Monday Rewind: Louisiana vs. Idaho
If Saturday's loss to Idaho didn't mark the low point of Mark Hudspeth's tenure as head coach, it came close.
Although Idaho is a much improved team and one that will wind up winning seven or eight games, it was still a game in which the Cajuns were favored. Perfect weather, Homecoming, a decent, if not spectacular crowd and a chance to defend the home turf and get a game that could catapult the Cajuns to a 13th game.
They laid an egg. Big time.
Give Idaho credit. They had a game plan on both sides of the ball and they worked that plan. Offensively they took what was given to them, and on defense the Vandals whipped the Cajuns up front.
Here are the highs and lows from Saturday's game
NO TURNOVERS--We'll say one thing for this Cajuns' squad. They've done a good job this year valuing possession of the football. And, once again, it was a turnover free game for the offense.
PENALTIES WERE DOWN--There were six altogether for 29 yards. That's much better than it's been.
SECOND HALF DEFENSE--The Cajuns didn't allow big plays and held Idaho to six points. The Cajuns defense did not allow a drive over 40 yards after intermission. Mike Lucas' defense continues to keep the Cajuns in games.
FIELD POSITION--The Cajuns had ten possessions in the game. Seven of them started inside the 25 yard line and five were inside the 15 (four of them in the second half). And, that's what happens when you don't get turnovers, the other team has a guy who is maybe the best in the country and you don't get many "three and outs." The Cajuns got good field position one time in the game and that was when Austin Rehkow kicked one out of bounds, giving the ball to the Cajuns at the 35. The Cajuns went on to score a touchdown. Funny how that works, eh?
IT ALL STARTS UP FRONT--When you can't run effectively and you can't protect the quarterback, you can't score. The reality is the offensive line, which many thought would be vastly improved, isn't. There's youth there to be sure. Last year injuries got them. For the most part, that hasn't been the case this year. They simply haven't performed well enough.
ELI'S HEALTH--After being injured on the final play against Tulane, Elijah McGuire hasn't been the same. Eli's foot injury hasn't gotten appreciably better despite having just three games in 34 days. With the Cajuns having no more time off the rest of the season, we won't see the Cajuns' start running back close to 100 percent the rest of the way.
NO TURNOVERS, AGAIN--The one thing that hasn't gotten much better this season is the Cajuns can't get takeaways. The Cajuns are among the nation's leaders in fewest turnovers. Yet they are -1 for the season. The math doesn't lie.
NO BIGGIE--The Cajuns got a big completion on their first offensive play of the game.as Anthony Jennings hit Michael Jacquet for a 52 yard pass completion. And, that was it as far as big plays are concerned. The next biggest gain was a 17 yard run by Jennings. The biggest pass play was 13 yards and the best run by a back was McGuire's 13 yard run in the third quarter.
GOTTA SACK UP--Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan had been sacked 16 times in eight games. The Cajuns, leading the league in sacks, did not get a single one. Conversely, Anthony Jennings was sacked five times for 36 yards in losses.
I suppose we could come up with even more that could be in the "bad" column. But you get the picture.
Here's the reality: The Cajuns are 3-5. Four games left. Three on the road. Gotta win three out of four to have a shot at a bowl. The only game the Cajuns will be favored is at ULM.