Cajuns Pass the Troy Test – From the Bird’s Nest
I had an opportunity to visit with some fans last night after Louisiana's 41-36 win over Troy and most of the fans I talked to saw the big picture.
There are a couple of fan cliches that make me giggle, and I heard both of them as well.
"That was an ugly win." Nope. No such thing. When you call as many losses as I have in the years I've covered the Cajuns, every win is terrific. And precious. I feel much better after the Cajuns win without playing their best than I do when the Cajuns don't win and play a great game.
Trust me, I felt better last night than I did after the Florida game last year.
"We almost lost that game."
Well, the definition of "we almost lost" is, "we won." Period.
It certainly wasn't beautiful. The Cajuns had a turnover on an interception returned for a touchdown and gave Troy a ten yard drive after a low snap on a punt. The Cajuns didn't get much done, scoreboard-wise in the second half. But, despite that, they got their seventh straight win and took another step toward a conference title.
I don't usually publish a look back at my blog talking about the keys to a Cajuns win, but I do always look back to see how it played out. Here's what I saw last night.
1. Eric Thomas took a short catch and turned it into a 51 yard gain early in the game. He also made a tremendous catch on a pass in Troy's final drive (that was originally ruled incomplete but was overturned on replay.) And, he caught a jump ball in the end zone for a touchdown. But he and Corey Robinson missed connection on several intermediate to long throws and Trev Patt and Dominique Tovell took care of business on the final drive. It could have been better...but it could have been a lot worse.
2. The Cajuns were balanced, and they wanted to be. But there were a couple of big runs in that rushing total. Louisiana didn't get a lot done on the ground in the second half. I think they expected to run the ball better than they did. I know I expected it.
3. The Cajuns failed to play nice in the first half, allowing Troy to get to them. They were flagged for personal fouls that were accepted. Both teams kept their tempers under control in the second half for the most part. Of course, the biggest call was the roughing the passer call against Justin Hamilton that negated a turnover in the first half.
4. Seeing Will Scott on the field was the biggest key in the entire game and the Cajuns passed with flying colors. Troy was forced to use Scott on field goal attempts four times in the game. He made three. That's nine points on four possessions. Add the final drive to that and the Cajuns defense gets more than a passing grade. Troy gets 36 points, but only two touchdowns on long drives.
5. Troy led once in the game, 3-0. The Cajuns were out to protect the house and they did it, going to 14-1 at home under Mark Hudspeth. And, the crowd of more than 22,000 was impressive for a Thursday night and they did their part too. That's enough swaggin' for me.
Now the Cajuns will start preparation for Georgia State in Atlanta next weekend, looking for win number eight. They also get this Saturday off...and check out college football around the country. Especially a very interesting game in Monroe......