Rewind of Cajuns/FIU – From the Bird’s Nest
Consider the house protected.
Consider the blade sharp enough to decapitate.
Louisiana scored early and often and never gave Florida International a chance.
The Cajuns' dismantling of the pre-season Sun Belt favorite really wasn't as close as the 48-20 score indicated. Had it not been for two big plays by FIU that set up scores, the final would have been 48-7 which would have been closer to how the game was played. The Cajuns nearly doubled FIU's offensive output, 501 yards to 259, held the Panthers to one third down conversion and won the turnover battle.
Here are my thoughts concerning the game.....
OFFENSE--Well, it's pretty hard to argue with anything that the Cajuns did on the offensive side of the football. They opened up a 24-0 lead before FIU got anything going offensively at all. Quarterback Blaine Gautier looked like his old self until he was injured late in the first quarter on a slam down after the whistle by FIU's Andre Pound. After watching it on video, it's pretty obvious a personal foul penalty should have been called for roughing the passer. I didn't see anything that warranted an ejection, but if player safety really means anything in this league, an official should be reprimanded for not throwing a flag and the FIU coaching staff should get a call, as well. Not that it would do any good. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time the opposition has experienced that kind of play from FIU. Remember 2008 when the Cajuns' Tyrell Fenroy was repeatedly punched in the groin by
Anyway, Terrance Broadway was superb in relief, the running backs ran hard and the Cajuns' depth at receiver showed. And, the Cajuns' offensive line had an outstanding game, opening holes and protecting the quarterback. It would be hard to find fault at all with the Cajuns' offense except for the Alonzo Harris fumble that had him out for several series in the middle of the contest.
Harry Peoples had a huge game and Darryl Surgent had a long catch and run to set up a touchdown. It would be great to have a Javone Lawson sighting. He's drawing the double coverage that Ladarius Green got a year ago and his numbers are way down as a result. However, the other Cajun receivers (and this is a REALLY deep position) are stepping up.
With Gautier's days as quarterback apparently over, this is Terrance Broadway's team now. He's ready. And, he's already started as a collegian...and against Tulane at that. There's a difference between starting and coming off the bench, but Broadway should handle it without a problem. But Cajuns fans need to get those rosaries out, because there's precious little experience behind him. Senior Brady Thomas is now the backup. Not only has he not played much as a quarterback, he's also the only holder the Cajuns have...and he's incredibly valuable at that position. And, we don't want to see any of the Cajuns freshmen this season if we can avoid it. The quarterback position is in good hands with Broadway, but the Cajuns are now one play away from having their season ruined.
DEFENSE--There's no doubt it was the best performance of the season by the Cajuns D, and that was great to see after the debacle at Oklahoma State. The decision to start Cordian Hagans and play Brandon McCray and Justin Hamilton at the same time was a great move. The Cajuns sacked freshman E. J. Hilliard four times and intercepted him twice. The Cajuns' inside linebackers had probably their best game as a unit this season. A really great job all around, except for two big plays in the passing game. The defense totally throttled the Panthers' passing game, and that's a team that starts four seniors up front. Hilliard is going to be very, very good before he's finished and overall, he did a decent job of keeping his poise in his first start in front of a hostile crowd. He's just not ready yet. And, it didn't help that his line couldn't get the running game going.
SPECIAL TEAMS--Brett Baer was once again great, both placekicking and punting. FIU didn't get to return a punt and only had one good kickoff return that went to the 30 yard line. The Cajuns also got a turnover on special teams. But the punt return game was poor and the kick return game not a whole lot better. That was a surprise given the success in the past. That, I'm sure, will get cleaned up.
CROWD--Believe it or not, there are some that are complaining about 21,000 at Cajun Field. Those folks don't remember when rain throughout the day and forecast to continue would have cost the Cajuns to the point there would have been fewer than 10,000 in the stands. The 21,000 is a testament to how the fans have bought into Mark Hudspeth's program. (Oh, and believe it or not, the weathermen are getting criticized for their forecast on a fan message board. We looked at the radar when we started the pregame and harassed Steve because it looked like he was going to get soaked. Even after five pm it was going to be touch and go as to if the rain would continue.) Some folks have nothing better to do I guess......