The Cajuns have a full week and a half to diagnose what went wrong on the road against Arkansas State before welcoming UL-Monroe to town for homecoming. The Warhawks have not been very good this year, going 1-5 to this point, but they’ve played some stellar competition, including a pair of upper-echelon Southeastern Conference schools and the top two teams in the Sun Belt Conference in Georgia Southern and Appalachian State.
The first 20 minutes of the Arkansas State game were like a horror film for Cajuns fans. The Cajuns couldn’t find a smidgen of offensive rhythm as quarterback Jalen Nixon completed just two of his first 17 pass attempts, and the Red Wolves gashed the Cajuns’ defense in excess of 200 first-half rushing yards. The Cajuns eventually got things together, outscoring Arkansas State 20-3 over the final 31 minutes, but the 27-point hole they dug was too deep to get out of.
It should be noted that when it was all said and done, Nixon didn’t have a terrible game from a statistical standpoint. He got on a roll after his rough start, completing 13 of 16 passes for 211 yards during one stretch, and he also topped 200 yards on the ground. But he was also a big part of the reason the Cajuns fell behind in the first place. Let’s instead give this to freshman punter Steven Coutts, who punted six times for a career-high 307 yards, all in the first half. Coutts banged two punts further than 62 yards.
Keep an eye on
Though he was frequently the target of Nixon’s passes, senior wide receiver Jamal Robinson did not catch a pass before leaving the game in the second quarter to a foot injury. He did not return, and this might be a cause for concern. It’s the same foot that Robinson broke last year, forcing him to miss the remainder of the season.
“We’ve got to just keep battling. Work harder in practice. Everybody’s got to come in ready to work, no slacking off. I’m going to make sure me, as a leader, I’ll be on the team harder than I ever have been and challenging people, because we can not accept losing. We can’t accept being at 2-4. That’s not a reflection of our program. We’re better than that.”
—Nixon, on where
the team goes from here