Louisiana Tops Appalachian State 24-21 in a Wild One
For the first time in program history, Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns defeated the Appalachian State Mountaineers on the football field, securing a 24-21 victory in Boone, North Carolina, improving to 9-1 on the season.
"I think, first off, hats off to Appalachian State," said head coach Billy Napier. "Unbelievable program. Tradition. History. That's a veteran football team...We've played them 5 times in 2 and a half years. I couldn't be more proud of our team and staff."
It wasn't easy, as the #20 Ragin' Cajuns errors on special teams nearly cost them.
Long snapper Paul Boudreaux, who had no issues snapping during his career coming into tonight, had 4 horrific snaps.
Three times, he sailed the snap over the head of punter Rhys Byrnes, including one that led to a safety in the 4th quarter. He also botched an extra point snap, leading to a failed PAT.
The closing moments of the 4th quarter were wild.
With 1:51 left in regulation, facing a 4th and 2, rather than attempt another punt, Louisiana elected to take an intentional safety, narrowing the lead to 3.
"Do you want to run the snapper and punter out there and try it again?" questioned Napier when asked about the decision after the game. "We felt like the best opportunity to win was to give up a safety there and not give up another bad play."
The Mountaineers drove down to the Cajuns 13 yard line, attempting a game-tying 30 yard field goal, but it sailed wide left.
"Relief," said linebacker Chauncey Manac when asked to describe his feeling after the missed field goal. "It's good to finally beat (Appalachian State)."
Defensively, Louisiana kept the Mountaineers in check most of the night.
Manac led the way, finishing with 6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, and a plethora of defensive disruptions that helped stunt the App State offense.
"He played well," Napier said of Manac. "Chauncey is one of those guys who is really growing up as a person and has really improved as a football player. He's got a bright future in front of him."
Offensively, Louisiana found more rhythm in the second half, leaning on the run game as the frigid wet conditions in Boone made things more difficult.
Running back Elijah Mitchell led the Cajuns with 95 yards on the ground, while Trey Ragas rushed for 43 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Quarterback Levi Lewis was 8 of 23 for 101 yards and 1 touchdown.
"Just to see some of the emotion and looks on some of (the players) faces (after the win)...it all adds up," explained Napier. "Every person that has contributed, going back to the beginning."
Louisiana is now 1-8 all-time versus Appalachian State.
With their regular season in the books, Louisiana will begin preparations for the Sun Belt Conference Championship game in Conway, South Carolina against #14 Coastal Carolina, who handed the Cajuns their only defeat of the season back in mid October.
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