Press Release from Arkansas State Athletics
LAFAYETTE, La. (11/7/20) – The Arkansas State football team put together a late fourth-quarter touchdown drive and converted a two-point conversion to pull into a tie with Louisiana, but the Ragin' Cajuns scored the game-winning touchdown with 1:13 remaining to escape the Sun Belt Conference West Division matchup with a 27-20 win at Cajun Field.
True freshman running back Lincoln Pare posted his first career 100-yard rushing game to lead Arkansas State’s (3-5, 1-4) offense that accounted for 423 yards total offense, while Louisiana (6-1, 4-1) finished with 440 yards.
A-State Junior kicker Blake Grupe posted the game’s initial six points, connecting on a pair of first-half field goals that accounted for the only scoring in the first half. The Red Wolves' held the ball for 11:30 of the contest’s first 15 minutes, which was its largest time of possession for any quarter this season.
The Red Wolves limited Louisiana to just 108 yards total offense in the first half while posting its first shutout for an entire half since holding Texas State scoreless in the second half of the two team’s meeting last season.
However, Louisiana found the end zone on its first possession of the second half on a 33-yard touchdown run by quarterback Levi Lewis to take a 7-6 lead just 1:22 into the third quarter. The Ragin' Cajuns added to their lead with 5:56 left in the third on 52-yard pass from Lewis to Dontae Fleming, bringing the score to 14-6.
The Red Wolves responded with a six-play, 51-yard touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter, pulling within 14-12 with 10:37 remaining. Senior running back Jamal Jones capped the drive with a four-yard run, but A-State was unable to even the score on a failed two-point conversion pass.
Louisiana pushed its lead back to eight points, 20-12, with a pair of field goal before the Red Wolves would pull even again with 2:24 left in the fourth. Layne Hatcher found senior wideout Brandon Bowling on a 47-yard pass, and the sophomore quarterback then hit senior receiver Jonathan Adams Jr. on a two-point conversion pass to tie the game at 20-20.
Louisiana’s ensuing possession proved to be the difference, though, as Elijah Mitchell put the Ragin' Cajuns ahead for good on a two-yard touchdown run with 1:13 to play. The Red Wolves were able to move the ball to midfield on its final possession, but the drive stalled with three consecutive incomplete passes for an interception by Mekhi Garner sealed the outcome.
Pare led A-State’s rushing attack with 121 yards on a career-high 22 carries, while junior quarterback Logan Bonner had a team-high 127 passing yards. Adams hauled in eight receptions for 95 yards to lead all A-State receivers.
Defensively, A-State was led by defensive end TW Ayers, who enjoyed a career-best night with 10 tackles and a sack. Sophomore cornerback Samy Johnson was responsible for the Red Wolves' only turnover gained, registering his second interception of the season.
A-State returns to action Saturday, Nov. 14, at Centennial Bank Stadium, hosting ULM at 11 a.m.