Thoughts on Louisiana vs. South Alabama – From the Bird’s Nest
It was another good win for Louisiana this past Saturday against South Alabama as the Cajuns celebrated their annual Homecoming. Here are some thoughts as I reflect on the game and events surrounding it.
IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW YOU DO IT…JUST DO IT—Saturday’s 19-9 win was the first victory in the Mark Hudspeth era where the Cajuns scored fewer than 20 points. The last time Louisiana got a victory with that low a point total was in 2009 when the Cajuns defeated Kansas State at Cajun Field.
DON’T THINK THE OFFENSE DIDN’T DO PLENTY IN THIS GAME---Everyone will agree it would have been great if the Cajuns had been able to score touchdowns on those four possessions that resulted in Hunter Stover field goals. And, at the same time, understand that, with exception of the McGuire punt return that gave UL the ball at the USA 29 (Alonzo Harris fumbled on the next play), the Cajuns never started a series past their 35 yard line. Their scoring drives were 69, 65, 68, 65 and 91 yards. While they didn’t put up a slew of points, field position did have something to do with that. So did the Jaguars’ front seven, which did a good job against the Cajuns’ running game most of the night.
DEFENSIVELY IT WAS MUCH BETTER---The Cajuns didn’t have as many tackles for loss (4) as they did against Arkansas State (14) but they also gave up a lot fewer big plays. South Alabama rushed the football 35 times. They gained ten or more yards twice. The Jaguars were 4-15 on third down because the Cajuns were awfully good on first and second down.
SECOND HALF BROADWAY—The Cajuns scored thirteen second half points. In those three drives, Terrance Broadway was 7-10 for 127 yards. He also rushed for 26 yards during that period. That’s 37% of the entire offensive output by the offense. And, he had two completions for 40 yards or more in the game. That hasn’t been done in a game where Jamal Robinson didn’t play.
WAS THE BARBECUE THAT GOOD? I was pretty surprised in the crowd of 25,861. We do the first hour of our pregame show near the ticket office at Tigue Moore Field. At 2:45 I left to go to the press box for the network pregame I had a heckuva time getting through the throng of tailgaters. Methinks quite a few of them never made it into the stadium. Honestly, I thought we were past that. Evidently not. That’s very disappointing.
DID WE ACTUALLY SAY SOMETHING GOOD ABOUT THE OFFICIALS? Yes we did. Gerald Broussard and I both had complimentary things to say about the officiating crew at the game Saturday. They threw a couple of flags early for personal fouls that technically were correct. But I’ve seen harder hits out of bounds not called. They sent a message early about how they expected the game to be played. If the crew in the Arkansas State game had done that, we wouldn’t have had a statement from the Conference office announcing reprimands and suspensions. I’m not suggesting they were perfect. But they limited the trash talking on the field and made sure the play was clean. Good for them.
JILL ROBERTSON HAD A REALLY GOOD WEEKEND—I’ll always appreciate Robertson’s accomplishments and her dedication to the program. She could have changed her commitment when Yvette Girouard went to LSU. But she put her faith in her hometown school and its new coaches and had a great career, perhaps the best ever for a Lafayette resident. She was inducted into the UL Hall of Fame Saturday. She was overcome with emotion at the inductee dinner the previous night. Saturday, she also got an engagement ring. Not a bad weekend, eh?
I LOVE ME SOME MICHAEL ALLEN---Coach Bob Marlin brought the Cajuns basketball great to the broadcast booth before the second half kickoff. Allen is still the greatest basketball player in the final two minutes that I’ve ever had the pleasure to cover. He helped lead the Cajuns to two championships in his three seasons and is in the top ten in all time scoring. I always thought he was underappreciated by the fans back then. I think those same people understand now just how great a player he was. He’s now coaching high school basketball in his hometown of Lexington, KY. And, I bet he’s damned good at it.
DID YOU SEE THE BOOTS??—Inside Tigue Moore Field, the Red Zone retail store has a tent with merchandise for sale. Their new item this past weekend was a selection of Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns cowboy boots. Some really nice looking boots with the circular Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns logo on the instep and the Ragin’ Cajuns stacked logo on the back near the heel. Really sharp. I was going to buy a pair. Then I found out how much they cost. But if you have the bucks, you’ll love these boots. And, if you want to buy me some for my birthday or Christmas, it’s okay with me.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR?—Don’t look now, but the Cajuns just might have one. Texas State linebacker David Mayo leads the league in tackles, but is there anyone on defense making a bigger impact on his team winning than Christian Ringo? In the four conference games he’s been nearly unblockable. He’s getting tackles for loss, sacks, quarterback hurries and seems to always be around the football. He’s having a special season. And, if he keeps it up, he might get richly rewarded.
Now it’s on to New Mexico State, a team that can be pretty scary offensively. They rolled up over 600 yards in their loss to Texas State Saturday afternoon. With exception of LSU they’ve scored against everyone on their schedule. Remembering the start they got off to last year at Cajun Field (they led 28-7 in the second quarter) it would behoove the Cajuns to be ready from the opening kickoff in Las Cruces.