Cajuns Battle But Fall to Appalachian State In Sun Belt Title Game
This was a game a lot of honest Ragin' Cajuns fans would tell you they didn't expect to be playing in at the beginning of the season but everyone in the area was excited that they were playing in.
The Cajuns won the opening coin toss and took the football first on offense and it was a solid opening drive. They were able to pick up a couple first downs and got down to the Appalachian State 20-yard line for a 4th and 2. After some deliberation during a timeout, coach Napier decided to kick it and Kyle Pfau made good on that decision converting from 37 yards out to give Louisiana a quick 3-0 lead.
However, that good feeling would be short-lived as Darrynton Evans spoiled the party with a 97-yard kickoff return to set the Mountaineers up at the Cajuns one-yard line. From there, Marcus Williams would finish things off with the score and that would give them the lead 7-3 in the early going.
We wouldn't see any other scoring in the game until the second quarter when Louisiana got a drive going and Kyle Pfau nailed a 45-yard field goal.
However, App State responded yet again with a touchdown on a 25-yard quarterback keeper by Zac Thomas and that increased the lead to 14-6.
The Cajuns would move the football close to field goal range as we neared the end of the half but unfortunately, Andre Nunez threw a poor pass that found Josh Thomas of the Mountaineers for the pick and that's how we'd go into the half.
As the second half got underway you felt like the Cajuns might be able to get some things going in the run game. After an App State field goal, Raymond Calais returned a kick 61 yards that set up an eventual score for Louisiana on a quarterback keeper by Andre Nunez. The Cajuns were able to add another field goal to pull themselves back to within one point at 17-16.
Unfortunately, that's as close as they would get as the Mountaineers would open the game up just enough in the fourth quarter by outscoring UL 10-3 and winning the game 30-19.
The Cajuns lost the first meeting 27-17 and it didn't feel like it was that close but lost by eleven today and the game felt like it was much closer than that. It was a terrific showing from the Cajuns in this first Sun Belt Conference Championship Game.
Andre Nunez did not have his best day as he passed for just 85 yards on 10/21 passing. The running game was solid as it has been all season long as Trey Ragas led the way with 16 carries for 101 yards and Elijah Mitchell carried 17 times for 85 yards.
Despite the defense giving up 30 points they played extremely well, Bennie Higgins was flying around the field on Saturday and the defensive backs played as well as they have all season long.
With the loss, the Cajuns fall to 7-6 overall and will travel to Orlando Florida to play their final game of the 2018 season in the Autonation Cure Bowl on December 15th with kickoff at 12:30 pm.