Mountaineers Sour Senior Day For The Ragin’ Cajuns
With 21 of the most victorious Ragin' Cajuns of all time poised to add another win to their tally, Appalachian State decided to ruin their senior day.
Senior days are supposed to be filled with jubilation, tearful hugs and a winner's parade around the stadium for one last time. They're not supposed to end in a loss to a conference newcomer, but don't take anything away from Appalachian State.
The Mountaineers came in and beat the Cajuns at their own game. They rushed the ball for 232 yards and collected five sacks in the process of harassing Terrance Broadway all day. They lined up and tested the Cajuns' physicality. If anybody thought Appalachian State didn't belong in the Sun Belt, those doubts were eviscerated today.
To Head Coach Mark Hudspeth, the loss posed a more serious issue: How can I figure out how to reward my seniors with a win and what should be a memory for a lifetime?
"I don't know if senior nights are too emotional, but we have not done well," Hudspeth said with great disappointment after the 35-16 loss Saturday.
Major pieces of the team like QB Terrance Broadway, C Terry Johnson, DL Christian Ringo and other key cogs had to handle emotions on top of a talented, streaking Mountaineer team. Some people might blame the moment, but they should give credit to Appalachian State.
Elijah McGuire was limited to nine carries as the Cajuns were forced to keep extra blockers in the backfield to stop the fire trying to spread into Broadway's pocket. The Cajuns only scored one touchdown and were forced to settle for field goals several times in critical spots.
To Coach Hudspeth, the issues for the Cajuns were clear.
"We were out of sync tonight," Hudspeth said, "[We] never found the flow of things."
Flow indeed evaded the Cajun offense, specifically in the second half, where they failed to convert a single third down. They were limited to under 100 rushing yards for only the second time this year and failed to capitalize on a positive turnover ratio, which is an indication of execution issues for any offensive coach.
This year's senior class for Louisiana is packed with winners. They have three bowl rings to wear and a couple Sun Belt Conference Championships to brag about, which makes this loss so much more painful.
On a day where proud Ragin' Cajun and NFL star Charles "Peanut" Tillman's number was retired and the family members of the 21 seniors proudly watched on, it leaves a hollow feeling to end in a loss.
It's important to remember all the wins this senior class provided though, the most in school history to be precise. Even though a loss is tough to stomach on senior day, the wins are what they'll be remembered for.