Cajuns Defeat Georgia St., 23-21
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns picked up a big road win on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Georgia St. Panthers, 23-21, in Sun Belt Conference action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.
Stevie Artigue kicked through three field goals, as the Cajuns recorded their third win in their last four games, as well as their first road game of the season.
Louisiana scored the first points of the game, on the initial drive of the game, when Stevie Artigue was successful on a 40-yard field goal attempt, capping off a 9-play, 52-yard drive, to give them a quick 3-0 lead at the 10:48 mark of the first quarter.
The UL special teams was responsible for the next score, blocking a punt by Wil Lutz into the end zone. The ball was recovered for a touchdown by Montrel Carter, to extend the advantage to 10-0 at the 8:42 mark of the opening frame.
Georgia St. scored their first points at the 6:06 mark of the first quarter, when Nick Arbuckle connected with tight end Keith Rucker on an 8-yard touchdown pass, ending a 7-play, 67-yard drive, to trim the deficit 10-7.
The Cajuns got their 10-point lead back right before the end of the first quarter, when Brooks Haack threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Al Riles, completing a 12-play, 75-yard drive, to give them a 17-7 lead with :55 remaining in the quarter.
The Panthers again got to within three points at the 9:08 mark of the second quarter, when Arbuckle and Rucker hooked up on another touchdown pass, this one from 3 yards away, putting an exclamation point on a 7-play, 76-yard drive, to draw to within 17-14.
Georgia St. failed on a golden scoring opportunity late in the first half, driving inside the Louisiana 10-yard line with under 2:00 left in the half.. But the UL defense held, and Lutz missed a 25-yard field goal, as the Cajuns brought a 17-14 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Panthers outgained the Cajuns, in terms of total yards in the first half, 244-180, including a 188-93 advantage in the passing department, while UL held an 87-56 edge on the ground.
For Louisiana, Haack led the way in the fist half, completing 8-of-9 passes for 93 and a touchdown, while Elijah McGuire accumulated 39 rushing yards on 11 carries.
Arbuckle paced Georgia St. over the first 30:00, completing 11-of-15 passes for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Rucker caught 4 passes, including 2 for touchdowns, for 33 yards.
Georgia St. scored the first points of the second half, at the 5:27 mark of the third quarter, when Arbuckle threw his third touchdown of the game, this one to Donovan Harden from 3 yards out, capping off a 12-play, 86-yard drive, to give them their first lead of the game, 21-17.
Louisiana scored the final points of the third quarter, when Artigue made good on his second field goal of the game, this one from a career-long 49 yards away, ending a 12-play, 43-yard drive, to cut the Georgia St. lead to 21-20, a lead they would take with them into the final quarter.
The Panthers had an opportunity to score the fourth quarter, driving inside the UL 20-yard line, before Lutz missed a 36-yard field goal, to keep the score 21-20 in favor of Georgia St.
The Cajuns wrestled away the lead at the 6:59 mark of the final quarter, when Artigue made good on his third field goal of the game, this one from 21 yards away, completing a 6-play, 18-yard drive, to give them a 23-21 advantage.
After Artigue missed a a 42-yard field goal attempt, his only miss in four attempts, Georgia St. got the football back with 2:47 remaining, with one final chance to get points, and the win.
The UL defense came up big however, as Savion Brown intercepted an errant Arbuckle pass, securing the 2-point win.
Georgia St. outgained Louisiana, in terms of total yards, 390-307, finishing with a 312-162 advantage in passing yards, while UL finished with a 145-78 edge in rushing yards.
Haack led the way for the Cajuns, completing 18-of-25 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown, while McGuire totaled 73 rushing yards on 21 carries.
In a losing cause for the Panthers, Arbuckle completed 22-of-38 passes for 313 yards, to go along with 3 touchdowns and one interceptions.
With the victory, Louisiana improved to 4-4, overall, and 3-1 in Sun Belt Conference play, while Georgia St. dropped to 2-7, and 1-3, respectively.
The Cajuns return to play on Thursday night, when they travel to Mobile, Alabama to take on the South Alabama Jaguars in a Sun Belt Conference match-up.