drive over 6:38. 

Late in the first half, the Panthers added another score following a 10-play, 96-yard drive. Georgia State moved into Cajuns territory after a 29-yard reception by Lynquez Blair from Arbuckle to reach the Louisiana 41-yard line. The Panthers kept going to the air with Arbuckle finding Joel Ruiz for 24 yards to set up a 12-yard touchdown run by Caffey for a 14-7 Georgia State lead with 5:08 remaining in the half. 

The Cajuns knotted the game at 14-all with 1:13 to go in the half as Robinson pulled down a 19-yard pass from Broadway in the endzone. Broadway completed four passes for 10-plus yards to move the Cajuns down the field before rushes by McGuire and Alonzo brought up the Cajuns score.

In the final seconds of the half, Lutz connected on a 48-yard field goal to put the Panthers up 17-14 going into the locker room. 

The Cajuns retook the lead on their first drive of the second half. Louisiana crossed midfield after a 12-yard pass from Broadway to Robinson before a run by Broadway moved the ball deep into Georgia State territory. A rush by McGuire pushed the Cajuns into the redzone, but Louisiana went to Alonzo Harris as they inched towards the goal line. On a fourth-and-goal, Harris made a leaping jump into the endzone to give Louisiana a 21-17 advantage with 9:43 left in the third quarter.

Georgia State went back on top in the final minutes of the third quarter with a 7-play, 88-yard touchdown drive, highlighted by a 62-yard pass from Arbuckle to Harden to reach the Louisiana one-yard line. On third-and-goal, Caffey gave the Panthers the edge with a run off the right side to make it 24-21 with 2:03 remaining in the quarter.

However, the Panthers’ lead didn’t last long as Louisiana put up another score on its next drive. A 20-yard gain on the ground by McGuire put the Cajuns on the Georgia State 34-yard line. Broadway then found Robinson for 12 yards to reach the 13-yard line before Harris moved the ball inside the redzone, capping off the drive with a one-yard run up the middle for a 27-24 game with 11:13 to play.

However, the Panthers would not go away as Caffey found the endzone for the third time on the night with a two-yard touchdown run. An Arbuckle pass to Ruiz for 36 yards put the Panthers near midfield before Arbuckle found Harden for 15 yards to reach the Louisiana 24-yard line. Caffey’s 15-yard gain pushed the Panthers closer to the endzone before pass interference was called on Louisiana to bring up Caffey’s score with 6:35 left in the game.

On the next drive, Brooks Haack found Larry Pettis for an 18-yard gain before completing another large gain, this one to Al Riles, for 22 yards to place the ball on the Georgia State 21. One play later, Broadway found Robinson in the endzone to put the Cajuns ahead for good. 

Louisiana heads to San Marcos, Texas, on Oct. 14 when it takes on Texas State in a 7 p.m. game that will be televised on ESPN2. 

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Georgia State 7 10 7 7 31
Louisiana 7 7 7 13