Cajuns Outpace Georgia Southern Eagles, Improve Bowl Chances
The Cajuns played their last home game of the year on Thursday. They faced a high-flying Georgia Southern team in a highly important matchup. This game would be very important for potential bowl outcomes for the Ragin' Cajuns, as they were still 2 games from bowl eligibility.
The game would start on a cool night with a kick from Thomas Leo to give Georgia Southern the ball to start off. Eagles quarterback Kyle Vantrease would lead their new-look air raid offense. The Cajuns defense would force a three-and-out and get the ball to their offense right away.
Ben Wooldridge lead the Cajuns offense out with good field position. A well-controlled drive would lead to a touchdown throw from Wooldridge to John Stephens Jr.
The Eagles would get the ball back and start their second drive but be stopped near midfield after a gutsy blitz from the Cajuns defense. Eric Garror then brought the punt back nearly 30 yards to once again set the Cajuns up with excellent field position.
Wooldridge led the Cajuns offense back out and moved the ball with authority deep into Eagles territory. The drive would stall out on the goal line, with Wooldridge throwing an interception in the end zone.
The Eagles would take the momentum from the 4th down stop and quickly move down the field. A halfback pass would fluster the Cajuns defense and lead to a Georgia Southern touchdown.
The Cajuns offense would return hoping to regain the lead. A huge run from Dre'lyn Washington would set the Cajuns up in the red zone. Not long after, Wooldridge would throw a beautiful fade to Jacob Bernard to put the Cajuns back in front.
The Eagles didn't get far before they had to punt. Dontae Fleming took the poorly-kicked ball all the way to Georgia Southern's 27. The very first offensive play of the drive would be a touchdown from Wooldridge to Michael Jefferson.
The Cajuns now had plenty of momentum and a good lead. Vantrease's offense would return to the field looking to cut into that lead and go three-and-out.
Wooldridge would lead the Cajuns out and get onto the plus side of the field. The Cajuns would be stopped short of a first down and set up Kenny Almendares for a 48-yard field goal. He would nail it to put the Cajuns up by 17.
On the ensuing Georgia Southern drive, they would move the ball quickly and efficiently. With under a minute remaining in the half, they would get within the Cajuns 10. But a forced fumble from Andre Jones would be recovered by Mason Narcisse and get the ball back for the Cajuns all the way at midfield.
Wooldridge would move his offense into the Eagles red zone, and set up Almendares for a 32-yarder to further extend the lead going into the half. Kenny the Kicker would send it through and make the lead 20.
The Cajuns would start the second half hoping to steal a possession after closing the first half with points. They would move the ball pretty well, making it inside the Eagles 15 before being stunted and letting Kenny Almendares come in for his third field goal of the night. Kenny made it and the Cajuns would further extend their lead.
The Cajuns defense would shut down the Eagles offense and force yet another punt.
Unfortunately, the Eagles defense would do the same. The Cajuns would trot out Rhys Byrns for the first time in the game.
The Eagles would move the ball into Louisiana territory and score on a long back-shoulder throw from Vantrease to Marcus Sanders.
The Cajuns didn't want to let the Eagles back into the game, so scoring on this next drive would be important. The Cajuns faced a third down in on the plus side of the field as the third quarter ended.
The Cajuns would fail on 3rd down, giving Almendares a chance to make it a three score game. He did so, making his fourth field goal on the day.
The Cajuns defense would hold the Georgia Southern offense to a field goal, bringing the lead back to 16.
After an attempted onside kick, the Cajuns would have excellent field position to start the drive. They easily got within field goal range and Kenny Almendares would once again stretch the lead.
The Eagles would move the ball well as they attempted a comeback that was becoming more and more difficult as time ticked down. A 4th down stop inside their own 10 was the perfect way to stop that rally in its tracks.
The Cajuns didn't get far on their ensuing drive, but an excellent punt from Rhys Byrns gave the Eagles a long field that would make the act of a comeback nearly impossible.
The Cajuns defense played tough anyway, and after Vantrease went down with an unfortunate injury, backup Connor Cigelske came in and that would finish off the Georgia Southern Eagles.
The Cajuns would win and improve to 5-5 on the season, keeping a bowl game berth well within their reach. They would have a nice long week to prepare for their bout against ranked Florida State.