The Louisiana football team finished a magical season with a school-record 11 wins by beating the Miami-Ohio Redhawks in the LendingTree Bowl, the final bowl game of the 2019-20 college football season.
Miami entered the game with an 8-5 record and a MAC conference championship, winning six of their final seven games to end the season, only giving up an average of 20.4 points per game over that stretch.
Their defense stifled the Ragin’ Cajuns offense for most of the first half.
Two punts for Louisiana to open the game after being unable to establish their great run game was eventually answered by a long 10-play touchdown drive by the Redhawks early in the second quarter to score the first points of the game.
The Ragin’ Cajuns would answer with a 10-play scoring drive of their own on the next possession but settled for a field goal in the red zone. The hot Louisiana offense finally put points on the board, but were still down 7-3 late in the second quarter.
Finally, on the last possession of the first half, quarterback Levi Lewis and running back Elijah Mitchell powered Louisiana to a touchdown drive to take a 10-7 lead going into halftime.
Even though the Ragin’ Cajuns offense was off to a slow start, their defense did a great job of forcing punts to keep the game close during that time.
Lewis continued his stout play early in the second half, throwing two touchdowns to senior Ja’Marcus Bradley on the first two drives of the second half and opening up separation. In between those two scoring drives, a field goal by the Redhawks made it a 24-10 game.
The fourth quarter was a scramble to the finish line.
Miami answered the second touchdown by Bradley with a 14-play touchdown drive to get it back down to a one-possession game at 24-17.
A three-and-out by Louisiana gave the ball back to the Redhawks with a chance to tie it, but the Ragin’ Cajuns defense came up big with a fumble around midfield. The offense took advantage and senior kicker Stevie Artigue hit his second field goal of the game to extend the lead to 27-17 with just under five minutes left.
On the next drive for the Redhawks, an interception that would have effectively sealed the game was overturned by a pass interference penalty. In the next play, the Redhawks got the spark they were looking for with a 66-yard pass play, the longest of the game for either side.
With the ball at the Ragin’ Cajuns 2-yard line, two incompletions and a run stuff set up a fourth down at the one-yard line. Instead of kicking the field goal to make it a one-possession game, the Redhawks decided to go for it with just over three minutes left.
In what would be the play of the game, a botched snap flew over the head of the Miami quarterback and the Redhawks running back jumped on it for a nearly 20-yard loss and turnover on downs.
The Ragin’ Cajuns closed out their 27-17 victory and sealed their 11-win season with a bowl victory.
Lewis was the main reason for the success of the offense. He completed 19 of his 26 passing attempts for 246 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a team-high 62 yards on eight rushing attempts.
Louisiana’s trio of running backs was kept relatively quiet as they were most likely the main focus of the Redhawks defense. Mitchell was the leader with 55 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown run.
In Bradley’s last game as a Ragin’ Cajun, he caught a team-high seven passes for 88 yards and the two touchdowns to bring him to 10 on the season, his second consecutive double-digit touchdown season for Louisiana.
Billy Napier and the Ragin’ Cajuns achieved school records and a bowl victory in his second year as head coach. Next season should be just as exciting for Louisiana football fans.