Five Keys to Beating New Mexico State – From the Bird’s Nest
Make no mistake about it: This is a big one.
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns (4-5, 3-2 Sun Belt) take on the New Mexico State Aggies (4-5. 2-3) as the Cajuns celebrate Homecoming Saturday at Cajun Field. Kickoff is at 4:00 pm.
Both teams are fighting for bowl eligibility and a win here would be crucial to the cause. The Cajuns are trying to be bowl eligible for the sixth time in seven years under Mark Hudspeth. NMSU is trying to get to a bowl for the first time in 57 years.
If the Cajuns are going to take that big step, watch for this:
FIRST THINGS FIRST: It's been since September 23rd since the Cajuns played a Saturday home game. It's also been since September 23rd since the Cajuns scored more than 24 points in a game. This has to change this week. The Aggies are going to score points. The Cajuns offense needs to get in the end zone...multiple times, to have a chance.
BE BALANCED: Sure you want to run the football. That's always a given. But in this game, being balanced is important. The Cajuns have a big size advantage with their wide receivers. Louisiana needs to take advantage of that matchup. The passing game will be important this week, as well as the run.
GET INTO MR. ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD: Pressure on the quarterback is imperative this week. Tyler Rogers leads the league in passing yards per game. And, he's thrown for 23 touchdowns. He also leads the league in interceptions with 15. Throughout his career, he's had issues throwing the ball to the wrong colored jersey. The Cajuns need to get a pick or two or three and the best way is to make the quarterback uncomfortable.
DO NOT LET THE ROSE BLOOM: Larry Rose III has given the Cajuns trouble in the past. The Aggies aren't running him as much but between runs and pass plays, he's still averaging 18-20 touches per game. NMSU has a lot of weapons offensively. But, this guy can really hurt you. Do not let him be the player of the game.
CLEANUP ON AISLE THREE: There are three parts to a football team. The third, special teams, haven't been very good the last few weeks. The Cajuns have to make kicks. They have to punt well (and not let Rose get any returns). They need to do a better job on kick returns. Get the picture?