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Football: Louisiana wins school-record 10th after failed ULM field goal + game photo gallery

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Dec. 1, 2019

Click here for the Cajuns vs. UL-M 40 photo gallery.

WHAT HAPPENED 

UL Monroe kicker Jared Porter's 35-yard field goal attempt with two seconds remaining missed wide left, allowing UL a 31-30 win over the Warhawks on Saturday night at Cajun Field and giving the 10-2 Ragin' Cajuns their first 10-win season in school history.

With that, UL heads into Saturday's Sun Belt Conference championship game at No. 22 riding a six-game win streak.

Porter's miss marked the second straight year a ULM kicker missed a late field goal and gave the Cajuns the win; last year, UL won by three after Craig Ford missed as time expired. Porter also missed a PAT.

Quarterback Levi Lewis (15-of-23, 270 yards) completed three touchdown passes for the Cajuns; Raymond Calais Jr.'s 83-yard TD run sent UL into halftime up by a touchdown; and Stevie Artigue's 27-yard field goal with 1:21 left stood up as the game-winner.

SECOND HALF

ULM tied the game at 21 after UL went for it on fourth down but failed to convert, and Caleb Evans followed with a 40-yard touchdown throw to Jonathan Hodoh with 8:17 left in the third quarter.

UL took the lead back after Lewis threw his third TD pass of the night, hitting true freshman Peter LeBlanc in the back of the end zone with a 2-yard score on fourth-and-goal with 5:34 remaining in the period.

After giving up a 66-yard pass to the 4, the Cajun defense held and ULM settled for 23-yard field goal in the final few seconds of the third quarter.

Chris Smith downed a fourth-quarter Rhys Byrns punt, but ULM drove 99 yards in eight plays, capping it with an 11-yard Austin Vaughn run. Porter's PAT missed, however, making it 30-28 Warhawks with 7:56 left.

With 3:46 to go, UL went for it on fourth-and-9 from the ULM 42 and Lewis picked up the first down with a 14-yard run, setting up Artigue's game-winner, which came after a brief timeout because a small ball had been accidentally thrown in the end zone.

ULM went 57 yards in 10 plays to set up Porter's late try, but his attempt missed the mark.

More: With ULM next, UL has chance for school-record 10 wins

FIRST HALF

UL went for it on fourth-and-6 from the ULM 36 five minutes into the game, and Levi Lewis hit Jamal Bell for a 36-yard touchdown over the middle. The TD throw was set up by an interception off a deflected Evans pass by Bralen Trahan, who returned the pick 54 yards to the ULM 40.

Before the opening quarter was done, Evans would run in from 19 yards out to help tie the game at 7-7.

More: UL will face 'dynamic' ULM QB who hasn't forgotten 2018

ULM punted to the 1 to open the second quarter, but UL drove 99 yards in seven plays, capping its drive with a 42-yard TD throw from Lewis to Ja’Marcus Bradley. With 2:34 left in the half, Evans faked a handoff on third-and-1 and threw 47 yards over the top to help make it 14-14.

After a trade of punts, Calais — running up the middle behind blocks by right guard Kevin Dotson and right tackle Max Mitchell — busted one up the middle for 83 and UL headed into the break up 21-14.

Related: From Monroe, UL tackle Max Mitchell makes the right move

NAME DROPPING

UL's Elijah Mitchell rushed for 102 yards, putting him over 1,000 for the season. ... UL safety Cameron Solomon was ejected in the first quarter for targeting. … Former UL head coach Mark Hudspeth’s Austin Peay Governors and former UL secondary coach Tim Rebowe’s Nichols Colonels both won FCS playoff games Saturday. … UL captains were Dotson, receiver Bam Jackson, linebacker Jacques Boudreaux and safety Deuce Wallace.

More: Offensive guard Dotson is a 'powerful human'

BY THE NUMBERS

Lewis has 20 TD throws on the season, tying him with Andre Nunez and Jake Delhomme (who did it twice) for most in a year. Blaine Gautier owns the record with 23 in 2011. ... UL had 149 rushing yards in the first half, 83 of them coming on Calais' TD

run. ... Calais is now the second player in UL to record three rushes of 80 yards or longer, joining receiver Jason Cherry. ... Calais finished with 107 yards, all in the first half. ... Evans threw for 330 yards.

INJURY REPORT

Bell went to the locker room shortly before the end of the first half with a leg strain and wearing a walking boot. ... Calais had only one second-half carry; his injury status, if any, is uncertain. ... Cajuns linebacker Lorenzo McCaskill, who had a key late sack, got hurt after the failed field goal and had to be helped off.  ... UL linebacker Ferrod Gardner also was injured, and linebacker Joe Dillon reportedly got hurt late. ... UL running back Trey Ragas briefly entered the injury tent in the first quarter, but quickly returned. He's been dealing with a sprained ankle. ... Injured starting safety Percy Butler did not play for the first time this season; Wallace and Trahan started at the two safety spots for UL. … As expected, usual starting right tackle Hunt (groin) missed his fifth straight game. … Usual starting defensive lineman Zi'Yon Hill (shoulder) also was out for UL, as expected.

More: Jones, Higgins stepped up for UL with key piece missing

SENIOR NIGHT

Eighteen UL seniors were recognized before the game: Artigue, Boudreaux, Bradley, Calais, Dotson, Hunt, Jackson, Wallace, Alonzo Brown, Kamar Greenhouse, Bennie Higgins, Michael Jacquet III, Ashton Johnson, Seth Kootsouradis, Nick Ralston, Rico Robinson, Chandler Wacholtz and Quentin Gibson.

RECORDS

UL: 10-2, 7-1. ULM: 5-7, 4-4.

UP NEXT

UL plays at No. 22 Appalachian State in Saturday’s Sun Belt Conference title game (11 a.m. central, ESPN).

More: Seriously, how bad is UL attendance?

Related: UL winning, but fans still not showing