Cajuns Sink Troy, 42-23

TROY, Ala. – Elijah McGuire rushed for 169 yards and became the fourth player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns got a strong defensive effort in the second half to erase a halftime deficit and earn a 42-23 victory over Troy in the Sun Belt Conference regular-season finale for both teams on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Alonzo Harris added 86 yards and three touchdowns while Terrance Broadway completed 14 of 19 passes for 142 yards as Louisiana (8-4, 7-1 Sun Belt) earned eight wins in the regular season for the fourth consecutive season under head coach Mark Hudspeth. Troy, which was playing its final game under legendary coach Larry Blakeney, finished its season at 3-9 overall and 3-5 in league play.

"Give Troy credit, they came out and played very inspired in the first half, and wanting to play hard for Coach Blakeney, made some plays and let it all hang out," Hudspeth said. "We didn't help ourselves in the first half with some costly penalties on the punt team. We told our guys at halftime to stop doing those silly things that's keeping us from executing on both sides. They came out (in the second half) and did a phenomenal job."

After Troy built a 23-21 lead at halftime behind an offensive performance that produced 342 yards, the Ragin' Cajuns stuffed the Trojans in the final 30 minutes as Louisiana yielded 52 yards and finished with a 486-394 advantage.

"We played more man coverage in the second half," Hudspeth said. "They (Troy) were creating some good separation in some of their routes and they had people come open. We wanted to stick with them and see if we could get the pass rush going and we got some good pressure and a couple of sacks. We did much better in the secondary in the second half."

Louisiana, which controlled the football for 11:45 in the third quarter and nearly 22 minutes in the second half, opened the half with a 10-play, 74-yard drive to take a 28-23 lead it would not relinquish. McGuire, who scored twice and joined Brian Mitchell, Michael Desormeaux and Tyrell Fenroy as 1,000-yard rushers in school history, opened the drive with a 13-yard gain before Broadway rushed for eight yards and connected with Gabe Fuselier on a 6-yard gain to the Troy 47.

"We just were committed to our plan (in the second half) of what we wanted to do in the red zone and that was keep the chains moving and being patient," Hudspeth said. "We got the option going today and that helped and allowed us to have a little more versatility once we got to the red zone. Our backs ran strong and I thought it was much better."

Three plays later on third-and-7, Broadway hit C.J. Bates for a 26-yard gain to the Troy 18 and Harris would score four plays later on a 1-yard scoring plunge to drive that took 5:00 off the clock.

After the Ragin' Cajuns forced a punt on Troy's first drive of the second half, Louisiana drove 87 yards in 12 plays that took 6:25 off the clock.

Broadway, who rushed for 78 yards on 14 carries, gained 13 yards on second-and-10 to the UL 26 before Harris kept the drive alive after gaining 11 yards to the UL 46 on third-and-1. McGuire added a 15-yard run around right end for a first down to the Troy 28 before Broadway hit Larry Pettis for a 13-yard gain on second-and-8 to the Troy 13.

Broadway capped the drive two plays later when he faked a handoff to Harris and rushed around the left side for a 9-yard score that gave Louisiana a 35-23 lead with :33 remaining in the quarter.

Harris added his third TD of the game for Louisiana when he scored on 1-yard run with 3:48 remaining that capped an 11-play, 65-yard drive.

The Ragin' Cajuns defense got in the action early after Troy drove down the field on its opening possession. Brandon Silvers completed four passes, including a 29-yard toss to Teddy Ruben to the UL 26, to help the Trojans threaten. But Troy McCollum forced a fumble by Khary Franklin and Jake Molbert recovered at the UL 22 to halt the drive.

Louisiana would need 13 plays to reach the end zone to take a 7-0 lead. Broadway connected with James Butler on a 5-yard pass on third-and-5 at the UL 27 before connecting with Fuselier for 12 yards to the Troy 46. The Ragin' Cajuns rushed on six of their next seven plays with McGuire capping the drive with an 8-yard TD run – his ninth straight game with a rushing touchdown.

The Trojans quickly moved the ball down the field, driving to the UL 2 after a Silvers' 6-yard pass to Josh Anderson on third-and-7. On fourth down, the Ragin' Cajuns defense stiffened as Tre'maine Lightfoot stopped Silvers for a 1-yard loss and Louisiana would take over at its own 3.

After Broadway was called down in the end zone for a safety following a bad snap, Troy drove 71 yards and reached the end zone to take its first lead of the game. Silvers, who finished 29-for-34 for 272 yards, hit Chandler Worthy for a 30-yard gain to the UL 31 before finding Bryan Holmes alone in the end zone two plays later on a 28-yard TD pass with 13:56 remaining in the first half.

Harris added a 2-yard TD run that gave Louisiana a 14-9 lead with 5:34 remaining in the second quarter before Troy bounced back after a 55-yard kick return by Worthy put the ball on the UL 40. Troy converted on fourth-and-7 when Silvers hit Ruben for 12 yards to the UL 25 before the duo connected two plays later for a 17-yard scoring pass for a 16-14 lead with 2:59 remaining.

The lead was short-lived as McGuire raced up the middle on the Ragin' Cajuns first play of the ensuing drive and scored on a career-long 75-yard touchdown for a 21-16 lead with 2:49 left.

But Troy would not go away as Silvers hit B.J. Chitty on a 5-yard scoring pass that gave the Trojans a 23-21 lead they would take into the locker room.

Corey Trim led Louisiana with a career-high 10 tackles with Dominque Tovell adding nine. Tracy Walker added a season-high eight stops and a fumble recovery for the Ragin' Cajuns while Lightfoot added a season-best seven tackles. McCollum and Darzil Washington each forced fumbles as the Ragin' Cajuns forced a pair of turnovers and sacked Silvers twice.

Blakeney, who announced his retirement in October after 24 seasons as head coach, finished his career with a 178-113-1 record.

Worthy caught a game-high eight passes for 72 yards to lead Troy with Ruben catching five passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Burks rushed for 50 yards to lead Troy with Franklin finishing with 43.


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