Lewis shines in debut as Ragin’ Cajuns earn win at South Alabama, 19-14

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MOBILE, Ala. – True freshman Levi Lewis completed 8 of 15 passes for 110 yards with a pair of touchdowns while rushing for 129 yards in his collegiate debut and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns earned a 19-14 victory over South Alabama in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

T.J. Posey added a pair of sacks with an interception as Louisiana (4-4, 3-2 SBC) earned its first ever win in Mobile in three tries against South Alabama (3-6, 2-3 SBC).

Louisiana, which was coming off a 16-day layoff, never trailed in the contest as Stevie Artigue booted a 37-yard field goal with 4:17 remaining in the first quarter giving the Ragin’ Cajuns a 3-0 lead.

Lewis tossed his first career touchdown on Louisiana’s next possession as he eluded pressure from the South Alabama defense on third-and-11 and hit a wide-open Michael Jacquet for a 54-yard TD strike with 13:34 remaining in the second quarter.

After a 19-yard punt return by Earnest Patterson gave Louisiana the ball at the USA 46, the Ragin’ Cajuns needed five plays to find the end zone. Lewis, who became the first Ragin’ Cajuns quarterback to rush for over 100 yards since Jalen Nixon at Arkansas State in 2015, opened the drive with a 12-yard rush before Trey Ragas converted on third-and-6 with a 17-yard gain to the USA 13.

One play later, Lewis put Louisiana ahead 16-0 as he found true freshman Chase Rogers alone in the end zone with 10:34 remaining in the half. Artigue added a 20-yard field goal with 3:10 remaining in the first half to cap an 8-play, 77-yard drive.

The Ragin’ Cajuns defense forced South Alabama to punt on its first five possessions of the game before the Jaguars drove 80 yards in 10 plays with Cole Garvin connecting with Malik Stanley on a 12-yard scoring pass with :38 seconds remaining in the first half.

Louisiana stopped a pair of Jaguar drives deep into Ragin’ Cajuns territory in the second half as Corey Turner intercepted Garvin at the UL 16 early in the third quarter and returned it 22 yards.

USA threatened on its first drive of the fourth quarter after Garvin connected with Jamarius Way on an 81-yard reception to the UL 4, but the Ragin’ Cajuns would stiffen as Posey picked off a deflected pass two plays later at the UL 3.

Garvin, who finished 22-for-35 for 274 yards in relief of USA starter Dallas Davis, tossed an 18-yard scoring pass to Stanley with :59 seconds remaining, but Louisiana’s Ja’Marcus Bradley would recover an attempted on-side kick by the Jaguars and Ragin’ Cajuns ran out the clock.

Ragas gained 84 yards on 17 carries for Louisiana, which gained 264 yards on the ground and finished with 374 yards in total offense. Tracy Walker and Jacques Boudreaux each recorded seven tackles for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Kevon Perry added 3.5 tackles for loss with a half-sack.

Louisiana will return to action on Saturday (Nov. 11) when it faces Ole Miss in an 11 a.m. contest at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

• Lewis’ 129 yards rushing marked the first 100-yard game by a Ragin’ Cajuns quarterback since Jalen Nixon (201 yards) at Arkansas State in 2015.
• Kamar Greenhouse earned his first career start at cornerback for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
• Earnest Patterson handled the punt return duties and finished with 50 yards on four attempts.
• Michael Jacquet’s 54-yard TD reception was the longest scoring pass by the Ragin’ Cajuns this season.
• Louisiana’s streak of 31 scoring trips in the red zone ended when Trey Ragas was stopped on fourth-and-1 at the USA 10 with 2:26 left in fourth quarter.
• Rogers’ 13-yard TD reception in the second quarter was the first of his career.
• Corey Turner’s interception in the third quarter was the first of his career.
• The Ragin’ Cajuns defense forced South Alabama to punt on its first five possessions before scoring late in the second quarter.

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