How they got here: Louisiana
Published 3:01 pm Wednesday, December 1, 2021
After a season-opening 38-18 loss to then-No. 19/21 Texas, Louisiana has rattled off a program-best 11-game winning streak to match the most wins in program history.
Louisiana has already secured its third-straight 10-win season and will be bound for a bowl game for the fourth-straight year and for the ninth time in the past 11 seasons.
The Ragin’ Cajuns 11-game winning streak includes non-conference wins over Nicholls, 27-24; Ohio, 49-14; and Liberty, 42-14, and an unblemished 8-0 conference record. Louisiana owns six one-possession wins on the year.
Louisiana clinched bowl eligibility with a 28-27 win at Arkansas State, its place in the championship game with a 21-17 win over Georgia State and hosting rights for the Hercules Tires Sun Belt Football Championship Game for the first time in program history with a 35-21 win at Troy.
The Ragin’ Cajuns have outscored their conference opposition 281-146. Senior quarterback Levi Lewis has thrown for 2,437 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season—with senior wide receiver Peter LeBlanc owning a team-high 350 receiving yards and freshman wide receiver Kyren Lacy pacing the unit with five receiving touchdowns.
The stable of underclassmen running backs redshirt sophomore Chris Smith (878 yards, 8 touchdowns), freshman Montrell Johnson (776, 11 touchdowns) and freshman Emani Bailey (446 yards, 5 touchdowns) have joined Lewis (366 yards, 4 touchdowns) in leading the ground attack.
Defensively, redshirt junior linebacker Lorenzo McCaskill accumulated a team-high 73 tackles, seven tackles for loss and five sacks. Redshirt senior linebacker Ferrod Gardner—with 60 tackles, three tackles for loss and an interception; redshirt senior linebacker Chauncey Manac—with 49 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks; redshirt junior defensive lineman Andre Jones—with 55 tackles, seven tackles for loss and five sacks; Percy Butler—with 55 tackles, six tackles for loss and an interception; and redshirt junior defensive lineman Zi’Yon Hill—with 51 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks—were also key contributors.
A win Saturday would give Louisiana its first outright Sun Belt Conference championship and would keep the home team undefeated in the four-year history of the Sun Belt Football Championship Game. The victory would also be the Ragin’ Cajuns third-straight over the Mountaineers and their 12th of the season, establishing a new program record for the most victories in a single season.
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