Western Kentucky blew a 10-point lead thanks to a series of turnovers, and Louisiana-Lafayette took control with a punishing ground game on the way to a 38-27 win.
Through the first 24 minutes of this game, Western Kentucky appeared to be in complete control. The Hilltoppers had amassed 287 yards of total offense while holding the Ragin' Cajuns to under 100. But with Western Kentucky on the Louisiana-Lafayette 1-yard line, threatening to push its lead to 17-0, Hilltoppers quarterback Brandon Daughty rolled out and threw an interception into the outstretched arms of Al Riles, who ran it back 99 yards for a touchdown that completely reversed the course of the game.
On Western Kentucky's very next possession, a Mitchell Henry fumble during a fourth down conversion attempt was recovered by Lafayette and returned to the Hilltoppers' 35. That gave the Ragin' Cajuns a short field and, before long, a 13-10 lead just before half. The Hilltoppers showed some moxie by tying it up at 13-13 just before the half on a field goal drive that took every second of the 1:32 remaining in the second quarter.
But it was all Louisiana-Lafayette from there. The Ragin' Cajuns pounded the Hilltoppers with running back Alonzo Harris in the second half, outscoring Western Kentucky 24-7 in the final two quarters while rushing for 254 yards as a team over the course of the game.
Box Score Hero:
Alonzo Harris picked up 115 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 22 carries. With the help of the offensive line, Harris and the Ragin' Cajuns' rushing attack took control of the game in the second half.
While neither team is likely to get consideration for the top 25, this was an important win for Louisiana-Lafayette, which now takes sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt with a 2-0 conference record. Western Kentucky falls to 1-2 in conference play and will need to play well during the second half of the season while catching some breaks to get back in the mix for a conference championship.
But Did They Cover?
Western Kentucky came into the game as a three-point favorite. Since the Hilltoppers lost, they did not cover the spread.
Next Week's Schedule:
Lousiana-Lafayette: 10/22, at Arkansas State
Western Kentucky: 10/26, vs. Troy