Five Keys to Beating ULM – From the Bird’s Nest
Well, it comes down to this one.
A bowl bid, probably in New Orleans, awaits the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns if they can close the regular season with back-to-back wins. But it's not going to be easy. ULM (4-7) is playing their best football of the year, and they have a slim chance at a bowl as well.
And, on top of that, the weather is not going to be good.
If the Cajuns' don't want the season to end, it would be good to do these things.
AVOID THE TRAP--The Cajuns haven't been on the wrong side of this big a trap game in a long time. I said last week's game was a trap for Arkansas State after their big win over Troy and it turned out I was right. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Cajuns are coming off an emotional win over their arch-rival. The B(owl) word has been floated around all week. ULM considers the Cajuns to be their arch-rival. And, they've had two weeks to prepare. We'll find out early whether the Cajuns are ready or whether they left some of their emotion in Lafayette. Usually that manifests itself early.
EMBRACE THE SUCK--Look, the weather is not going to be good. We all want football under clear skies with comfortable temps. The temp may not reach 50 degrees and there's a 100 percent chance of rain. But it's not going to be muddy as the game is on turf. The Cajuns need to pay no mind to the elements, in fact, they need to embrace them. The team that does the best job of that will have an advantage.
SLOW THEIR ROLL--Bad weather can be a good thing if you're ULM. The Warhawks' most improved area is their offensive line. And, it's a drastic improvement. ULM rushed for more than 220 yards against Appalachian State in their last outing. They'll use three or four different backs and at times run the option. The Cajuns have been good against the run in their wins. They had better be good Saturday, because, with the weather forecast, you figure they won't throw it much.
PICK YOUR SPOTS, TAKE YOUR SHOTS--It's going to rain. Hopefully it won't rain as hard as it did at Cajun Field last year, at least not the whole time. If the rain slacks up at all, that would be the time to think about turning the offense loose. ULM plays a lot of man defense and the Cajuns are going to have big matchup advantages if they want to go deep. If it's pouring that's hard to do. If it's raining, you might as well take a chance.
PROTECT THE BALL--One thing that's true about the Cajuns for several years now, is that they've done a great job not putting the football on the ground. One thing that bad weather does is increase the chances of fumbles. This can be a big advantage for the Cajuns in this game....if they hold on to the football. You have to like their chances here, but it's a lot tougher in wet weather.