MOBILE,, AL -- Junior quarterback Levi Lewis used both his arm and legs to send Louisiana past the Miami RedHawks 27-17 Monday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
UL's victory gave the Ragin Cajuns their first 11-win season and first bowl win since 2014. It was also . . .
Miami, which dropped to 8-6 lead held Louisiana's high-powered offense in check through the first quarter and grabbed a 7-0 on Jaylon Bester's 5-yard run.
The Ragin' Cajuns, however, began to draw blood late in the second period. Stevie Artigue's 33-yard field goal at 6:32 put them on the board and Elijah Mitchell bulled his way in from two yard out at 1:05 to give Louisiana a 10-3 halftime lead.
Levi's ability to escape pressure time and again kept plays alive, and the Ragin' Cajuns opened third quarter play with a nine-play, 70-yard scoring drive. Lewis found Ja'Marcus Bradley with a nine-yard aerial to cap the trip.
Miami got back three on a 39-yard Sam Sloman field goal later in the period, but Lewis and Bradley again combined on a touchdown with 2:26 left in the period. That gave UL a 24-10 advantage.
The RedHawks needed points and responded with their longest drive of the night. Bester's 1-yard carry at 11:35 closed MU's deficit to 24-17.
After forcing a Louisiana punt, Miami was again moving the ball when the Ragin Cajuns forced a fumble near mid-field. First ruled down by contact, the call was reversed after replay. Six plays later, Louisiana cashed in with a 27-yard field goal, making it a two-possession lead at 27-17.
Miami had a golden opportunity to pull within three on the following possession. After a Louisiana interception was wiped out by defensive pass interference, freshman QB Brett Gabbert found James Maye streaking down the middle. Maye covered 63 of the remaining 65 yards. However, he was unable to shake free of a jersey tackle that saved a touchdown.
After two incompletions, from the two-yard line and a 1-yard Bester run, Miami faced fourth-and-goal inside the one. When a snap sailed past Gabbert, for a 23-yard loss, Louisiana took over and held on for the win.
The Ragin' Cajuns came into Monday's game averaging 38.8 ppg and 501 yards of offense. They registered 27 points and 401 yards against MU.
Miami totaled 351 yards of offense, with 248 coming through the air as Gabbert completed 22-of-31 passes. Jack Sorenson led MU receivers with 10 catches for 107 yards.
Miami registered 103 yards rushing, with Tyre Shelton gaining 59 yards on six carries to lead the way.
Lewis, who completed 19-of-26 passes, led UL rushers with 62 yards on eight carries. Overall, the Ragin' Cajuns totaled 155 yards (4.6 ypc) on the ground.