Five Keys to Beating Arkansas State – From the Bird’s Nest
So, can that home field advantage thing be beaten this week?
Louisiana travels to Arkansas State Thursday night in a series that has seen the visitors win only three times since 1992. Last season, the underdog Cajuns were beaten badly in the stats, yet claimed a 24-19 victory over the Red Wolves.
Want a happy flight home? Here's how to do it
NO JUSTICE FOR ALL--Justice Hansen leads the Sun Belt in passing efficiency and touchdowns. The key for the Cajuns is to make him uncomfortable. Hit him. Do it within the rules, but the Cajuns defense must make its presence known by paying him a visit on a regular basis. Hansen is very good in finding an open receiver, even if its not the primary guy. Make him throw it before he wants to.
KEEP YOUR COMPOSURE--Things tend to get chippy when these teams get together (that's part of what makes it a rivalry.). Arkansas State has been at or near the top of the league in personal foul penalties the last few seasons. When it happens (and it will), don't make the penalties offset. The Cajuns are the least penalized team in the Sun Belt. I expect the number may be higher this week, but Louisiana doesn't need to get caught up in the storm.
THE OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE IN A SUPPORTING ROLE GOES TO....--Cajuns should be able to have some success running the football. But Trey Ragas could use some help back there. Darius Hoggins is running #2 right now, but others could get a chance. Doesn't matter who steps up to help, but, with Elijah Mitchell out, someone has to.
ENFORCEMENTS FROM THE REAR--Along with the Cajuns, Arkansas State probably has the deepest receiving corps in the league. If the Cajuns bring people (and I expect they will) to get to Hansen, that leaves the DB's on an island back there. Varnado, Thomas, et al., need to do their jobs, and do them well.
PLUS THREE AGAIN WOULD BE NICE--Fans don't like to talk about turnover margin, because they don't want to believe it's the most important statistic in football. Well, it is. And will continue to be. There are nights when the Cajuns must be on the positive end of that statistic to have a chance to win. This is one of those nights.