Football - Unbelievable! Cajuns beat Georgia Southern on last-second,53-yard field goal - video
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Sept. 26, 2020
What we learned from No. 25/19 UL’s wild win over Georgia Southern on Saturday …
1. KICKING IS CRAZY
Just 2-for-6 on the season, UL kicker Nate Snyder – a graduate transfer from Indiana – hit from 53 yards out to give the nationally ranked Ragin’ Cajuns a 20-18 win over Georgia Southern on Saturday at Cajun Field.
After a Bralan Trahan interception gave UL a chance to go into halftime with a lead, Snyder missed a 34-yard field goal attempt wide right.
Snyder’s would-be backup, Kenneth Almendares, was out with COVID-19 issues of his own for a second straight week, so it was all Snyder to win it, and he did.
Whether it’s a kicking, snapping or holding issue, or some combination of the aforementioned, it’s something – even after the make – that the Cajuns will have to clean up going forward.
2. RUNNING BACK DEPTH
With standout running back Elijah Mitchell out for the first time this season, Trey Ragas got UL’s first carry of the day against Georgia Southern on Saturday and established himself right away with an 11-yard gain.
Chris Smith broke off a 36-yard run for the Ragin’ Cajuns later in the opening quarter, but after Smith was taken to the locker room in the second quarter true freshman Emani Bailey got a carry – showing UL coach Billy Napier isn’t afraid to go deep into his running back room.
Napier might have to continue with more of the same as the season progresses, especially if illnesses and injury accumulate. Smith has an ankle injury, Napier said afterward. The extent of the injury was not disclosed.
3. MANY OPTIONS
Not that it’s any great revelation, but Georgia Southern’s modern triple-option truly is difficult deal for any defense with.
Even a decent one like UL’s.
Because just when it seemed the Cajuns perhaps had some things figured out, quarterback Shai Werts was able to go over the top to complete a 61-yard pass to running back Wesley Kennedy that set up Georgia Southern’s first touchdown.
Of course it didn’t help the Cajuns when a costly penalty helped extend a drive either.
Werts did it again late in the fourth quarter, finding tight end Beau Johnson for looked at first like a 59-yard. But it was ruled Johnson fumbled at the 2, with the ball going into and out of the end zone, giving UL a touchback and possession at the 20 with two minutes and 48 seconds to go.
4. FRESHMEN NEEDED
It’s apparent the Cajuns will be relying on some of their true freshman this season.
Beyond Bailey, Kyren Lacy had multiple catches, Errol Rogers Jr. – a Lafayette Christian Academy High product – pulled in a 27-yard pass from Lewis that helped put UL up 17-10 early in the fourth quarter and cornerback Trey Amos contributed on defense.
Alex Raynor’s 27-yard field goal midway through the third quarter put Georgia Southern up 10-7, but Snyder answered with a 25-yarder with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter to tie it at 10-10.
After Rogers’ catch broke the tie, Werts threw a 28-yard touchdown throw to Khaleb Hood and – while scrambling – a two-point conversion throw to Darion Anderson to make it 18-17 with 54 seconds remaining.
Lewis drove the Cajuns close enough, though, to set up Snyder’s game-winner.
After UL stopped Georgia Southern with Kam Pedesclaux’s sack of Shai Werts on 4th-and-1 at the 3, ending a 15-play drive, and Georgia Southern stopped UL as Lewis threw behind Lacy on a 4th-and-5 slant pass from the 15, the Eagles took a 7-0 lead behind J.D. King’s 2-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter.
Ragas helped tie it up as the Cajuns went 83 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 10-yard run before Snyder’s PAT.
UL safety Percy Butler recovered Trahan’s fumbled interception late in the first half – his third fumble recovery in three games this season. … Before Trahan picked Werts, former Furman linebacker Reynard Ellis had his first pick for Georgia Southern on a Lewis deep ball from midfield with just more than a minute left in the opening half. … UL true freshman receiver Dontae Fleming, listed as “questionable” earlier in the week with an undisclosed “lower body” injury, did not play. … UL was without at least 12 players due to coronavirus COVID-19 issues, among them – as expected – Mitchell, starting right tackle Max Mitchell, starting nose guard Tayland Humphrey, starting outside linebacker Joe Dillon, starting cornerback Asjlin A.J. Washington and starting safety Cameron Solomon. … Georgia Southern was without eight players for undisclosed reasons, among them standout safety Kenderick Duncan Jr., starting defensive end Dillon Springer and backup quarterback Justin Tomlin. … UL captains were running back Trey Ragas, linebacker Lorenzo McCaskill and safety Percy Butler.
BY THE NUMBERS
Georgia Southern had 447 total yards to 438 for UL. ... Lewis finished 18-of-32 for 290 yards; Werts was 11-of-18 for a career-high 255 yards. ... Ragas finished with 52 yards on 15 carries. ... Attendance (capped for COVID-19 reasons) was announced at 5,585. Kennedy’s 61-yard catch was a career-long. … Temperature at kickoff was 79 degrees
UL: (3-0, 2-0). Georgia Southern: (1-1, 0-2).
UL is off until visiting Appalachian State in an ESPN-televised game on Oct. 7. Georgia Southern is scheduled to visit UL Monroe on Saturday night (ESPN?).
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