Blaine Gautier threw for three touchdowns and had 307 total yards of offense as the Ragin’ Cajuns football team upset the Sun Belt Conference preseason favorite FIU Golden Panthers at FIU Stadium in Miami, Fla. on Saturday night, 36-31.

FIU (3-1, 1-1) was receiving votes in the AP Top 25 poll.

The Cajuns (3-1, 1-0) won the field position battle all night long as sophomore punter Brett Baer pinned FIU deep five times, while the Cajuns returners totaled 241 yards on 10 returns.

The Louisiana defense stepped up, as they kept quarterback Jake Medlock on his toes all game long, posting three sacks and seven tackles-for-loss.

Gautier connected with Javone Lawson for 46-yard touchdown strike to give the Cajuns a 12-point lead with 12:40 left in the fourth quarter.

Six minutes later, FIU pulled within a score, 36-31, after a Kendrick Rhodes two-yard TD run ended a six-play drive.

With 3:49 left, the Golden Panthers would turn the ball over on downs after failing to convert a fourth-and-three at their 43-yard line.

Baer pinned FIU deep in their own territory for the fifth time on the night at the 1:44 mark in the fourth quarter, forcing the Golden Panthers to go 95 yards for the game-winning score. FIU moved the ball to their 39 yard-line before Medlock was intercepted by Lionel Stokes at the 17-yard line to end the game.

In the first half, the Cajuns pinned FIU deep in their own end after their second drive of the game. Senior Dwight “Bill” Bentley knocked a Baer punt down at the one-yard line to give Baer a 51-yard punt.

On the ensuing Golden Panthers drive, Derreck Dean was held in the end zone on third-and-five at the FIU six-yard line to give the Cajuns their first safety since 2005 against La.-Monroe.

UL pulled within two points on Baer’s 48-yard field goal with 5:07 left in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Cajuns pinned the Golden Panthers deep in their own end yet again. UL took advantage of the good field position as Baer put the Ragin’ Cajuns in front, 8-7, when his 39-yarder split the uprights with 11:39 remaining in the first half. The kick gave Baer seven on the year, which ties a season-best for the Brandon MS native.

UL would not trail for the rest of the game.

Gautier hit a wide open Ladarius Green with a 41-yard TD strike on fourth-and-one to extend the Louisiana lead to 15-7.

With 50 seconds left on the clock in the first half, Wayne Times returned a squib kick 69 yards to the Louisiana 11-yard line. Rhodes punched in his second TD of the half with his 11-yard run to cut the Cajuns lead to 15-14 before the break

The Cajuns came out and marched down the field on their first drive of the second half. Gautier capped a six-play, 72-yard drive with a 22-yard TD pass to Surgent to give UL an eight point edge.

FIU answered with a seven-play, 58-yard drive to pull back within a point after Medlock went in untouched on a two-yard bootleg run.

Alonzo Harris picked up his first career touchdown on a 13-yard rush around the right side to give the Ragin’ Cajuns a 29-21 lead. A 12-yard pass to Green set-up the TD run.

The Cajuns start a three-game home stand at Cajun Field on Oct. 1 as they host Florida Atlantic at 6:08 p.m.

Team Statistics (Final)
2011 Louisiana Football
Louisiana vs FIU (Sep 24, 2011 at Miami, Fla.)

 Team Totals  UL  FIU 
FIRST DOWNS  17  22 
   Rushing  10 
   Rushing Attempts  33  44 
   Average Per Rush  5.7  4.3 
   Rushing Touchdowns 
   Yards Gained Rushing  194  225 
   Yards Lost Rushing  35 
   Completions-Attempts-Int  15-30-0  18-30-1 
   Average Per Attempt  7.7  7.5 
   Average Per Completion  15.5  12.4 
   Passing Touchdowns 
   Total offense plays  63  74 
   Average Gain Per Play  6.7  5.6 
Fumbles: Number-Lost  0-0  2-0 
Penalties: Number-Yards  11-106  7-61 
PUNTS-YARDS  8-327  6-230 
   Average Yards Per Punt  40.9  38.3 
   Net Yards Per Punt  38.4  30.0 
   Inside 20 
   50+ Yards 
   Fair catch 
KICKOFFS-YARDS  7-435  7-430 
   Average Yards Per Kickoff  62.1  61.4 
   Net Yards Per Kickoff  29.6  34.1 
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD  3-50-0  0-0-0 
   Average Per Return  16.7  0.0 
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD  7-191-0  6-208-0 
   Average Per Return  27.3  34.7 
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD  1-0-0  0-0-0 
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD  0-0-0  0-0-0 
Miscellaneous Yards 
Possession Time  28:19  31:41 
   1st Quarter  8:07  6:53 
   2nd Quarter  7:58  7:02 
   3rd Quarter  4:44  10:16 
   4th Quarter  7:30  7:30 
Third-Down Conversions  3 of 15  2 of 12 
Fourth-Down Conversions  2 of 2  0 of 2 
Red-Zone Scores-Chances  1-1  4-4 
Sacks By: Number-Yards  3-27  0-0 
PAT Kicks  4-4  4-4 
Field Goals  2-2  1-1 

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