Turnovers, Big Plays Cost Cajuns In Athens
It's hard to win when you turn the ball over four times. It's even harder to win when your opponent breaks big play. All of the above caught the Cajuns up in Athens, Georgia.
The Ragin' Cajuns actually moved the ball against the Bulldogs, racking up 465 yards of total offense, but three interceptions and a fumble took the air out of several key drives and gave Georgia ample opportunities to gain momentum. A few plays early in the game put the Bulldogs on top, and they were able to nurse that lead all game long for a 35-21 win.
Isaiah McKenzie scored on the first offensive play for Georgia, and then he housed a 82-yard punt return before the Cajuns could even settle into the game. Down 14-0 not even halfway through the first quarter, the Cajuns had to play catchup for the remainder of the game.
It was actually an impressive performance on the ground for Elijah McGuire and the rest of the Ragin' Cajuns backfield. McGuire collected 133 total yards and the team set a season-high with 276 rushing yards, but the turnovers were too much to overcome on offense.
Mark Hudspeth was proud of his team's offensive output, but he wished they were able to stop the early avalanche.
"They got on us early, and we had to weather the storm," Hudspeth said after the loss. He added, "We dug ourselves a hole and couldn't get back out of it."
Georgia made the most of their opportunities in the first half to take a 21-7 lead into the locker room, then they found some breathing room with two scores from Nick Chubb, including another big play on a 49-yard reception. Chubb accounted for 157 of Georgia's 400 total yards, stealing the spotlight from the Cajun offense that played quite well, turnovers aside.
"Can't get a break. We return one their fumbles for a touchdown and they call it back...if we could only get one of them to go our way," Hudspeth mused.
Down 35-7, the Ragin' Cajuns tried to make a late run, with Anthony Jennings collecting two of his three rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter. They cut the Georgia lead down to 35-21 and tried an onside kick, but the Bulldogs recovered the kick and ran the clock out to protect their win.
The loss drops the Ragin' Cajuns to 4-6 overall, which raises the heat in the boiling pot for the rest of the season. One more loss would drop them out of bowl contention, but they will be back at home next week for a major matchup with Arkansas State.
Four turnovers are hard to stomach, but there were promising signs on offense. If the Cajuns can build off the bright spots, there's still light at the end of the tunnel.