LAFAYETTE – A big night on both sides of the ball was just what the doctor ordered for Louisiana, which defeated Liberty, 35-14, on Saturday night in the 15th edition of the Herbert Heymann Classic at Cajun Field.
Louisiana’s (1-1) offense totaled 593 yards, 407 of which came on the ground, while its defense held Liberty scoreless in the second half after allowing just two touchdowns in the opening two periods.
The Ragin’ Cajuns’ 407 rushing yards were the most by the squad since they posted 419 yards against Arkansas State on Nov. 21, 2014. The total was in large part due to the efforts of Trey Ragas and Raymond Calais, who tallied 137 yards and 115 yards, respectively. The duo has now gone over 100 yards in the same game two times, while their effort marked the 26th time in program history that a pair backs each went over the century mark in the same contest.
On the receiving end, Ja’Marcus Bradley extended his reception streak to 29 games with a monster performance, hauling in six passes for 110 yards and two scores. His big night was highlighted by a career-best, 58-yard touchdown reception early in the third quarter.
Levi Lewis finished the evening 15-for-23 through the air for 179 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 25 yards on six carries and a score on the ground. His 19-yard rushing touchdown was the longest of his career.
Defensively, Louisiana gave up 14 points in the first half before holding Liberty scoreless in the final 30 minutes and limiting them to just 115 yards in that stretch. Michael Jacquet III led the team with five total tackles and an interception, while Chauncey Manac recorded two sacks.
Liberty (0-2) wasted no time getting its offense going, wrapping up its opening possession with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Stephen Calvert to D.J. Stubbs to go ahead early, 7-0. Lewis provided an answer in the final minute of the first quarter, scampering into the end zone from 19 yards out to knot things up at 7-7.
After the Flames scored another touchdown on a 66-yard run from Frankie Hickson with 9:18 to play in the first half, Ragas busted out a career-best, 75-yard touchdown run 26 seconds later to tie the game at 14 points apiece.
Bradley gave the Ragin’ Cajuns their first lead of the night with 21 seconds remaining in the second quarter after his two-yard reception from Lewis capped off an eight-play, 84-yard drive and put the home team ahead, 21-14, heading into halftime.
Louisiana scored two times in the third quarter when Bradley hauled in a 58-yard pass at the 12:37 mark and Elijah Mitchell scored from a yard out with 4:50 on the clock to extend the advantage to 35-14.
Both defenses held strong in the final period, allowing a combined 119 yards and no points to see the clock run out to secure the Ragin’ Cajun victory.
Louisiana returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 14, when it faces Texas Southern at Cajun Field on Family Weekend. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. on ESPN3.