TROY, Ala. (AP)Levi Lewis threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score to help No. 24 Louisiana-Lafayette beat Troy 35-21 on Saturday.
Lewis had touchdown passes of 52, 15 and 13 yards and ran 27 yards for the other score. His TD passes came on the Ragin’ Cajuns’ first two drives of the game and their first drive of the second half.
Lewis completed 14 of 21 passes for 166 yards to help ULL (9-1, 7-0 Sun Belt Conference) extend its winning streak to a school-record nine games after losing its season opener at Texas 38-18. ULL has also won 13 straight regular-season conference games.
ULL had already clinched its fourth consecutive appearance in the conference championship game on Dec. 4. Saturday’s victory allowed it to clinch home-field advantage in the title game for the first time.
After Troy pulled to 28-21 early in the fourth, Louisiana-Lafayette kept the ball on the ground for eight consecutive plays and more than four minutes before Montrell Johnson scored on a 6-yard run up the middle with 5:15 remaining to restore ULL’s lead to two scores.
ULL rushed for more than 200 yards, including 102 yards on 15 carries by Chris Smith. Johnson finished with 67 yards.
Gunnar Watson was 29 of 55 for 350 yards with one touchdown and one interception for Troy (5-5, 3-3).
Troy turned it over on its final three possessions. Watson’s pass for Jamontez Woods was thrown behind him and ULL linebacker Ferrod Gardner picked it off along the sideline. Troy fumbled it after a completion to end its next possession and Watson fumbled while being sacked.
”Tough loss for us,” Troy coach Chip Lindsey said. ”Feel like we were in a good spot there, just didn’t make enough plays there to get it done. Louisiana has a good football team, a veteran team. They did a good job of taking control of the game in the third quarter when we struggled coming out of halftime.”
Louisiana-Lafayette improved to 37-5 under fourth-year head coach Billy Napier when scoring more than 20 points.
Troy became the only Group of Five team to host a nationally ranked opponent in each of the last four seasons – No. 22 Boise State (2018), No. 22 Appalachian State (2019), No. 11 Coastal Carolina (2020) and No. 24 Louisiana-Lafayette (2021). The Trojans are 0-4 in those games.
Louisiana-Lafayette: At Liberty on Saturday.
Troy: Hosts Appalachian State on Saturday.
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