Cajuns Run Away from Texas State

LAFAYETTE – The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football team used a 28-point third quarter to break free from a halftime tie and claim a 49-27 victory over Texas State in front of 21,377 Saturday evening at Cajun Field in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams.

Louisiana (2-3, 1-0 Sun Belt) won its Sun Belt opener for the eighth straight season. The 49 points scored by the Cajuns were a season-high and 526 yards of offense marked the highest output since the Northwestern State contest (Sept. 12).

Junior running back Elijah McGuire piled up a season-high 170 yards on a career-high 28 carries. As a team, the Cajuns rushed for 288 yards surpassing 200-plus for the third time in five outings.

Junior quarterback Jalen Nixon had a career night finishing 22-of-29 for 238 yards and four touchdowns, including three touchdown tosses.

Jamal Robinson posted his fifth multiple-touchdown game of his career hauling in two scores, the latter which proved to be the winning score in the third quarter. Robinson finished four catches and a season-high 67 yards.

Al Riles led all receivers with nine catches for 98 yards. Torrey Pierce's 13 carries for 56 yards and Nixon's seven carries totaling 45 yards boosted the Cajuns rushing totals.

Louisiana outgained Texas State 526-351 with the Bobcats (1-4, 0-1 Sun Belt) being held to 173 yards passing the team's lowest output since the season opener at Florida State. The Cajuns defense pressured quarterback Tyler Jones into 20 incompletions and a season-low 13 completions.

"It was a solid game, a real clean game," head coach Mark Hudspeth said. "When you follow the plan to win – that's playing great defense, winning the turnover battle and scoring when you get the ball in the red zone – then you have a chance to have a pretty good night."

Jones found running back Robert Lowe for a 37-yard score on the Bobcats' first possession of the contest, capping off a seven-play, 68 yard drive at 9:52 of the first quarter.

The Cajuns responded on the ensuing drive, going 75 yards in 10 plays to even the game at 7-7. The Cajuns converted on a third down at the Texas State 44-yard line, setting up three consecutive plays, ending in a 22-yard touchdown pass to Riles at 5:05.

The Bobcats reclaimed the lead early in the second quarter, gaining 65 of the drive's 78 yards on the ground. Texas State turned three third downs into first downs and converted on fourth-and-two setting up Jones' 31-yard scamper to the endzone two plays later.

After six straight possessions, in which the teams traded defensive stops, the Cajuns drew even at 14-14 just before halftime when Nixon connected with Robinson on a touchdown pass with 35 seconds remaining in the opening stanza.

After forcing the Bobcats into a three-and-out to start the second half, the Cajuns scored on their first three possessions of the half to pull away.

After a short punt to the Texas State 45, Louisiana took its first lead of the night three plays later when Nixon tossed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Robinson at 12:33 of the third quarter. A fumble by Lowe on a lateral from Jones on the ensuing possession was recovered by Savion Brown at the Texas State 36-yard line, and led to a McGuire touchdown at 9:17, which upped the Cajuns' lead to 28-14.

The Louisiana defense delivered another stop, forcing a three-and-out. The Cajun offense pieced together a 12-play, 88-yard drive, capped off by an 18-yard touchdown run by Nixon, which increased the lead to 35-14 with 2:31 remaining in the third quarter.

The teams then traded kickoff returns for touchdowns, the Bobcats getting a 95-yard return from Brandon Smith and the Cajuns answering with a 100-yard return by Jeryl Brazil.

The Cajuns used a commanding 209-20 edge in total offense in the decisive quarter. The Cajuns had the ball for 10:17 with 110 yards rushing.

The Bobcats moved back to within two scores at 9:06 in the fourth quarter, but a failed onside kick gave the Cajuns a short field. After a combination of five rushes, the last a two-yard touchdown run by Torrey Pierce, the Cajuns regained a three-score lead.

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