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Football: Mitchell’s Overtime Touchdown Leads No. 19 Louisiana Past Georgia State, 34-31
Ragin’ Cajuns earn first win in overtime since Oct. 29, 2005
9/26/2020 | 11 A.M.
KHXT 107.9 FM / ESPN 1420 AM
ATLANTA – Senior running back Elijah Mitchell's 12-yard touchdown run in overtime was all No. 19 Louisiana needed to escape Atlanta with a thrilling 34-31 victory over Georgia State on Saturday afternoon.
The win marked Louisiana's (2-0, 1-0 Sun Belt) first victory in an overtime game since Oct. 29, 2005, when it defeated Troy, 31-28, in Lafayette.
Mitchell helped power the Ragin' Cajuns' offense all day, posting his 11th career 100-yard performance with 164 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns, including the game winner. Trey Ragas also helped propel the offense, toting the ball eight times for 44 yards and his second touchdown of the season.
Quarterback Levi Lewis finished the game 21-for-37 for 279 yards and two touchdowns with the help of two freshman wideouts. Dontae Fleming led all Louisiana receivers with four catches for 81 yards and Kyren Lacy added three catches for 57 yards and his first career touchdown.
Louisiana's defensive catalysts were once again Lorenzo McCaskill and Ferrod Gardner. McCaskill finished the game with a career-high 12 tackles and a sack, while Gardner was credited with 10 tackles and a sack of his own.
As a team, Louisiana outgained Georgia State, 519-419, and rushed for over 240 yards on the ground, its highest rushing total since posting 252 rushing yards against ULM on Nov. 30, 2019.
Georgia State stormed out of the gate and took a 14-0 lead with 13:25 to play in the second quarter following a 12-yard rush from Cornelious Brown and a 28-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Roger Carter.
Needing a big play late in the opening half, Mekhi Garner delivered with a crucial interception, the first of his career, to halt a late Panther drive. The Ragin' Cajuns then capitalized on their next drive, marching 80 yards in 1:43 to set up an 18-yard touchdown reception by Chris Smith to pull Louisiana within 14-7 at the break.
The Panthers took advantage of a Ragin' Cajuns turnover early in the second half when Marcus Carroll scored from a yard out to push the home team's lead out to 21-7 with 10:49 on the clock.
Lewis guided the offense down the field on the next possession, taking the team 86 yards with the help of chunk pass plays to set up a four-yard touchdown pass to Lacy to cut into the deficit.
Mitchell then tied things up late in the third quarter, exploding through a hole in the offensive line and dashing 59 yards to knot things up at 21 points apiece before scampering for 50 yards on the team's next possession to set up a two-yard Ragas touchdown to give Louisiana a 28-21 lead with 11:54 to play.
Georgia State responded four minutes later when Destin Coates caught the edge and scored from four yards out to tie the game back up at 28-28 and eventually force overtime.
In the first overtime period, the Panthers went ahead, 31-28, with the first possession courtesy of a 25-yard field goal from their placekicker Noel Ruiz.
Knowing it needed a touchdown to win the game, Louisiana hit the ground running with Mitchell, who broke free around the right edge and coasted into the end zone to seal the 34-31 victory for the Ragin' Cajuns.
No. 19 Louisiana returns to Lafayette for its Sun Belt Conference home opener on Saturday, Sept. 26, when it hosts Georgia Southern at Cajun Field. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. CST and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.
More information on Louisiana Football tickets can be obtained by calling the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at the CAJUNDOME, (337) 265-2170. For information on parking passes, contact RCAF by phone at (337) 851-2903.
Louisiana Athletics does not currently anticipate changes to the 2020 football schedule, but in the event of modifications due to the coronavirus pandemic, the department will work to resolve outstanding account balances and if necessary, issue refunds.
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