Winning is always a good thing.

Sometimes, not losing is even better.

And, that was the case for many Louisiana fans Saturday night as the Cajuns defeated used-to-be rival McNeese State, 30-22 before 26,891 fans at Cajun Field Saturday night.

As with any game, there was good and bad.  Here are some thoughts

THE CAJUNS GOT BETTER---And, you'd like to see that each and every week.  And, if you know football, you can discern it, even with the disparity of competition between McNeese and Boise State.  The improvement was almost everywhere.  The Cajuns aren't close to being where they want or need to be.  But if the improvement continues, they have a chance to get there.

PLAYING FAST--There's a difference between running a no-huddle and playing fast.  And, Saturday, the Cajuns played faster than we've seen at any time under Mark Hudspeth.  We didn't notice it in the first half because the Cajuns didn't have the ball much.  But, despite that, the Cajuns offense hurt McNeese with their tempo.  The Cowboys defense was gassed in the third quarter.  The lightning delay actually hurt the Cajuns a little.

BETTER BLOCKING UP FRONT--After a very poor performance in game one, the Cajun offensive line took a big step forward.  Louisiana allowed just three tackles for loss, one of them a sack.  And, Louisiana did a good job on defensive tackle Isaiah Golden.  The projected second round draft pick had exactly one unassisted tackle and assisted on one other.  Not many schools are going to have that kind of success against the big guy.

BETTER BLOCKING OUTSIDE---Don't get me wrong, it needs to get better.  But when the Cajuns receivers needed to block, they did more often than not.  With a lot of youth there, there's hope for even more improvement.

HE'S FROM CECILIA, HIM--Fans in Acadiana have raved about Raymond Calais throughout his high school career.  And Saturday, Cajun fans who had not seen much of him found out why.  With the Cajuns trailing 15-14 in the third quarter, Calais returned the ensuing kickoff 37 yards to give the Cajuns some good field position, and then finished the drive with a seven yard run where he bowled over a would be tackler.  You'll see this again before he's done.

HOLY COW, A PASS RUSH--The Cajuns' defensive front's pass rush was non-existent last year and also in game one.  Interim Defensive Coordinator Mike Lucas' switch to a four man front paid dividends.  The Cajuns used their depth on the defensive line with the switch and Louisiana sacked McNeese quarterbacks five times and had eleven tackles for loss, totaling 61 yards in losses.  You win doing stuff like that.

NO TURNOVERS, AGAIN--The Cajuns got one to set up a score, but the Cajun offense had no turnovers for the second straight week.  You can win doing stuff like that.

THE RUN GAME--The four Cajun running backs who carried the ball (McGuire, Wright, Calais, Hoggins) toted the pigskin 28 times...and did not have a single negative yardage carry.  Credit to both the backs and the guys up front.

JA'MARCUS BRADLEY---Kid is going to be a star.


GETTING OFF THE FIELD--The Cajun defense had only one "three and out" Saturday, and the Cowboys were 45% on third and fourth down combined.  That was a problem in week one as well.  There wasn't much improvement this week in that regard.

SECONDARY STRUGGLES--While they were in the same area code this week (that in itself is an improvement), there were still plenty of wide open receivers Saturday night.  Some of those were incomplete, but that was more because of pressure on the quarterback than good secondary defense.  This was supposed to be a strength of this football team.  We have yet to really see it.

PENALTIES--Eleven accepted penalties for 94 yards on Saturday.  Once again, not good at all.  The offense was whistled for two false starts, which is an improvement.  But there were three personal fouls called in the game, and 37 yards in special teams penalties.  After two games, the Cajuns are next to last in the league in that category and 95th in the country.

THIRD AND FOURTH DOWN---Just three of ten.  Cajuns had three "three-and-outs" and, with a little better job on third down, would have scored 45 points or more Saturday night.

FIELD POSITION--Because they allowed the Cowboys to sustain drives, the Cajuns' starting field position wasn't as good as it should have been, especially with a McNeese punter that netted under 30 yards per kick.  When the Cajuns had good field position, they had success.

TIME OF POSSESSION--The Cajuns won't usually win this statistic because of the tempo in which they play.  But the inability of the Cajuns to get off the field on third down showed especially in the first half when the Cajuns had the football for just 8:44.

GAME BALLS--Elijah McGuire, Anthony Jennings, Trev Miller, Mike Lucas



More From 103.3 The GOAT