The rivalry continues for ULM and ULL as the Cajuns visit Malone Stadium

Sports

MONROE, La. – Close calls became the norm in recent meetings between ULM and Louisiana Lafayette, but a rough 2020 season bucked that trend.

Quarterback Levi Lewis had a hand in five touchdowns and ULL rolled up 511 yards in a 70-20 romp over ULM at Malone Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The 50-point margin of victory is the largest in the history of the series.

In this rivalry series, 10 of the last 13 games were determined by nine points or less. However on this cool and overcast day, the Cajuns (8-1, 6-1 Sun Belt) scored 28 unanswered points in the second quarter and led 49-14 by halftime.

“The combination of turning the ball over a couple of times offensively and can’t get them going, and then you can’t get off the field defensively is not a good combination,” ULM coach Matt Viator said.

Playing for the first time in 21 days, the Warhawks fell to 0-9 overall and 0-6 in the Sun Belt Conference. ULM hadn’t played a game since Nov. 7 due to COVID-19 issues.

“We’ve got to do better than that,” Viator said. “We have to have them better prepared than that. We just didn’t tonight.”

Jeremy Hunt completed 14-of-32 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown in his debut as ULM’s starting quarterback. Hunt, who was intercepted once, added a rushing touchdown and had his team within one score at 21-14 after one quarter before the floodgates opened.

“I thought he did some good things tonight against a pretty good defense,” Viator said. “We made a couple of mistakes early in the game. We fumbled the exchange on a handoff and I thought that was the big play early in the game. I thought we had a couple of guys open early and we didn’t hit them. But after a while, I thought he settled in and did some really good things.”

The Cajuns ran for 237 yards and four scores in the first half alone. Lewis threw three touchdown passes and completed 18-of-23 attempts for 147 yards in two-plus quarters before taking a seat with a big lead. Lewis rushed for two scores and 55 yards on five carries.

“Lewis is a really good player,” Viator said.

In abbreviated outings, Trey Ragas rushed for 95 yards and a score on 11 carries and Elijah Mitchell added 93 yards and a touchdown on eight attempts. The Cajuns gained 344 yards on the ground with five rushing touchdowns.

ULL went ahead 7-0 on an 11-yard touchdown by Ragas, capping a three-play 38-yard drive with 11:26 to go in the first.  Dontae Fleming’s 33-yard punt return set up the short march.

Hunt lost a fumble on ULM’s second series and ULL recovered at the Warhawks’ 33. The Cajuns capitalized on their favorable field position again as Lewis scrambled 11 yards seven plays later to put ULL up 14-0 with 6:36 showing in the first.

The Warhawks caught a huge break on a punt that hit ULL’s Chris Smith and was recovered by a hustling Traveion Webster at the 1. Two plays later, Hunt tossed a 1-yard touchdown to tight end Cameron Darling, the first score of his ULM career. Zach Elder’s PAT made it a 14-7 game.

Mitchell broke free for a 44-yard touchdown run as ULL extended its lead to 21-7 with 1:53 left in the opening quarter.

The Warhawks mounted their first successful offensive charge with a four-play, 78-yard drive to pull within 21-14 with seven seconds left in the first. Hunt tossed a 43-yard pass to Jonathan Hodoh before taking a designed scamper for 7 yards and a touchdown.

ULL kept coming in the second quarter as the Cajuns covered 73 yards in seven plays to lead 28-14. Lewis flipped a 1-yard touchdown pass to Neal Johnson at the 11:50 mark.

Lewis scored on a 7-yard run and ULL led 35-14 with 7:11 to go before the half. The Cajuns moved 60 yards in nine plays.

The Cajuns came up with a pick-six off Hunt as Bralen Trahan raced 53 yards for a 42-14 edge at the 5:02 mark.

ULL wasn’t done with its first-half onslaught, scoring on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to Kyren Lacy 17 seconds before halftime. The Cajuns scored the final 28 points of the half to lead 49-14 through two quarters.

Lewis flipped his third touchdown pass on ULL’s opening drive of the second half, finding Johnny Lumpkin from 1 yard out. With the Cajuns leading 56-14, Lewis’ day was done.

Tight end Zach Rasmussen recovered Hunt’s fumble in the end zone as ULM finally scored again with 14:54 left in the game. The Warhawks trailed 56-20 after Elder missed the PAT.

Reserve running back Michael Orphey ripped off a 48-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as ULL’s lead grew to 63-20.

After intercepting freshman quarterback Garrett Kahmann, ULL would score three plays later on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Jaiave Magalei to Kaleb Carter for the final margin.

Up next: ULM is scheduled to visit Arkansas State on Dec. 5.

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