UL Lafayette vs. Arkansas State final score: Ragin' Cajuns win, 23-7, seize control of Sun Belt

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Louisiana-Lafayette dominated Arkansas State in a game that was not nearly as close as the final score indicated.

Louisiana-Lafayette held Arkansas State's offense to just 168 total yards on its way to a 23-7 win that puts the Ragin' Cajuns firmly in the driver's seat in the Sun Belt Conference. The Cajuns move to 3-0 in conference play and ensure that they will finish the week in first place.

Louisiana-Lafayette jumped out to an early 17-0 on a pair of Alonzo Harris touchdown runs in the first half. On the Ragin' Cajuns' first touchdown drive, Harris plowed through the Red Wolves' defensive line to keep the drive alive on fourth-and-1 and finished it off when he plunged into to the end zone from 3 yards out in similarly bruising fashion. Harris didn't post eye-popping stats (just 3.6 yards per carry) but seemed to come up with critical first downs in short yardage situations every time Louisiana-Lafayette needed them.

Stephen Brauchle's 30-yard field goal pushed the Ragin' Cajuns' lead to 23-7 in the third quarter, but Louisiana-Lafayette struggled to deliver the death blow until the Red Wolves inflicted it upon themselves. Arkansas State head coach Bryan Harsin made a curious decision when he elected to punt down 16 points with just under eight minutes left in the game. From there, the Ragin' Cajuns kept pounding the Red Wolves with their rushing attack and ran out the clock to triple zeros.

Box Score Hero: Two Cajuns backs went over 100 yards against the Red Wolves, with Alonzo Harris acting as the thunder and Elijah McGuire as the lighting in Louisiana-Lafayette's one-two punch. Harris tallied 105 yards and two touchdowns, and McGuire amassed 110 yards on just 10 carries for a stunning 11 yards per carry average.

Rankings Ramifications: As a 5-2 team in the Sun Belt, the Ragin' Cajuns will have to do a good deal more to earn consideration for the top 25. However, Louisiana-Lafayette does slide into first place with an undefeated conference record. Arkansas State falls to 1-1 in conference and finds itself in a three-way tie for third place. The Red Wolves could have seized sole possession of first place with a win against the Ragin' Cajuns.

But Did They Cover? This game was listed as anywhere from a one- to three-point spread in favor of Louisiana-Lafayette. Either way, the Ragin' Cajuns covered handily.

Next Week's Schedule: Louisiana-Lafayette will get a few days of extra rest as they return home to play their first Saturday game in three weeks against the New Mexico State Aggies. Arkansas State will travel to Mobile to play the South Alabama Jaguars.

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