LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Nate Snyder hit a 53-yard field goal on the game’s final play Saturday, and No. 19 Louisiana-Lafayette escaped with a 20-18 victory over Georgia Southern.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (3-0, 2-0 Sun Belt) looked on the way to their first loss when Georgia Southern quarterback Shai Werts hit Khaleb Hood with a 28-yard touchdown pass and Dalton Anderson with a 2-point conversion with 54 seconds left to give the Eagles (1-1, 0-1) an 18-17 lead.
ULL quarterback Levi Lewis, who threw for 290 yards, completed three passes for 47 yards in the final drive, including an 18-yarder to running back Trey Ragas to the Eagle 36. From there, Snyder — who was 2-for-6 on the season including three misses inside 35 yards — split the uprights to give the Cajuns their first 3-0 start since 1988.
Lewis had connected with Errol Rogers on a 27-yard touchdown pass with 10:34 left to give ULL a 17-10 lead after Snyder’s 25-yard field goal late in the third period tied the game.
Werts threw for a career-high 255 yards, completing his final seven passes , and led a 61-yard drive in the final two minutes that he ended with his scoring pass to Hood. After a time out, Werts evaded one tackler before hitting Anderson for the two-point conversion.
After both teams had red-zone possessions that netted no points in the first quarter, Werts set up the Eagles’ first score with a 61-yard pass to Wesley Kennedy III that set up J. D. King’s two-yard scoring run on the first play of the second period. The Cajuns came back with an 83-yard drive and Ragas scored from 10 yards out to make it 7-7 at halftime.
Georgia Southern: The Eagles’ option attack took a back seat Saturday to Werts, whose previous career high was 190 yards passing. He had four completions of 30 or more yards.
Louisiana-Lafayette: The Ragin’ Cajuns rallied for a third straight game after trailing Iowa State at halftime and going into overtime before downing Georgia State last weekend. Lewis has now thrown for 569 yards in ULL’s last two games.
ULL will likely drop in the rankings even with the victory, since the Big Ten teams will start being ranked in next week’s AP poll.
Georgia Southern returns to the state of Louisiana next Saturday to face Louisiana-Monroe. ULL is open next Saturday and will travel to meet Appalachian State in a Wednesday, Oct. 7, game that matches the preseason Sun Belt favorites in the West and East Divisions.