Rewind: Louisiana vs. Appalachian State
It was not pretty on Wednesday.
For the first time in fourteen years, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns were shut out at home in a football game this past Wednesday night. Not since a 27-0 loss to North Texas in Rickey Bustle's first season has the Cajuns' offense put up a bagel.
As always, we look at the good and bad. The first part will be pretty brief.
NO TURNOVERS--After turning the ball six times in the previous two games, both overtime losses, the Cajuns did not turn it over on Wednesday.
SECOND HALF SHUTOUT--I'll agree as the second half progressed, App State wasn't necessarily trying to score. But early in the third quarter they were, and the Cajuns were up to the challenge.
RUN DEFENSE--There was a breakaway run of 41 yards for a score in the first half, but other than that, there wasn't much happening in the Mountaineers' run game.
THE PUNT RETURN--Levarious Varnado gave the Cajun faithful one thing to cheer about. His 35 yard punt return was easily the best of the year for the return team.
WAYNE TOUPS--Seriously. Toups' appearance with the Pride of Acadiana was really, really good. The band was in sync with the vocals and Toups looked like he was having a blast. As soon as the band pumped out the beginnings of "Johnny Can't Dance" it was obvious halftime was really going to be fun. Best halftime show at Cajun Field not done by the Southern University Marching Band.
CAN'T BLOCK ANYONE--The Cajuns couldn't move it on the ground. They couldn't give Anthony Jennings time to throw it. It starts up front, but it wasn't just the line. The receivers did a poor job on screens as well. Pas bon.
HAPPY FEET--Jennings was sacked five times. But he also didn't help himself by shuffling his feet constantly when he did have time to throw. As a result he was off target when he tried to throw downfield...which wasn't often.
NO BIG PLAYS--Big plays are defined by 20 yards or more. The Cajuns offense had exactly none. Only the Varnado punt return was a highlight.
MORE WALKING WOUNDED--By the middle of the first quarter the Cajuns had lost both of their safeties. D'Aquin Winthrow went down in the second half. Ja'Marcus Bradley suffered what appeared to be a high ankle sprain. Elijah McGuire obviously wasn't 100 percent. What was once a team with some depth has pretty much become a team with no depth at all.
IMAGINATION?--Understanding the App State defense was going to be stingy, the failure of the Cajuns' offense to at least take a shot was perplexing. There was one completion over the middle early. But the longest play of the night was a pass to Gabe Fuselier that was a safety valve completion. It's easy to keep the play in front for the defense when the offense doesn't give them a reason to expect anything deep...or even intermediate.
THE KICKING GAME--Stevie Artigue missed a pair. His 49 yarder hit the upright and he miss-hit a 40 yard attempt. And, the usually reliable Steven Coutts popped up his first punt, giving Appalachian State a short field.
BAD START--First play. 56 yards. Tone setter.
Cajuns have a chance to get back on track next Saturday at Texas State. But the margin for error is gone for this season.