Back Hot Read: Louisiana Honors Looney, Gets Big Win

Hot Read: Louisiana Honors Looney, Gets Big Win

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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The Ragin' Cajuns top UAB 24-20 on a night where they honored the late D.J. Looney.

1. What a win for Louisiana, overcoming a 10-point deficit late in the third quarter to beat a good UAB team. Prior to the contest ever kicking off, the game was a special one as the Ragin' Cajuns honored their late beloved assistant coach D.J. Looney, who passed away on August 1st at the age of 31, by every player wearing his last name on the back of their jersey. It was an emotional and meaningful testament to a man who clearly meant so much to the program and those within it. The gesture was a beautiful and powerful one as Louisiana made it a point to recognize Coach Looney and all that he represented. After the game, the entire team met with Coach Looney's family at midfield in a tribute to his legacy.

2. Special teams played a huge role for the Ragin' Cajuns. Chris Smith changed the momentum of the entire evening with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with just 19 seconds left in the first half. Late in the clash, with Louisiana holding a four point lead, Rhys Burns had one of the best and most important punts of this college football season, a 74-yarder that pinned UAB back inside its own 10-yard line for the last drive of the game.  Bralen Trahan intercepted the Blazers three plays later to secure the win. In a showdown where the two teams had the same number of first downs and were separated by just one total yard, special teams was arguably the difference.

3. Give a lot of credit to the Louisiana defense. The Ragin' Cajuns held UAB to just seven points in the second half. Overall, Louisiana allowed just 285 total yards. Impressively, the Ragin' Cajuns limited the Blazers to merely 4.8 yards per pass. Bralen Trahan, who had the game-sealing pick, and Cameron Soloman both had interceptions.

4. Quarterback Levi Lewis was clutch late. Over the game's final 15:20, he threw two touchdown passes, one to Jalen Williams and another to Pearse Migl. Lewis' first score brought the Ragin' Cajuns within three points, while his second proved to be the game-winner.

5. At 3-1 with wins over nationally-ranked Iowa State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State and UAB, all bowl teams from a year ago, and only a loss to a ranked Coastal Carolina team on the last play of the game, Louisiana deserves to be back in the national polls. The victory over the Blazers ended UAB's 21-game home winning streak.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports