The Good and the Bad: Cajuns vs. Tulsa
Every game has its highs and lows. And, there were quite a few good things that we saw Saturday in the Cajuns' loss to Tulsa.
But as I said last week, 'tis better to win than lose. And, the Cajuns did not come home with a win.
Here are some of the good and bad.
JORDAN DAVIS--Start with the guy under center. Davis was 21-32 for 309 yards and a pair of touchdowns. And, he gained another 60 yards on the ground with two more scores. But his presence on the field was even better than his numbers. He played with confidence. He trusted his offensive line and stayed in the pocket without getting happy feet. He made good decisions. He was a leader. He wasn't perfect. But he was awfully good.
THOSE TWO FRESHMEN...AGAIN--Trey Ragas and Elijah Mitchell are going to be raising hell for a long time. The two freshmen combined for 215 yards on 19 carries with a pair of touchdowns on the ground. Both averaged over ten yards per carry. Mitchell also added a catch for 19 yards and a touchdown. And, neither one put the ball on the ground. We wondered going into the season if anyone would separate himself from the logjam at running back. These two guys have.
THE PASS CATCHERS--The Cajuns had a pair of 100 yards receivers in the game. Ryheem Malone continues to impress out of the slot. Keenan Barnes hauled in a half dozen passes and six different players had at least one catch. The Cajuns have weapons.
THE RETURN GAME--Malone and Raymond Calais didn't get many opportunities, but made the most of what they got. Malone had a punt return for 26 yards and Calais had a 37 yard return of a kickoff.
HOME EARLY--Night games on the road are tough. It's frequently one or two in the morning by the time the plane lands. This one touched down at 10:00. And, it was smoother than the trip on Friday.
FOOTBALL WEATHER--85 degrees at kickoff. Low humidity. Thank you.
THE RUN DEFENSE--The Cajuns' defense wasn't good in any facet of the game, but the run defense was especially bad. Louisiana allowed 447 yards rushing, including 262 to D'Angelo Brewer. Brewer had no negative yards rushing...in 38 attempts. That's two weeks in a row the run defense gets gashed. There's time for it to improve, but this is not a good trend.
BIG PLAYS--The Cajuns allowed 16 plays of over ten yards in the game, five of them for at least 30 yards.
IT STARTS UP FRONT--Tulsa rushed the football 72 times. The Cajuns had only two tackles for loss and that includes the forced fumble.
BUT IT DOESN'T END THERE--The Cajuns did not have a single pass breakup in the game Saturday.
THE KICKING GAME--You don't know how much of a weapon Stevie Artigue is until he gets hurt. The Cajuns' kicker booted the opening kickoff out of bounds and hit an upright with a PAT. His replacement didn't get a lot of distance on his kicks and missed an extra point. Send Stevie a get well card.
THE END OF THE HALF--After a 15 yard touchdown pass to Keenan Barnes, the Cajuns trailed by just one point with just 2:05 to play in the first half. Tulsa struck quickly on a 69 yard touchdown pass. The Cajuns drove from their 25 to the Tulsa 33 but lost the ball on downs. But there were only :32 seconds left in the first half. Plenty of time. Brewer broke one 60 yards to the Cajuns' three yard line to set up another score. BANG. Down 15 at the half. You can point to a few plays here and there but that was your ball game.
TAKEOFF AND LANDING--If you're a flyer, chances are you've experienced when the plane loses altitude and you feel weightless for a few seconds. That happened shortly after takeoff Friday and for those who have never flown before, it was not a pleasant start. Neither was the hard landing which caused a pretty big bounce.