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Football: Ragas' Late Score Carries Ragin' Cajuns Past A-State, 47-43
LAFAYETTE – Sophomore running back Trey Ragas' 2-yard TD run with 1:18 remaining capped an 11-play drive and to move Louisiana Football into a tie for first-place in the Sun Belt Conference West Division with a 47-43 win over preseason favorite Arkansas State on Saturday at Cajun Field.
Raymond Calais rushed for a career-high 121 yards and a touchdown on seven carries while Jarrod Jackson and Elijah Mitchell each went over 100 yards receiving as Louisiana (4-4, 2-2 SBC) won its third straight game at home against A-State (4-4, 1-3 SBC) while moving into a tie with idle ULM in the SBC West Division standings.
A-State, which was picked to claim the SBC West Division title and first-ever SBC Championship Game, trailed 34-21 in the third quarter after Louisiana's Kyle Pfau booted a 47-yard field with 8:02 remaining before chipping away at the deficit. Marcel Murray, who rushed for 121 yards on 19 carries, scored on a 2-yard run to cap an 11-play drive for A-State before Justice Hansen connected with Kirk Merritt on a 73-yard TD pass to take a 35-34 lead with 10:51 remaining.
Louisiana reclaimed the lead on the ensuing drive as Jackson caught a pass from Andre Nunez and outraced the A-State secondary to the end zone for a 53-yard score to give the Ragin' Cajuns a 40-35 lead with 8:47 remaining.
Murray scored his third TD of the night on a 7-yard run and the Red Wolves converted on a 2-point conversion with 5:48 remaining before the Ragin' Cajuns answered with their game-winning drive.
Nunez, who finished 18 for 26 for 295 yards and a pair of touchdowns, connected with Ja'Marcus Bradley on fourth-and-5 for 13 yards to the A-State 37 before Calais gained 13 yards to the 22 two plays later.
Calais added a 15-yard run around right end to the A-State eight-yard line before Ragas scored three plays later.
Louisiana took the opening kickoff and needed four plays to find the end zone as Nunez connected with Mitchell on a 64-yard scoring strike down the right sideline. The Erath, La., native added a 65-yard scoring run on the Ragin' Cajuns third drive before Calais snapped a 14-14 tie in the first quarter with a 72-yard TD run.
Nunez added a 1-yard TD run that gave Louisiana a 28-14 lead in the second quarter before Pfau booted a career-long 52-yard field goal to give the Ragin' Cajuns a 31-21 lead at halftime.
Jackson caught four passes for a career-high 129 yards for the Ragin' Cajuns with Mitchell finishing with a career-best 121 yards receiving on six receptions. Corey Turner led the Louisiana defense with eight tackles with Terrik Miller and Jacques Boudreaux recording six stops each.
Koa Haynes picked off his first pass of the season for the Ragin' Cajuns while Lorenzo McCaskill registered five tackles with his first career sack.
Hansen finished 17-for-30 through the air for 270 yards and a touchdown with Merritt catching four passes for 122 yards. Louisiana held a 547-478 advantage in total offense while controlling the football for over 18 minutes in the second half, including 10:44 in the fourth quarter.
Louisiana will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 3, when it travels to Troy, Ala., to face Troy in a 2:30 p.m. contest at Veterans-Memorial Stadium.
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- Garrald McDowell (DL, Sr.), Justin Middleton (LB, Sr.), Ryheem Malone (WR, Sr.), Trey Ragas (RB, So.)
Coin Flip Winner:
- Louisiana won the toss and elected to receive to start the game. It is the third straight game that Louisiana has won the toss and fourth straight game they have received the opening kickoff
100 Career Catches:
- Ryheem Malone's first catch of the game, during the fourth quarter, went for 20 yards and it was his 100th career reception (72at Louisiana, 28 at SMU)
- Louisiana's first three TDs scored were from 64 yards or greater. The Ragin' Cajuns entered the game with three TDs of 60 yards or greater on the season.
- Louisiana began the game with a 64-yard touchdown pass from Nunez to Mitchell, it is the second time this season that Louisiana has opened the game with a touchdown scoring drive. The Ragin' Cajuns began the New Mexico State game with a touchdown scoring drive.
One Career Play:
- Nunez's 64-yard touchdown pass was a career-long and for Mitchell is was the longest reception of his career
Backs Can Catch Too:
- Mitchell's game opening 64-yard touchdown reception was the longest pass play for a Louisiana running back this season, eclipsing Calais' 45-yard reception at Texas State (Oct. 6)
- Mitchell finished with 121 yards and one touchdown, and that's the first time that a Louisiana running back has caught over 100 yards since Elijah McGuire caught 134 yards on Oct. 20, 2015
- The 121 yards is the third most receiving yards by a Louisiana running back in school history
Jackson Joins The 100-Yard Club:
- Junior wide receiver Jarrod Jackson finished with 129 yards receiving on four receptions for the most receiving yards by a Louisiana player this season.
Duo 100-Yard Receivers:
- For the first time since 2017, at Tulsa (Malone  and Keenan Barnes ), Louisiana had two receivers catch at 100-yards in a game (Jackson  and Mitchell ) and it is the 14th time in school history that has happened
Don't Blink Times-Two:
- The next drive, after Louisiana's 31-second scoring drive, eclipsed that drive as the fastest scoring drive, when Calais ran it 72 yards on one play, giving Louisiana a touchdown on one play and a scoring drive that took only 21 second
- It is the first time since Darrius Hoggins went 75 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth drive of the game against Georgia Southern on Nov. 25, 2017
- Louisiana's second scoring drive of the game, a two-play 89-yard drive capped off by Mitchell's 65-yard touchdown run, took only 31 seconds. That is the second fastest scoring drive this season and going back to 2016 it is the fourth fastest scoring drive for Louisiana
- The 21-second scoring drive was the fastest for Louisiana since that 2016 season and 31-second scoring drive was the second fastest since that same 2016 season
Pfau Cracks 50 yards:
- Senior Kyle Pfau nailed a 52-yard field goal at the end of the first half and that was the seventh-longest field goal in school history.
- Pfau's kick is the longest by a kicker from the Sun Belt so far this season.
- It was the longest field goal since Brett Baer nailed a 52-yard yard field goal against East Carolina in the 2012 RL Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Double The Field Goals:
- Pfau hit a 52-yarder and a 47-yarder to give Louisiana two made field goals in one game for the first time since Nov. 18, 2017, against New Mexico State
70-Plus Since For The First Time:
- Louisiana's third touchdown of the game was a 75-yard run by Calais and it is the first time this season that Louisiana has had a rushing play go over 70 yards
- It is the first time Louisiana has had a 70-yard plus run since Hoggins' 75-yard scoring dash against Georgia Southern on Nov. 25, 2017
Punting For A Long Way:
- Freshman Rhys Byrns nailed a 68-yard punt which is not only the longest punt this season for Byrns and the Cajuns, it is the longest punt Louisiana has had since 2016, when Steven Coutts nailed a 68-yard punt against Idaho on Nov. 5
- The 68-yard punt is the second longest in the Sun Belt Conference this season, behind only Troy' Tyler Sumpter who nailed a punt 79 yards
- Senior Koa Haynes snagged his first interception of the season, and second of his career, give Louisiana back-to-back games with at least one interception, that is the first time Louisiana has had back-to-back games with at least one interception since Louisiana had three-straight games with at least one interception from Nov. 4 – Nov. 18
- Calais finished with 121 yards rushing on seven attempts
- Turner finished with eight tackles
- Nunez threw for 295 yards on 18-for-26 passing and two touchdowns
- Jackson caught 129 yards on four receptions
- Nunez's 64-yard touchdown pass was a career-long
- Mitchell's 64-yard reception and 65-yard rush were both career longs
- Calais' 72-yard rush was a career long
- Pfau's 52-yard field goal was a career long
- Mitchell's 121 yards receiving was a career high
- Calais' 121 yards rushing is a career high
- Jackson's 129 yards receiving was a career high and his 53-yard reception was a career long
- Lorenzo McCaskill recorded his first career sack
- #GEAUXCAJUNS -
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