Sunday, September 14, 2014

Turnovers Costly As Cajuns Fall To No. 14 Rebels, 56-15

Quarterback Bo Wallace threw for three first-half touchdowns and No. 14 Ole Miss built a 28-6 halftime lead to defeat the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, 56-15, on Saturday before an announced crowd of 60,937 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Wallace completed 23 of 28 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns as Ole Miss (3-0) piled up 554 yards of total offense and capitalized off four Louisiana turnovers. Vince Sanders caught eight passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns for Ole Miss while Jaylen Walton rushed for 89 yards on seven carries.

Louisiana (1-2) recorded 322 of total offense, including 193 yards on the ground. Terrance Broadway, who became the fourth player in school history to record 7,000 yards of total offense in his career, completed 15 of 30 passes for 129 yards for the Cajuns while adding 59 yards on the ground in 10 carries. Elijah McGuire gained 66 yards on 10 carries to lead Louisiana while Alonzo Harris added 62 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown.

"I told our team before the game that the team that wins the turnover battle will win the football game," Louisiana head coach Mark Hudspeth said. "For us to keep it close, we were going to have to be perfect with the turnovers and we were going to have to get some (on defense). But when you turn it over four times on the road in the SEC against a top-15 team, there is no hope of winning a football game. We have to do a much better job. That has been our Achilles' heel so far this season and until we figure it out, it's going to be tough.

"I will say this ... our kids responded well from last week with the part of playing hard. I thought they battled all the way until the end. You could definitely see that it mattered to them. It was a matter that we didn't execute. We've got to take care of the football. They (Ole Miss) make a great one-handed catch in the end zone for a touchdown ... we drop a pass. They took care of the ball and we didn't."

After both teams traded punts to open the game, Ole Miss took a 7-0 lead when I'Tavius Mathers scored on a 56-yard touchdown run to cap a three-play, 73-yard drive with 10:00 remaining.

Louisiana took over on the ensuing drive at its own 16 and McGuire raced 39 yards on the first play for a first down to the Ole Miss 40. A 9-yard run by Broadway on second-and-6 moved the ball to the Ole Miss 27 and Broadway added a second 9-yard scramble that gave Louisiana a first down at the Ole Miss 12. But on the next play, Harris was stripped of the ball by Trae Elston and the Rebels took over at their own 6.

The Rebels drove 94 yards in seven plays on their next drive with Wallace hitting a wide open Walton for a 40-yard TD with 3:45 remaining for a 14-0 lead.

Wallace, who completed his first 14 passes of the game, kept an Ole Miss drive alive when he found Sanders for a 7-yard gain on third-and-6 to the UL 11. Wallace then converted another third-down opportunity for Ole Miss when hit Sanders for a 13-yard scoring pass for a 21-0 lead with 12:37 left in the second quarter.

Wallace and Sanders combined on a 24-yard scoring pass for a 28-0 lead in the second quarter before the Cajuns would get on the board.

Broadway connected with Al Riles on an 18-yard pass to the Ole Miss 34 on third-and-9. Louisiana got as close as the Rebel 15 when Larry Pettis caught a 5-yard pass on third-and-8 and Hunter Stover booted a 32-yard field goal with 1:55 remaining.

The Cajuns defense would get into the act as Sean Thomas picked off a Wallace pass and returned it 28 yards to the Ole Miss 39. After a late hit out-of-bounds on the Rebels moved the ball to the 24, the Cajuns drove to the 4 before Senquez Golden broke up a third-down pass. Stover added a 20-yard field goal with 9 seconds remaining to close the gap to 28-6 at halftime.

Ole Miss scored three touchdowns in less than three minutes in the third quarter as Wallace hit Cody Core for a 13-yard scoring pass, Golden returned an interception 59 yards for a score and Walton scored on a 71-yard run.

Louisiana reached the end zone when Harris capped a 15-play, 75-yard drive with an 8-yard TD with 1:04 remaining in the third quarter. Louisiana added a safety in the fourth quarter – the first for the Cajuns since 2011 – when Justin Hamilton tackled Eugene Brazley for a 5-yard loss with 2:25 remaining.

Trae Johnson recorded a season-high 11 tackles to lead Louisiana with Thomas and Kevin Fouquier adding seven each. Daniel Cadona averaged 51.1 yards on seven punts with six going 50 yards or better, including a 61-yard boot in the fourth quarter.

Louisiana will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 27, when it visits Mountain West Conference opponent Boise State in a 9:30 p.m. CT kickoff at Bronco Stadium.

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