LAFAYETTE, La. — UL Lafayette scored the go-ahead touchdown with 3:34 left and then held on for a 34-31 victory over Georgia State in a back-and-forth Sun Belt Conference game Saturday night at Cajun Field.
Georgia State (1-4, 0-2 Sun Belt) took a 31-28 lead with 6:35 to play on Marcus Caffey’s 2-yard touchdown run, his third score of the day, but the Ragin’ Cajuns (2-3, 1-0 Sun Belt) answered on Terrance Broadway’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Robinson. One play earlier, the Panthers had a chance to sack Broadway on third down at the GSU 43, but the 6-2, 211-pounder shook off the tackle and flung the ball to sideline, where Brooks Haack made a diving catch that was ruled just in bounds.
But UL Lafayette missed the extra point, leaving Georgia State down 34-31 with 3:34 to play. The Panthers took over on the 25, and after Caffey gained eight yards on first down, two crucial penalties nullified gains, including a 30-yard pass to LynQuez Blair at the ULL 42. On 4th-and-6, Nick Arbuckle hit Robert Davis across the middle but he was tackled short of the first down with a minute left.
“We’re right there, and we keep getting bit by lack of execution at crucial times. We haven’t figured out how to win, and that’s my job to get these kids to do that,” head coach Trent Miles said. “Hats off to Louisiana Lafayette. When they had to stop us at the end, they did. Our kids are playing hard, they’re fighting their tails off, and it’s my job to make sure they learn how to win.”
Playing his first game at running back after moving to offense this week, Caffey carried the ball a GSU-record 27 times for 90 yards and scored three touchdowns on runs of 12, one and two yards. Duvall Smith added a 1-yard scoring run for the Panthers.
Arbuckle completed 19 of 27 passes for 276 yards with no interceptions. Davis finished with six catches for 63 yards, while Donovan Harden had four receptions for 91 yards, and Joel Ruiz added catches four for 75 yards.
The game featured seven lead changes. UL Lafayette jumped to a 7-0 lead on its opening possession on a 54-yard touchdown run by Elijah McGuire. Georgia State countered with two long touchdown drives, a 91-yard march capped by Smith’s 1-yard run, and then a 96-yard drive that resulted in a Caffey’s 12-yard run that gave the Panthers a 14-7 lead with five minutes left in the first half.
After ULL tied the game on Broadway’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Robinson, Wil Lutz booted a 48-yard field goal on the final play of the first half sent the Panthers into the locker room with a 17-14 advantage.
The Ragin’ Cajuns took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove 75 yards for Alonzo Harris’ 1-yard touchdown run and a 21-17 lead.
Arbuckle connected with Harden for a 62-yard gain down to the 1-yard line, and then Caffey took it in for his second score of the day as Georgia State regained the lead at 24-21 with two minutes left in the third quarter.
After UL Lafayette answered with another 1-yard touchdown run by Harris to lead 28-24 with 11 minutes to play, Arbuckle led the Panthers on a 10-play, 75-yard drive. Caffey again found the end zone from two yards out, and Georgia State led 31-28 with 6:35 to play.
NOTING THE PANTHERS:
- Today’s game captains for Georgia State: Robert Davis, Joel Ruiz, Joseph Peterson.
- Wil Lutz’s 48-yard field goal on the final play of the first half was his longest of the season and is No. 16 of his career, giving him sole possession of the Georgia State career record. Iain Vance had 15 field goals, all in 2010.
- Lutz also executed a fake punt with a 26-yard run on 4th-and 11 from the 19-yard line, keeping alive the Panthers’ first touchdown drive.
- The Panthers scored on touchdown drives of 91, 96, 88 yards and 75 yards.
- Ronnie Bell made his first start of the season at quarterback and guided the Panthers into ULL territory on their first series. Nick Arbuckle did not start due to a violation of team’s academic attendance policy.
- Nick Arbuckle’s two longest completions of the year are to Donovan Harden: 62 yards today and 68 yards vs. New Mexico State.
- Neither team committed a turnover in the game.