Five Keys to Beating WKU – From the Bird’s Nest
It’s not a great matchup.
But it’s better than it’s been the past two years.
Louisiana (5-4, 3-2) tries to break a two game losing streak against Western Kentucky (6-4, 3-3) at Cajun Field Saturday night.
The Hilltoppers have scored nearly 100 points in the last two games against the Cajuns. The Cajuns haven’t scored as many in the last two as WKU scored in the first one.
Want to see the Cajuns win on Saturday? If so, watch for these things
1. Match the physicality–The biggest thing about the last two games between the two teams is the Hilltoppers have been the more physical team. And, it hasn’t been close in that regard. This Cajuns team, with a more experienced offensive line and a more active front seven, match up much better this time around. But make no mistake, WKU is going to hit the Cajuns in the mouth. They have to respond better than they did against North Texas.
2. Win the First Two Downs–WKU is converting 49% of their third downs, mainly because they have third and five or less a bunch. The Cajuns, whether it’s slowing down Antonio Andrews or an early down pass, the Cajuns need to put WKU in third and long and take away the possibility of play action. The failure to do that the last two seasons has made quarterback Kawuan Jakes look like an All-American. WKU has only averaged 3.4 ypc in their last four games. The Cajuns need to keep them there Saturday.
3. Win the Red Zone–The Cajuns have scored touchdowns on 72% of their red zone trips. WKU has allowed only 56%. The Cajuns have to use their ability to get into the end zone rather than rely on Brett Baer. Conversely, the Cajuns defense must make WKU put Garrett Schwettman on the field. He hasn’t made a field goal over 30 yards this year.
4. Take care of the Q and A–MLB Andrew Jackson is the best linebacker in the league. And, he hurt the Cajuns a year ago. DE Quantarus Smith leads the nation in sacks (13.5) and WKU has 31 sacks as a team. The Cajuns have allowed only ten sacks this year. The Cajuns have to neutralize Smith and keep Jackson from making big plays in crucial situations.
5. Make a play–The Toppers have lost three of their last four games. In those games, Kawuan Jakes has thrown six of his nine interceptions and the Toppers are -4 in turnover margin in those games. If that trend continues, Louisiana will win. But, the Cajuns have to make that happen, and can’t wait for the Toppers to self-destruct.