Although ranked at the bottom in the preseason polls, the Cajuns have won 5 straight, and have overcome both front runners, FIU, and tonight, Troy. The only out-of-conference games this week were USA, which downed UTSA in a double over-time thriller, and FIU which beat Akron on the road.
UL Tops Troy
The Ragin' Cajuns football team extended its winning streak to five games, leading from start to finish in a 31-17 victory over Troy Saturday evening at Cajun Field in front on 29,775 fans, the sixth-largest crowd in school history.
The win improved Louisiana to 5-1, the best start for the program since 1970 which was the last time the Cajuns played in a bowl game (1970 Grantland Rice Bowl). As the 2011 season reached the midpoint, UL is now one win shy of becoming bowl eligible in head coach Mark Hudspeth's inaugural season.
The Cajuns also tied the 2001 Middle Tennessee squad for the best start by a team in Sun Belt Conference history.
Chris Masson threw for 211 yards on 21-of-29 passing. Javone Lawson posted a team-high eight receptions for 131 yards. Alonzo Harris gained 81 of the Cajuns' 117 yards rushing.
The Cajuns defense limited the Trojans to 77 yards rushing. Troy entered the contest averaging 138.2 rushing yards per game.
Cornerback Melvin White intercepted the ball with with three seconds left in the first half, and returned it 89-yards for a touchdown. The "pick six" was the fifth of the year for UL and the first of the season for White. It was also the longest interception returned for a touchdown by a Cajuns player at Cajun Field.
Alonzo Harris made it three straight games with a rushing touchdown after his two-yard touchdown plunge at the 1:50 mark in the third quarter gave the Cajuns a 31-10 edge.
Louisiana concludes its current three-game homestand next Saturday as North Texas visits Cajun Field. The game serves as the University's 66th Homecoming contest. Kickoff is set for 4:08 p.m., in a live broadcast on the Ragin' Cajuns Television Network.
Troy Falls to Louisiana
Lafayette, La. – The Troy Trojan football team fell behind Sun Belt conference for Louisiana-Lafaye early Saturday night on Cajun Field and were unable to bounce back as the Ragin Cajuns' took away a 31-17 victory.
“They played awfully well and had a good plan and got it to the point to where they could make us work hard throwing the football,” said head coach Larry Blakeney.
Troy fell to Louisiana for the first time since 2005.
The Trojans now prepare for Louisiana Monroe when they visit Troy next Saturday in more Sun Belt action on Larry Blakeney field. “ULM got us last year at their place and we should have great motivation, not only to recover but to pay a little debt,” said Blakeney.
FIU Thumps Akron
The Panther offense racked up 524 yards and the FIU defense limited Akron to just 269 as the Panthers beat the Zips, 27-17, Saturday afternoon in Akron, Ohio.
Sophomore running back led the way for FIU, rushing for 126 yards and a score. Wes Carroll completed 26-of-38 passes for 308 yards, and T.Y. Hilton caught an FIU-record 12 passes for 144 yards to power the Panther aerial attack. Darriet Perry added a pair of rushing touchdowns, moving into sole possession of first place on the FIU all-time rushing touchdown leaderboard.
FIU has a bye week next before going to Jonesboro, Ark. on Tuesday, October 18 to face Sun Belt Conference foe Arkansas State at 8 p.m. That game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
USA Topples UTSA in Double OT
SAN ANTONIO – Demetre Baker scored on the University of South Alabama’s first play of the second overtime Saturday, clinching a 30-27 football victory over Texas-San Antonio at the Alamadome.
The Jaguars improved to 3-2 on the season after winning their first-ever overtime game, while the Roadrunners — who had a chance to win the contest at the end of regulation — dropped to 2-4.
“We have a fighting spirit about us,” Jag head coach Joey Jones commented. “It looked kind of bleak there for a minute when they had the ball down on the five-yard line. But we rushed through and sacked the quarterback and we block a kick, so they [the team] never quit. It was a big win for our program. I’m just so proud of them for fighting.
“We lost two games on the road, and to have another road game right behind them and to come back and win was real big for us.”
Baker finished with a game-high 87 yards on 11 carries and his second straight outing with multiple touchdowns — he’s scored at least once in each of the last four contests. Kendall Houston added 72 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts as USA finished with 175 yards rushing and 176 through the air.
Jake Johnson led the Jaguar defense with 12 total stops, which included three for loss, while B.J. Scott chipped in with a career-high 11. Ken Barefield and Enrique Williams were credited with eight tackles apiece, while Clifton Crews became the first player in school history to force two fumbles in a game.
“For a first-year program, they are a heck of a team. They had some great players and had a good game plan against us,” Johnson observed. “I’m glad we came out on top. We had a few mistakes here and there, but that is all correctable. I’m just glad we got out of Texas with a win.”
Eric Soza accounted for 311 yards of total offense, completing 15-of-22 attempts for 263 yards while pacing UTSA on the ground with 48 yards on 15 attempts. Evans Okotcha posted 25 yards rushing and caught three passes for 70 yards, and Kenny Harrison added 105 all-purpose yards for the Roadrunners with 36 on the ground, 29 on three catches and a pair of kick returns for 40 more.
For the game, the Roadrunners would finish with 409 total yards.
Lamontis Gardner paced the Jags with a career-best four receptions for 70 yards, his highest total of the year. Joey Jones and Bryan Lavender each made two catches, with the former ending up with a career-high 113 all-purpose yards. C.J. Bennett was 11-of-17 passing for 176 yards.
Steven Kurfehs matched Johnson with 12 tackles overall to lead UTSA, with two of those for loss including a sack. Mark Waters made nine stops, Brandon Reeves had six, and Lekenwic Haynes and Richard Burge each credited with five.
“I want to congratulate UTSA. I thought they came out and played a tremendous game — it was a big game for them,” Jones stated. “The crowd was into it; it was that typical home atmosphere. They had a great game plan and great coaching, and probably deserved to win the game in some ways. But on the other side of it, we said at halftime we were not going to quit.”
The Jaguars will return to Ladd-Peebles Stadium for the first time in five weeks when they play host to Tennessee-Martin Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The contest can be seen live on Comcast Sports Southeast as well as UTV 44, and will also be available on the Internet at ESPN3.com.