Buckley's Breakdown: UL 66, New Mexico State 38
Tim Buckley's breakdown of UL's win over New Mexico State ...
Andre Nunez threw for five touchdowns, tying Jake Delhomme’s 1996 school record, and Elijah Mitchell ran for three TDs as UL beat New Mexico State 66-38 on Homecoming.
Nunez threw scoring passes to Ja’Marcus Bradley, Trey Ragas, Ryheem Malone and two to Jarrod “Bam” Jackson.
Mitchell scored on runs of 31, 36 and 9 yards, and Earnest Patterson added a 79-yard trick-play TD as UL set school records for first downs with 37 and total offense yards (759).
Kyle Pfau added a 30-yard field goal and was perfect on PATs for UL.
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UL backup quarterback Levi Lewis threw a short-pitch pass to Jackson, who then handed off to Patterson for a double-reverse on a 79-yard TD to help make it 28-14 late in the first quarter.
Patterson got credit for the TD and the receiving yards, but not the catch, and Lewis got credit for the passing yards and the TD, while the reception but no yards went to Jackson in quirky statistical scoring.
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With UL up 21-14, the Cajuns got the Patterson TD followed by Mitchell’s 31-yard TD run early in the second quarter to take a two-touchdown lead. UL’s advantage never slipped below 14 after that, and the Cajuns led 45-21 at halftime, though NMSU did keep things interesting by winning the third quarter 10-7 and making 52-38 early in the fourth.
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BY THE NUMBERS
Jackson’s first-quarter TD catch was his first of the season and, at 30 yards, the longest of his career. … Nunez’s 315 passing yards marked the 34th 300-yard passing game by a Cajun quarterback; the last was Jordan Davis' 309 at Tulsa last year. … Temperature at kickoff was 86 degrees with wind gusts forecast for up to 19 miles per hour. … Attendance was announced at 18,131.
Corey Turner’s fourth-quarter interception was the second of his Cajun career. … Freshman Andre Riley recovered a key fumble forced by Chaiziere Malbrue for UL. … UL’s captains were Nunez, linebacker Jacques Boudreaux, safety Duece Wallace and defensive lineman Zi’Yon Hill.
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Hill started for UL after missing two straight games with a shoulder injury sustained in a loss to Coastal Carolina, and inside linebacker Lorenzo McCaskill played for the first time after four straight games with an ankle injury. “It’s good to get those two guys back,” UL coach Billy Napier said. “They’re two of our better players.” McCaskill, Wallace, Boudreaux and Turner led UL with four tackles each. ... Jack linebacker Chauncey Manac did not play due to an undisclosed injury. Ferrod Gardner started instead. Manac went into the day as UL's third-leading tackler. “Chauncey not being out there affects the game,” Napier said. “He’s one of our more-talented defensive players, and really had come on as of late.” Napier said Manac got hurt on the final series of practice Wednesday, but he didn't disclose the injury because he was not certain of its extent when asked. ... Receiver Keenan Barnes (knee) missed a second straight game.
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A representative from the Sun Belt Conference-affiliated Cure Bowl in Orlando was on hand for Saturday’s game.
UL: 3-3 overall. New Mexico State: 2-5.
UL is at Appalachian State for a Sun Belt Conference game at 2:30 p.m. (central) Saturday. New Mexico State is at home against Georgia Southern on Saturday.
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