Coastal Carolina Holds on to Defeat the Cajuns 30-28
It was a tough night for the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns as they opened Sun Belt Conference play on Saturday as they welcomed in a Coastal Carolina team who hasn't been able to get back to their campus for several weeks due to Hurricane Florence. The team was stuck in Jacksonville for the last several weeks practicing at various area high schools, so they had some adversity coming into this game and they beat the Cajuns 30-28.
The game opened up relatively low scoring as both teams seemed to be feeling their way out in the first half but Coastal Carolina dealt the Cajuns a big blow right before halftime with a quick touchdown strike. The Chanticleers got the ball back with about 40 seconds remaining in the half and it took them only 24 seconds to find pay-dirt. Quarterback Kilton Anderson hooked up with wide receiver Ky'Jon Tyler for a 31-yard touchdown to give Coastal a 16-7 lead.
After halftime, it would be another strike from Anderson but this time he struck with his legs on a read-option quarterback keeper right through the middle of the Cajuns defense for 59 yards down to the one-yard line. From there they pounded it in to increase their lead to 23-7. However, on that long run from Kilton Anderson, he actually injured himself on the play and would not return to the game, freshman quarterback Bryce Carpenter would play the rest of the game.
Louisiana had some work to do but they were able to grab the momentum back with two straight scoring drives. The first was a 30-yard gallop by Elijah Mitchell and the second was on an even more impressive 61-yard sprint by Raymond Calais. That left the Cajuns down just 23-21 with plenty of time remaining.
On the next Coastal possession, big Duece Wallace was able to create a fumble for the games first and the only turnover, if there was a question about where the momentum was before that, there wasn't anymore.
At this point coach, Billy Napier decided to insert sophomore quarterback Levi Lewis into the game instead of sticking with Andre Nunez who had just helped engineer the two previous scoring drives. After just six plays the drive fizzled and Louisiana had to punt, from there it never seemed like they could fully grasp the momentum back.
After another Chanticleer score followed by a UL score, we sat at 30-28 in favor of Coastal Carolina. They had the ball with just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and give credit where credit is due, they were able to salt away the remaining time and win the game but it wasn't without a little bit of good fortune. On a 2nd and 20 running back Torrance Marable was stopped near the line of scrimmage but fumbled the football, it took a bounce and landed right in the hands of CCaro Jaivon Heiligh. From there he was able to advance it 11 yards which were just 1 yard short of first down yardage. Coastal would pick up the first down and the game was over at 30-28.
The Cajuns fell to 1-2 on the year and 0-1 in the Sun Belt. Their next opponent is Alabama, the number one team in the nation in Tuscaloosa at 11 am.