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Ragin’ Cajuns snap UAB’s 21-game home winning streak with 24-20 victory

Ragin' Cajuns earn first-ever win over the Blazers in Birmingham
Trailing 13-3 at the end of the first half, Louisiana stormed back and outscored UAB, 21-7, in...
Trailing 13-3 at the end of the first half, Louisiana stormed back and outscored UAB, 21-7, in the final 20:34 of the game to pick up an impressive 24-20 road victory on Friday night at Legion Field.(Source: UL Sports Information)
Published: Oct. 24, 2020 at 1:10 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UL Sports Information) – Trailing 13-3 at the end of the first half, Louisiana stormed back and outscored UAB, 21-7, in the final 20:34 of the game to pick up an impressive 24-20 road victory on Friday night at Legion Field. 

The victory marked the Ragin' Cajuns' (4-1, 2-1 Sun Belt) first-ever win against the Blazers in Birmingham and snapped UAB’s 21-game home winning streak in the process. 

Special teams played a pivotal role in the victory, highlighted by a 100-yard kick return touchdown by the speedy Chris Smith. Smith has now recorded two kick-return scores, the first player to do so since Raymond Calais in 2017. 

Punter Rhys Byrns made his presence felt late in the contest, bombing a 74-yard punt to pin the Blazers deep in their own territory to ultimately seal the victory. The punt was the sixth-longest in school history and the longest of Byrns' career. 

Levi Lewis had another strong game through the air, finishing the game 12-for-20 for 152 yards and two touchdown passes, the 13th game in his career with two or more passing scores. The team is 12-1 all-time when Lewis throws at least two touchdowns. 

Rookie Kyren Lacy, who was recently named to the FWAA Freshman All-America watch list, led the team’s receivers with two receptions for 43 yards, while senior Jalen Williams hauled in two passes for 40 yards and a touchdown, his second of the season. 

Additionally, Lewis found tight end Pearse Migl for a nine-yard touchdown score, the first of his career. 

Louisiana produced 134 yards on the ground on Friday night, led by 67 yards from senior Elijah Mitchell. Lewis added 34 yards on seven carries and produced the team’s longest rush of the night at 14 yards. 

Bralen Trahan and Cameron Solomon each recorded clutch interceptions to help aid in the defensive effort, while Ferrod Gardner led the team in tackles with nine on the evening.   

After a stout defensive battle to open the game, UAB (4-2, 2-0 Conference USA) struck first with a 33-yard field goal off the foot of Matt Quinn. Placekicker Nate Snyder answered with a field goal of his own, capping off an 11-play, 72-yard drive with a 21-yard boot to knot the game up at three-points apiece. 

UAB then tacked on the game’s first touchdown with 34 seconds remaining in the half when Spencer Brown powered into the end zone from a yard out to extend the home team’s lead to 13-3. 

Smith responded in a massive way, taking the ensuing kickoff 100 yards to the house to pull Louisiana with 13-10 at halftime. 

Brown found the end zone for the second time on the Blazers' first drive of the second half, scoring on fourth down to put UAB ahead, 20-10, with 3:40 in the third quarter. 

On the next possession, the Louisiana offense put together a strong drive with the help of some big pass plays, one of which was a 23-yard touchdown strike from Lewis to Williams to bring the Ragin' Cajuns within three points. 

The Ragin' Cajuns' took their first lead of the night at 24-20 when Lewis connected with Migl for a nine-yard touchdown. 

With the game on the line, Byrns used his 74-yard punt to pin the Blazers deep in their own territory and forced them to throw the ball with no timeouts. The poor field position paid off when Trahan picked off Byrson Lucero to lock up the victory. 

Louisiana returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 31, when it continues its road swing at Texas State. Kickoff on Halloween night is slated for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.

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