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Football: Rapid Reaction – Cajuns’ rushing attack douses Flames + game & tailgating photo galleries

Nick Fontenot, The Advertiser, Sept. 8, 2019

Click here for the Louisiana vs. the Liberty Flames game photo gallery.

Click here for tailgating  photo gallery taken prior to the Louisiana vs. Liberty Flames games.

It certainly wasn’t the start Cajuns coach Billy Napier envisioned.

Liberty struck first with an eight-play drive to go up 7-0, and after the first quarter, it was tied 7-7.

But the Cajuns eventually settled in — just as they did last week — only this time, they earned a 35-14 victory. The Cajuns used 408 rushing yards to control the line of scrimmage and the defense figured out the Liberty attack after that first drive, holding them to just seven points the rest of the way.

There were mistakes, however.

Stevie Artigue struggled, going 0-for-3 on his field-goal attempts, all three misses at critical times of the first half.

The Cajuns also had a pair of turnovers that killed potential scoring drives.

Saturday’s success on the ground may be what the Cajuns needed to fully commit to a running identity as it certainly appeared to be the strength of the offense.

Key play

The Cajuns’ rushing attack ate up huge chunks of yards all night — especially in the first half — and was the key component to the victory. Trey Ragas had a 75-yard touchdown run and led the way with 129 yards. Raymond Calais added 111 yards on the ground, including a 68-yard run in the second quarter and Elijah Mitchell had 74 yards and a touchdown. Even freshman Chris Smith broke a 36-yard run and Levi Lewis ran one in from 19 yards out. All in all, the Cajuns had 408 yards on the ground and utilized what appears to be the strength of their offense to perfection.

More: UL running backs contribute variety of talents to Cajuns backfield | Ragin’ Cajuns’ backfield loaded with talent

Player of the Game

The air attack produced a 100-yard receiver for the second straight game. This time, it was senior Ja’Marcus Bradley. He finished seven yards shy of 100 last week, but exploded against Liberty for 110 on six catches including two touchdowns. Bradley has 203 yards in this young season and is slowly making his case to be placed among the all-time greats in Cajuns history.

Big takeaway

Slow offensive starts in the first two games may be an issue Napier will look to fix immediately. Still, 1-1 is where the Cajuns thought they’d be after the first two games, and all their goals remain intact.

More: Could Cajuns’ future hold more games against Power 5 opponents?

More: Cajuns’ Hunter Bergeron, an STM alumnus, steps up amid tight end troubles