From ULL Sports Information
ATLANTA – Terrance Broadway threw for four touchdowns and Elijah McGuire became the first player in school history to rush for 100 yards or more and catch passes for 100 yards in the same game as the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns pulled away in the second half to topple Georgia State, 35-21, in a Sun Belt Conference contest Saturday afternoon in the Georgia Dome.
The victory allowed Louisiana to tie the school record for consecutive victories with eight, equaling the performance of the 1976 team that won the first eight games of the year. With two games to go, the Cajuns (10-2, 5-0 Sun Belt), need one win or one Arkansas State loss to clinch a share of its first Sun Belt Conference title 2005.
"This was a hard-fought victory for our team today," Louisiana head coach Mark Hudspeth said. "That's a good, young football team we played that is still learning how to win.
"We did some good things today, but we could have been better, but it is hard to win on the road in the Sun Belt so I am happy about that."
After Georgia State (0-10, 0-5 Sun Belt) rallied to tie the game at 21-21 with 5:01 left in the third quarter, the Cajuns came to life.
McGuire gave the lead right back to Louisiana as he caught a short screen pass from Broadway and turned it into a 36-yard touchdown as the Cajuns took a 28-21 lead with 1:47 left.
After the Cajuns had put Georgia State into a punt situation on a fourth-and-10 from the 50 with 13:30 left, Panther punter Matt Hubbard faked an Australian running kick and kept the ball around the left end for 12 yards and a first down. A late hit call on the Cajuns pushed the ball to the 23.
The Cajuns defense stiffened, forcing the Panthers into fourth-and-3 at the Louisiana 16 but Trae Johnson stopped Kyler Neal one yard short of the first down to give Louisiana the ball with 11:33 left. Johnson, a surprise starter who had made just seven tackles all season, led the Cajuns with 12 tackles (10 solo) with a pair of tackles for loss.
Aided by three penalties that totaled 42 yards, Louisiana took a 35-21 lead when Jamal Robinson caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Broadway with 7:58 left. The pass was originally ruled to be caught out of bounds, but was overturned when the replay showed that Robinson got one foot down in the end zone.
"I knew I got a foot down," Robinson, who caught five passes for 53 yards, said of the play. "I could have had two, but I knew I got the first one in and it wasn't close.
The touchdown was the team-best seventh receiving score of the year for Robinson and marked the 10th time that he had hooked up with Broadway in school history.
Georgia State had two drives penetrate into Cajuns territory in the final eight minutes, but both drives were stopped, the first at the Louisiana 32 and the second at the 43 when the Panthers failed to convert a fourth-down play. For the game, Georgia State was 2-for-5 in fourth-down attempts and were just 1-for-3 in the red zone.
Broadway was brilliant again, completing 10-of-16 passes for 234 yards and rushing 10 times for a season-high 78 yards. He went over the 2,000-yard mark for the year, improving to 141-for-220 for 2,098 yards and 18 touchdowns.
The game however belonged to McGuire, who scored on an 80-yard catch-and-run 3:09 into the game and put the dagger in the Panthers comeback hopes with a 39-yard run in the fourth quarter that moved Louisiana into GSU territory. McGuire, who entered the game with five receptions for 115 yards on the season, caught three passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 11 times for 107 yards.
For the game, McGuire touched the ball 14 times for 232 yards – the most by a Cajun this season and an average of 16.6 yards per touch.
"We wanted to get Elijah more touches today because we thought we had some matchups that we could take to our advantage," Hudspeth said.
On the second play of their second possession of the game, McGuire took a forward handoff from Terrance Broadway, raced around right end and out-ran the GSU defense for an 80-yard touchdown that put the Cajuns ahead, 7-0, with 11:51 left.
Georgia State came right back and had a first-and-goal at the Louisiana 5, but quarterback Ben McLane stumbled and lost possession of the ball and Christian Ringo recovered to give Louisiana the ball.
A fumble by McGuire on the final play of the first quarter gave the Panthers a first down at the Louisiana 16. The turnover led to Travis Evans' 5-yard touchdown run that evened the game at 7-7 just 34 seconds into the second quarter.
Louisiana answered right back as Broadway engineered a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Alonzo Harris running it in from 1-yard out with 10:54 left. The touchdown was the 13th of the year and 31st career rushing score for Harris
Georgia State was driving again on its next possession, driving to the Louisiana 23 before Trevence Patt step in front of a Bell pass to make his first career interception at the 1-yard line. Patt added seven tackles in the game along with one tackle for loss and a pair of passes defended.
The Cajuns took advantage of the interception, driving 99 yards in 11 plays with Broadway finding Darryl Surgent open down the middle for a 50-yard touchdown pass with 2:21 left in the half.
Georgia State closed the half with a touchdown in the final seconds when Ronnie Bell eluded heavy pressure from Chris Prater and Justin Hamilton and found Keith Rucker open for a 42-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds left in the half to make it a 21-14 game at the intermission.
The Panthers tied the game up at 21-21 with 5:01 left in the third quarter when Bell completed a quick out to Albert Wilson, who then beat a Cajun defender and ran 23 yards into the end zone.
But the Panthers would never lead as the defensive effort of the Cajuns featured several additional strong efforts.
Dominique Tovell helped close down the middle by making nine tackles with two-and-half stops for loss and a shared quarterback sack. Sorrento native Marvin Martin added four tackles, a pair of quarterback sacks and a forced fumble in his most extensive playing time of the season. Justin Anderson finished with eight tackles for Louisiana, pushing his season total to 103. T.J. Worthy and Corey Trim had four stops each for the Cajuns with Justin Hamilton adding three.
Bell led GSU by completing 19 of 34 passes for 229 yards and two scores. Wilson gained 64 yards on five carries and caught eight passes for 57 yards and a touchdown.
The Cajuns will have their final bye week of the regular season before returning to Cajun Field to take on ULM on Saturday, Nov. 30 beginning at 6:00 p.m. The game, which is the home finale for Louisiana, will be televised live by the Sun Belt Network.
Captains for the game were Ian Thompson (TE) and Jacob Maxwell (TE) from the offense and Brandon McCray (DT) and Justin Anderson (LB) from the defense. . . Louisiana won the toss and for the first time all season, elected to take the ball instead of defer to the second half. . . the Cajuns were well represented in the crowd with approximately 1,000 fans being seated behind the team bench. . . punter Daniel Cadona liked the conditions in the Georgia Dome, punting three times for a season-best 50.0 average. . . linebacker Justin Anderson reached the 100-tackle mark for the season when he stopped Albert Wilson for a 2-yard loss late in the first quarter … Anderson finished with eight tackles to raise his season total to 103…McGuire's 80-yard reception was the longest offensive play of the season for the Cajuns, eclipsing the 70-yard run by McGuire at Arkansas State…the previous long offensive play was Broadway's 68-yard TD pass to Surgent against New Mexico State…Cadona's 59-yard punt in the first quarter was his longest of the season, besting his previous mark (55) set at Akron…Patt's interception was the Cajuns' 11th of the season and marked the ninth player this season to record at least one…McGuire's 232 all-purpose yards were the most by a Cajun this season, eclipsing the previous high (162) set by Surgent at Kansas State and increasing his season total to a team-high 972 yards (686 rushing, 240 receiving, 46 kick returns).