Quarterback Levi Lewis threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns, leading Louisiana to a 27-17 win over Miami of Ohio in the LendingTree Bowl on Monday night in Mobile, Ala.
Lewis added 62 rushing yards, and threw both touchdowns to wide receiver Ja’Marcus Bradley, who finished with 88 yards.
Defensive lineman Ja’Quane Nelson recovered a fumble forced by Ragin’ Cajuns teammate Percy Butler with Miami driving for a potential tying score with 7:25 left in the game.
The turnover led to Stevie Artigue’s second field goal of the game, a 38-yard kick with 4:35 left. Louisiana (11-3) held on for its first bowl win outside of its home state since 1944.
Down 10, the RedHawks made it interesting after a defensive pass interference call negated a Louisiana interception. Freshman quarterback Brett Gabbert hit James Maye for a 63-yard completion to the Louisiana 2-yard line.
But Miami didn’t get any points out of the drive because of a botched shotgun snap on fourth down and goal from the 1. Louisiana took over and the RedHawks ran out of time.
Gabbert completed 22 of 31 passes for 248 yards. Junior Jack Sorenson caught 10 passes for 107 yards for Mid-American Conference champion Miami (8-6).
Louisiana scored 17 unanswered points in the second and third quarters to go ahead 17-3. A 43-yard pass from Lewis to Calif Gossett set up the Ragin’ Cajuns’ first touchdown, Elijah Mitchell’s 2-yard run.
The Gossett catch was Louisiana’s longest play of the game.
The Ragin’ Cajuns’ return to Ladd-Peebles Stadium for the second time this season was victorious again. Louisiana defeated South Alabama in Mobile in November.
Jaylon Bester, the RedHawks’ leading rusher this season, ran for a pair of touchdowns. His first gave Miami of Ohio a 7-0 lead with 10:25 to go in the first quarter.
Bester’s second score cut Louisiana’s lead to 24-17 with 11:35 left in the game. Bester ran for 52 yards for the game, but fumbled the ball late, which was confirmed after an officials’ review.
—Field Level Media