LAFAYETTE, La. – Nate Snyder booted a 53-yard field goal as the final gun sounded to lift No. 19 Louisiana to a 20-18 Sun Belt football win over Georgia Southern Saturday afternoon at Cajun Field.
Georgia Southern (1-1, 0-1) took the lead with 54 seconds left when Shai Werts connected with Khaleb Hood for a 28-yard touchdown pass that made the score 17-16. The Eagles elected to go for two, and Werts avoided a sack, scrambled around and threw to a diving Darion Anderson in the end zone for an 18-17 advantage.
Levi Lewis completed three passes for 49 yards as Louisiana (3-0, 2-0) moved the ball down to the Georgia Southern 36-yard line with two seconds to go. It was one of two field goals on the day for Snyder, who came into the game 1-for-4 on this season and missed a 34-yarder in the second quarter.
Werts completed 11 of 18 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown, while Lewis was 18 of 32 for 290 and a score.
Eagles of the Game: J.D. King rushed 24 times for 100 yards and a touchdown, and Wesley Kennedy III caught two balls for 105 yards. Java’n Singletary and Rashad Byrd led the Eagles with eight tackles each.
Key Moments: With the Eagles trailing 17-10 late in the fourth, Beau Johnson caught a pass from Werts, avoided some tackles, tip-toed down the sideline but fumbled as he tried to extend the ball over the goal line. It wound up being a 57-yard gain, a fumble out of the end zone and a touchback, giving Louisiana the ball with 2:48 to go.
The Eagle defense gave up just two yards on the first two downs of Louisiana’s ensuing possession, and on 3rd-and-8, Lewis missed on a long pass try, giving Georgia Southern the ball back at its own 39-yard line with 1:34 remaining. Werts completed three passes and ran for 10-yards before hitting Hood for the 28-yard touchdown pass with 54 seconds left. Hood made a diving, one-handed grab on the play.
With the score tied 10-10, the Eagles went 3-and-out for just the first time all day, and Louisiana capitalized early in the fourth quarter. Lewis completed passes of 18 and 20 yards and then found Errol Rogers Jr. for a 27-yard touchdown pass as the Ragin’ Cajuns opened up a 17-10 lead.
The Eagles came right back as Werts found Kennedy III for a 44-yard gain, and GS moved the ball down to the Louisiana 24-yard line. After Matt LaRoche was stopped on 3rd-and-4, Alex Raynor’s 41-yard field goal try sailed wide right. The Eagle defense posted its second 3-and-out of the game, and GS got the ball back on its own 30-yard line with 5:48 remaining.
The Eagles travel to ULM for a 7 p.m. Sun Belt contest next Saturday. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.