Five Keys to Beating Boise State – From the Bird’s Nest
The last two weeks have not been good ones for the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns. The Cajuns played poorly against Louisiana Tech and were only marginally better against Ole Miss, despite a more lopsided score. Now it's Boise State out of the Mountain West Conference in the first of a home and home series (the return game is scheduled to open up the 2016 season.
Obviously, the Cajuns will have to be a lot better in order to have a chance to win. Here are the things they absolutely have to do if that long (and I mean long) trip home is going to be a happy one.
IT'S WHAT'S UP FRONT THAT COUNTS---If you're old enough, you know that was a slogan for Winston cigarettes. But in football it is used as well and it signifies line play. In this case it's the Louisiana offensive line. When you think of Boise State traditionally, you think of an offensive juggernaut. While that may prove to be true as the season progresses, right now it's the Broncos' defense that's getting the headlines. Boise is allowing 1.6 yards per rush over their first three games. They are second in the country in rush defense (49ypg). Only Alabama is better. The guys up front have to continue to create holes for Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire. They've done a good job so far. But this will be their toughest test.
THIS WEEK THE CAJUNS WEAR WHITE, TERRANCE--Eliminating turnovers is paramount. Terrance Broadway is an awfully good quarterback but reality is, he's thrown six interceptions, including a pick-six. That's not what he's done previously in his career. While not all of those interceptions are his fault, Broadway has to eliminate the mistakes that cost the Cajuns possession.
TREAT 'EM LIKE A CHRISTMAS PRESENT--The Cajuns have been very poor tacklers the past two games, especially in the secondary. That's forced the coaching staff to make a couple of changes. It's a fundamental thing, and correctable. Wrap em up guys.
FIND THE BAD BOY---Grant Hedrick is completing 72% of his passes (35 att/283 yds per game). That's the good Grant. The bad Grant has thrown five interceptions. The Cajuns have to see enough of the second to turn some things in their favor.
DON'T LET THE BLUE GRASS FOOL YA---I'm really not sure why Boise has gone 86-4 in their last 90 home games. I'm not sure why they haven't lost to a non-conference opponent at home in almost a decade (and that was in a bowl game.) Some are convinced the blue turf at Albertson's Stadium distracts the opposition. The Cajuns have to make sure it's Boise they're playing, not the surroundings.
OVERALL: I think this game is winnable. However, having said that, I also think the Cajuns will have to turn in one of the better performances of Mark Hudspeth's tenure in order to get it done. This may not be the Top 15 Boise State team we've seen in the past, but they're good...especially at home. The Cajuns have to do a lot right...in all three facets. Otherwise it'll be a long flight home.