Louisiana 31, UTSA 24. The 10 ten things you need to know about the Louisiana win over UTSA in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl.
Louisiana 31, UTSA 24: SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
10. The SERVPRO First Responder Bowl was one the best of the last bowl season with a thrilling 23-20 WKU win over Western Michigan, and considering how miserable the start to the 2020 bowl season has been, a 31-24 game with a late score seems like the 2006 Vince Young Texas over USC Rose Bowl. Considering the bowl was canceled due to lightning in 2018 – Boise State vs. Boston College – this thing has been solid.
9. Neither team got into the backfield with any sort of consistency, but UTSA was popping. Safety Rashad Wisdom led all defenders with a game-high 13 tackles with a whole slew of open field stops. The Roadrunners got powered on, but they swarmed to the ball and held up well under the circumstances.
8. The 411 yards of total offense by Louisiana were good enough, but coming off the 227-yard day against Appalachian State to end the regular season, it was a rocky finish for the attack. It was the fourth-lowest offensive output of the season – the Ragin’ Cajuns were outgained by 20 yards.
7. Sincere McCormick was the focus of the Louisiana defense, and it didn’t matter. The UTSA star running back only had a few good runs, but powered his way to 122 yards on a tough 23 carries.
6. It would’ve been nice to have had a sharper passing game out of Levi Lewis – he hit 12-of-22 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns – but he didn’t make any big mistakes. Trey Ragas powered for 98 yards and the game-winning score, but there was a key fumble – more on that in a moment. Elijah Mitchell ran for 127 yards and a score and led the team with two catches for 45 yards.
— Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns® Football (@RaginCajunsFB) December 27, 2020
5. Grind, grind, grind, grind, grind. Louisiana wasn’t flashy, and it didn’t have a whole lot of big plays, but it was able to methodically come up with enough good drives to take over the game late against a team missing the depth to hold up. They had the ball for over five minutes than the Roadrunners, and it seemed like it was over because …
4. UTSA wasn’t a big passing team, but it had its moments. There were a few 300-yard games, and it’s not that it couldn’t throw, but it preferred to roll on the ground. Frank Harris got the team back in the game in the second half with two touchdown passes – he threw for 208 yards with 91 rushing yards and a score – and he pulled the team back because …
3. This was about to be a blowout. Louisiana was up 24-7 in the third quarter and driving, but Trey Ragas fumbled off a perfect helmet-on-ball pop, UTSA recovered, and then it was Game On. UTSA’s offense struggled, but it went on two good scoring drives, tied it at 24 on a field goal, and showed the team showed the heart to hang around because …
2. The Roadrunners were depleted. They didn’t have their head coach, they were missing a slew of players, and the depth wasn’t there. They hung around for a full 60 minutes to close out the season with as tough bowl loss in a 7-5 season. It was a brilliant campaign for Jeff Traylor, whose team played its heart out through all of the adversity. It was a loss, but it was the type of performance that showed what kind of program this is going to be going forward.
1. Louisiana got through the season with only the one loss to Coastal Carolina. It wasn’t always smooth, and it wasn’t dominant, but it had the 31-14 win over Iowa State to start the season, the bowl win over UTSA to end it, and technically, a Sun Belt co-championship on the way to a ten-win run. The veteran team came up with a whale of a season.