The Ragin’ Cajuns Fall to The UL-Monroe Warhawks, 21-17
On Saturday, The Cajuns took on the Warhawks of ULM to start Sun Belt play. The Cajuns and Warhawks rivalry has been particularly one sided recently, with the Cajuns leading the series " ".
The Warhawks got the ball first in a sweltering Louisiana early fall night. The Cajuns let the Warhawks drive before forcing a field goal. Monroe has struggled on special teams all year, and their woes continued. They missed the field goal and gave the Cajuns the ball with momentum.
And for once, the Cajuns offense started hot. They moved the ball effectively, including some big plays. The ball didn't hit the ground the entire drive, and Chandler Fields completed a strong opening drive with his first career touchdown run.
Unfortunately for the Cajuns, the Warhawks struck like lightning on their next drive, and a 75 yard run by Andrew Henry made the teams even.
But that did nothing to stop the Cajuns offense. A fast-paced drive ended in a 51 yard touchdown heave from Fields to Michael Jefferson, and the Cajuns were back on top.
The game was starting to feel like a shootout. In fact, it turned into something of a defensive slog.
The Cajuns defense didn't let that happen. They made two straight stops separated by a short Wooldridge-led Cajuns drive that didn't go anywhere.
The Cajuns got the ball back after ULM's second straight sub-35 yard punt. However, a fumble by Washington gave the ball back to the Warhawks.
The Cajuns defense still held firm. They forced the Monroe to punt yet again.
The Cajuns' next drive was kneecapped by penalties, and Rhys Byrns showed the Warhawks punter how to switch field position.
The Cajuns defense continued to put on, and Courtline Flowers made a play, picking off the Hawks and giving the ball back to the offense.
The offense didn't make much progress. The run game was struggling. But the Cajuns were able to get some points off of the turnover on a Preston Stafford field goal.
Possession would flip back and forth a bit more until halftime brought play to a stop.
A freezing Jay Walker welcomed radio listeners back to the game in the second half. The Cajuns continued to struggle in the run game and the drive stalled out.
The Warhawks got their offense moving but the Cajuns defense came up big again after a forced fumble, recovered by Bralen Trahan, gave the ball back to the offense.
A few great throws by Chandler Fields moved the Cajuns into Warhawks territory. A costly penalty looked like it was going to kill the drive, but the Cajuns raged on and fought their way into the red zone. The offense did stall out and the kick team came to the field.
The next 4 seconds were chaotic. A bad snap nearly resulted in disaster on the field goal attempt, but Dalen Cambre reacted quickly and tossed the ball into endzone, just barely overthrowing his receiver and turning the ball over on downs.
The upside was that the Warhawks would be starting their drive inside of their own 5 yard line. And the Cajuns defense was just as staunch as it had been all night. The Warhawks stalled almost immediately.
So did the Cajuns. Then special teams disaster struck again. A bad snap set up Monroe inside the Cajuns 10. It took them no time to score.
All of a sudden, it was a game.
The Cajuns were scrambling, and their 3 point lead did not seem like much of a safety net, despite how good the defense was playing. The offense needed to step up.
Ben Wooldridge managed to make a huge play on 3rd and 17 to give the Cajuns a key first down.
But the Cajuns were kneecapped again by penalties. The Warhawks would get the ball. Their first play was a dagger. A pass with a long, long run after the catch set the Hawks up at the 2. There was nothing the Cajuns defense could do and Malik Jackson put the ball in the end zone.
The ensuing offensive drive was a study in futility. The Cajuns overcame penalties, 4th downs, and bad plays to only end up turning the ball over on a Chandler Fields interception.
The defense put up a valiant effort, but there was nothing they could do. The offense didn't have enough time.
The Cajuns fell to the Warhawks 21-17 in Monroe for the first time since 2004.
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