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Arkansas State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette final score: 3 things we learned from Cajuns' 55-40 win

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The Ragin' Cajuns held off the Red Wolves Tuesday night.

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Fans expect a lot from Tuesday night Fun Belt action, and the Louisiana-Lafayette-Arkansas State matchup didn't disappoint. The Ragin' Cajuns outlasted the Red Wolves, 55-40, taking control of the Sun Belt race in the process. Arkansas State's rush defense was the conference's best going into the game, but the Cajuns gashed the Red Wolves all night long. The end result was 521 yards of offense and a whopping 419 on the ground for Lafayette. That's more than the Red Wolves gave up in their previous three games combined.

The Cajuns may have won the overall rushing war, but Arkansas State running back Michael Gordon provided the highlight of the night:

Arkansas State TD

Third-and-1, and it looks like a simple 9-yard gain. But Gordon was laying on top of bodies, not the turf, and he was the only one who realized it. Replays clearly showed that the touchdown was the correct call, and it sparked a bit of a comeback from a 34-9 hole.

But the wild plays weren't all good for Arkansas State:

That's a fake punt from the 7-yard line. It didn't work, and it resulted in a quick Lafayette touchdown. The Red Wolves scored a couple of late touchdowns, but they were never able to recover from this blunder.

The totals: 95 points, 1,116 yards of offense, four hours and 10 minutes. Fun Belt, indeed.

Three things we learned

1. Louisiana-Lafayette is the Sun Belt co-favorite again

Both teams entered the game unbeaten in conference play, and now Louisiana-Lafayette (4-3, 3-0) has a big advantage over Arkansas State (4-3, 2-1). The Ragin' Cajuns, the preseason favorites who had a rough September, hold a one-game lead over the Red Wolves in the standings, and the head-to-head tiebreaker essentially makes it a two-game cushion. They still have tough games against South Alabama and Louisiana-Monroe, but the Cajuns should be favored in both.

It's possible that the only thing standing between Lafayette and an outright conference title is the schedule. The Cajuns don't play Georgia Southern this season, and the Eagles are already 4-0 in Sun Belt action. There's a real possibility that both teams finish the conference slate 8-0.

2. Blake Anderson can be too tricky for his own good

Arkansas State's head coach gained some notoriety for the bizarre fake punt he called earlier this year against Miami -- you know, the one that featured a dead guy -- and he didn't hold back on the gadget plays Tuesday night. Among the silliness, Arkansas State ran a reverse on a kickoff, a wide receiver pass, a fumblerooski and that fake punt from its own 7-yard line. It was nothing if not exciting.

The problem is that most of the tricky stuff didn't work. The fake punt was especially bad. After falling into a big hole early, Arkansas State clawed its way back into the game and actually had some momentum. The Red Wolves were down by just 11 early in the third quarter; and there was plenty of time to come back. Instead, the Cajuns scored a quick touchdown and retook control of the game. Anderson likes to keep opponents guessing, but sometimes it's better to keep it simple.

3. Elijah McGuire is a home run hitter

The Louisiana-Lafayette running back finished the game with 265 rushing yards on 19 carries -- that's 13.9 yards per rush -- and he scored four touchdowns. He entered the game with just 328 yards and three touchdowns through six games, but it seems like a safe bet that McGuire will receive more carries going forward.

McGuire wasn't the only successful back for the Cajuns. Alonzo Harris carried 27 times for 107 yards and four TDs of his own. All in all, it was a great rushing night against a defense that, before Tuesday, was allowing 2.4 yards per carry in conference games.