Louisiana opened the 2023 season by hosting in-state opponent Northwestern State at Cajun Field. After a 20-minute weather delay, Louisiana was able to make some big plays offensively while controlling the Demons on defense and ran away with a 38-13 victory to start the season on the good side of the win column.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Louisiana opened the contest on defense and was able to force a quick stop on Northwestern State’s first drive. On the second play of the game, Dre’Lyn Washington caught the edge and took off on a 62-yard touchdown run to put the Cajuns on the board 7-0 early.
Seven minutes later, the Demons went on the board with a 37-yard field goal from Brett Money to make it 7-3. Louisiana had two turnovers in the first quarter, with one coming on a muffed punt and the other on a carry from Zylan Perry. However, the Cajuns’ defense was able to stand up on both occasions and keep the Demons off the board.
In the second quarter, Louisiana took advantage of a poor punt and had a four-play, 41-yard drive capped off by a 24-yard touchdown run from Ben Wooldridge to extend the Cajun lead to 14-3.
Louisiana’s defense came up big once again, forcing a three-and-out to get the ball back. Then, a beautiful double move from Wooldridge left Robert Williams wide open in the endzone for the 32-yard touchdown. For Williams, it was his first career touchdown at Louisiana and gave the Cajuns a 21-3 lead.
After both teams swapped three and outs, Louisiana committed its third turnover of the night when Wooldridge was hit as he let go of the football and was intercepted by the Demons. On the next possession, Northwestern State was able to move the ball against the Cajuns’ defense, but Louisiana forced them into a 41-yard field goal from Money yet again to make it 21-6 at the halftime break.
Five minutes into the third quarter, Louisiana had the ball at midfield when Wooldridge had an open Peter Leblanc and connected for a 50-yard strike to make it 28-6 in favor of the Cajuns.
Later in the half, Louisiana opened the fourth quarter with a 33-yard Kenneth Almendares field goal to make it 31-6 in the final quarter. However, the Cajuns weren’t done. Wooldridge launched his third passing touchdown of the night, this time to a wide-open Tavion Smith from 21 yards away, which made the lead a 32-point advantage at 38-6.
Northwestern State did answer with a 47-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Vander Waal to Scooter Adams to close the cap to 38-13 with two minutes remaining in the contest.
Louisiana was able to run out the clock in the final two minutes and seal their season-opening victory over Northwestern State with a 38-13 final score.
BIG NUMBER: 5
Louisiana was able to get to Tyler Vander Waal five different times tonight and put on a nice display of quarterback pressures and sacks in their season opener.
BIG NUMBER 2: 11
Northwestern State tied a school record in the contest tonight as Louisiana forced them to punt 11 times in the game.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jordan Lawson
The redshirt sophomore from Brandon, Mississippi had six tackles on the night, two tackles for loss, and two sacks to be a driving factor behind Louisiana’s success defensively.
UP NEXT: Louisiana will be on the road next week to open their Sun Belt slate against Old Dominion. Kickoff is set for 5:00 p.m. CT.