Cajuns Hammer FIU 48-20
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns had a bad taste in their mouths after their performance against Oklahoma State and had two weeks to stew about it.
The Cajuns took out their frustration on Florida International Saturday night at Cajun Field.
The Cajuns scored the first 24 points of the game en route to a 48-20 thumping of the Panthers and remaining undefeated at Cajun Field under head coach Mark Hudspeth.
The Cajuns (3-1, 2-0 Sun Belt) rolled up 501 yards in offense, and held the FIU running game to just 55 yards on 34 carries in the contest.
The Cajuns got two stops on defense early before marching on an 82 yard drive culminating in a three yard run by quarterback Blaine Gautier to give the Cajuns a 7-0 lead. The Cajuns got 68 of those yards on the ground.
After forcing the third punt of the first quarter, the Cajuns struck again, this time on an 83 yard drive. Gautier found Bradley Brown for gains of 23 and 45 yards, before Gautier found tight end Jacob Maxwell on a two yard scoring pass to make it 14-0.
On the Panthers' next possession, Jemarlous Moten tipped a pass by freshman E. J. Hillard and intercepted at the FIU 31. That led to a Brett Baer 46 yard field goal and the Cajuns led 17-0. On the third play after the interception, however, Gautier left the game with a hand injury and did not return.
On their first possession of the second quarter, quarterback Terrance Broadway led the Cajuns on a 55 yard drive and scored himself on a 13 yard run to stretch the Cajuns' lead to 24-0 with 11:38 to play until halftime.
But FIU got on the board on its next possession, as Hilliard hit Willis Wright on a short cross that was turned into a 58 yard gain to the Cajuns' three, and Hilliard ran it in from there. After an Alonzo Harris fumble on the ensuing possession, FIU got on the board on a 37 yard drive with Jeremiah Harden scoring from a yard out to cut the lead to 24-14.
The Panthers wouldn't get any closer.
After an exchange of punts, Broadway led the Cajuns on a 66 yard drive, with Harry Peoples snagging four passes for 42 yards to get the Cajuns down to the FIU 4 yard line and Broadway ran it in from there for his second touchdown of the night to give the Cajuns' momentum into the locker room, 31-14.
The Cajuns got the second half kickoff and it took only two plays to score, as Broadway hit Harry Peoples on a screen and he streaked down the sidelines for a 78 yard touchdown to run the score to 38-14. And, on the next possession, Rodney Gilles intercepted a tipped Hilliard pass that turned into a 23 yard field goal by Baer to make it 41-14.
FIU got a score later in the quarter but the Cajuns came right back. Broadway hit Darryl Surgent with a 58 yard pass, setting up Efrem Reed's seven yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter to end the scoring.
Broadway was stellar off the bench, completing 15-19 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown while rushing seven times for 28 yards and two more scores. Harry Peoples was Broadway's favorite target as the senior snagged ten passes for 151 yards. Gautier was 6-12 for 86 yards and a touchdown pass and also a touchdown run during his one quarter of work.
Redshirt freshman Effrem Reed led the Cajuns in rushing with 11 carries for 62 yards and a score. Alonzo Harris added 56 years on nine carries.
Hilliard, making his first collegiate start after Jake Medlock was injured a week ago, completed 18-26 passes for 204 yards. He was intercepted twice and sacked four times, with Cordian Hagans credited with 2.5 sacks. Qyen Griffin led the Cajuns in tackles with 10.
The Cajuns defense held FIU (1-4, 0-1) to just 259 yards of offense and 1-12 in third down conversions.
Louisiana will now celebrate homecoming with a non-conference game against Tulane next Saturday at Cajun Field with kickoff scheduled for 4pm. FIU entertains Arkansas State Thursday night.