Cajuns End Season with Bowl Win Over UTSA
For the second-consecutive year, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns ended their college football season with a bowl victory.
16th-ranked Louisiana defeated the UTSA Roadrunners, 31-24, in the 2020 SERVPRO First Responder Bowl, held on Saturday at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
The Cajuns led the game at one point, 24-7, before having to score a touchdown midway through the final quarter to take the lead and grab the eventual bowl win.
Louisiana was making its third-consecutive bowl appearance, as well as its 8th in the last ten years.
The triumph extended UL's season-ending win streak to seven games, to go along with ten wins on the season, marking the second-consecutive season that they have compiled double-digit wins in a single season, after securing a school-record 11 wins a season ago.
The Cajuns' only loss of the season was a 27-24 setback to the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at Cajun Field back on October 14.
The victory was also the second-straight in a bowl for Louisiana, following a 27-17 win over Miami (Ohio) in the 2019 LendingTree Bowl.
Louisiana got on the scoreboard first on the initial possession of the contest, when Levi Lewis connected with Jalen Williams on a 15-yard touchdown pass, capping off an 8-play, 68-yard drive, which gave them a quick 7-0 lead.
The Cajuns extended their lead at the 8:27 mark of the second quarter when Kenneth Almendares kicked through a 31-yard field goal, completing an 11-play, 61-yard drive, which widened their advantage to 10-0.
UTSA scored its first points of the game at the 4:33 mark of the second quarter when Frank Harris wrapped up a 9-play 75-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run, to cut their deficit to 10-7.
Louisiana scored a touchdown with 1:21 remaining in the first half when Lewis threw his second touchdown of the half, this one to Kyren Lacy on a 10-yard scoring strike, putting the exclamation mark on an 8-play, 74-yard drive, to extend its lead to 17-7, an advantage they would take with them into the halftime break.
Louisiana outgained UTSA, in terms of total yards in the first half, 235-179, including a 93-47 advantage in passing yards, as well as a 143-132 edge in rushing yards.
Levi Lewis led the way for the Cajuns in the first half, completing 7-of-13 passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns, while Elijah Mitchell rushed for 66 yards on eight carries.
For the Roadrunners over the first 30 minutes of play, Frank Harris completed 5-of-8 passes for 47 yards and one interception, while Sincere McCormick carried 13 times for 70 yards.
Louisiana scored the first points of the second half when Mitchell scored on a short 2-yard touchdown run, just one play after Ferrod Gardner recovered a UTSA fumble at the 2-yard line, which gave them their biggest lead of the afternoon, 24-7.
UTSA drew closer at the10:14 mark of the third quarter when Harris hit Zakhari Franklin with a 29-yard touchdown pass, ending a 4-play, 62-yard drive, to make it 24-14.
The Roadrunners drew to within three points at the 4:09 mark of the third quarter when Harris tossed his second touchdown of the game, this one to Joshua Cephus from 10 yards out, capping off a 6-play, 89-yard drive, to close to within 24-21.
UTSA tied the game at the 13:32 mark of the fourth quarter, scoring their 17th-unanswered point, when Hunter Duplessis made good on a 20-yard field goal, completing a 9-play, 82-yard drive, which evened the contest, 24-24.
Louisiana regained the lead with 7:16 remaining when Trey Ragas scored on a 1-yard plunge, wrapping up a key 12-lay, 72-yard drive, which gave them a 31-24 advantage.
That proved to be the game-winning score, as the Cajuns went on to the 31-24 triumph.
UTSA actually ended up outgaining Louisiana in terms of total yardage, 431-412, including a 208-146 edge in passing yards, while UL finished with a 266-223 advantage in rushing yards.
Lewis led the way for the Cajuns, completing 12-of-22 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns, while Mitchell, who was named the game's Most Valuable Player, finished with 127 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
In a losing cause for the Roadrunners, Harris completed 13-of-21 passes for 208 yards and three total touchdowns, including two passing touchdowns and one rushing score, while McCormick rushed for 122 yards on 23 carries.
With the victory, Louisiana concluded its 2020 season with an impressive overall record of 10-1, while UTSA fell to 7-5.