UL is 4-1 for first time since ‘88 after win over FAU
MIAMI – Brett Baer’s 26-yard field goal as time expired lifted Louisiana to its first 4-1 start since 1988 as the Ragin’ Cajuns fended off a late Florida Atlantic rally posting a 37-34 victory at Cajun Field.
Harry Peoples’ 12th reception of the night, which tied the school record for a Cajun Field contest, brought UL to the FAU 27-yard line. Three plays later the Cajuns were set up first-and-goal at the FAU nine-yard line and shortly thereafter lined up for Baer’s heroics.
Seven minutes earlier it seemed as though the Cajuns (4-1, 2-0 Sun Belt) wouldn’t need such a frantic march to for the winning tally.
In the fourth quarter, a nine-yard touchdown run by Alonzo Harris staked the hosts to a 31-20 lead with 12:58 remaining.
Baer notched his second field goal of 40-plus yards at the 7:43 mark when he drilled a 46-yard attempt to give Louisiana a 14-point cushion.
The Owls (0-4, 0-1 Sun Belt) started their rally on the ensuing possession, traversing six plays in 2:02 cutting the Cajuns lead to seven points, 34-27, when Graham Wilbert found Nexon Dorvilus on a five-yard touchdown strike.
FAU forced the Cajuns into a three-and-out and received excellent field position when Baer’s punt was returned to the UL 40-yard line. Five plays later, Graham connected with Xavier Stinson from 12 yards to forge a tie with 1:48 remaining.
Blaine Gautier saw to it that the Cajuns wouldn’t have to go to overtime to secure a victory as he completed seven passes on the way into FAU territory for Baer’s winner.
Gautier completed 26-of-33 passes for 329 yards, career-bests for the senior from Paulina, La.
Peoples accumulated 176 yards receiving marking the first 100-yard receiver for the Cajuns this season. His 12 receptions tied Brandon Stokley (11/4/95 vs. La. Tech) for the most by a UL receiver at Cajun Field.
Baer tied a career-high with three field goal makes and notched his first game with two from 40-plus.
On the first Cajuns drive of the game, Gautier hit Peoples for a 31 yard touchdown pass to give UL an early 7-0 lead. The Cajuns caught a break as their six-play 74-yard scoring drive was extended after a roughing the kicker penalty on fourth-and-two at the UL 34.
Later in the first quarter, a Gautier fumble gave FAU great field position at the UL 14. The Owls cut the Ragin’ Cajuns advantage to 7-3 after a 26-yard field goal by Vinny Zaccario.
Two Cajuns fumbles led to 14 points giving Florida Atlantic a 17-7 edge in the first half.
Gautier brought the Cajuns within three points with his second touchdown pass of the evening connecting with Darryl Surgent for a 42-yard TD strike.
UL went back in front 21-17 with 3:36 on the clock in the second quarter on a two-yard leaping touchdown run by Qyendarius Griffin. Griffin had four rushes for 20 yards on the drive.
The Owls answered with a 36-yard field goal by Zaccario to make the score 21-20 at the end of the first half.
The Cajuns defense stepped up their play in the third quarter forcing two punts and an interception giving the offense an average starting field position of the FAU 31 in the third quarter.
After 14 consecutive field goals made to begin his career, Baer missed a pair of kicks in the third quarter, but redeemed himself on a 47-yard attempt to increase the UL advantage to 24-20 at the 6:35 mark in the third quarter.
The Cajuns continue their three-game homestand next Saturday hosting Troy at 6 p.m