After spending two straight weeks at home, the Cajuns will hit the road again, this time making the long trip out to New Mexico to face a New Mexico State team that has lost seven consecutive games. The Aggies’ first season as a member of the Sun Belt Conference has been a struggle. They’ve been competitive at times, like when they jumped out to a 14-point lead against SBC front-runner Georgia Southern, but they’ve also been prey for the weaker teams in the conference. Idaho and Troy both beat New Mexico State for their only SBC win of the year.
The hallmark of the Cajuns’ turnaround has been the offense, but it was the defense’s turn to shine in the 19-9 win against South Alabama. The Cajuns limited the Jaguars to 150 yards and zero points in the second half, allowing the offense to take its time finding its mojo. South Alabama came as close as a Sun Belt team has gotten to shutting down the Cajuns offense this season, but inevitably, Elijah McGuire was too much to handle. The sophomore running back picked up more than 100 total yards in the fourth quarter and scored the Cajuns’ lone touchdown to power them to their fourth consecutive win.
It’s tough not to dedicate this space to McGuire, because the Cajuns might not have won the game Saturday if he didn’t perform up to his usual standard of excellence, but can’t the same thing be said of senior defensive tackle Christian Ringo? After a brief scrum, Ringo pounced on a loose ball near the Cajuns’ goal line to end South Alabama’s best chance to either tie the game or take the lead in the fourth quarter. But Ringo did so much more than come up with a key play. As he has done with stunning consistency lately, Ringo lived in the opponents’ backfield Saturday. Ringo finished the game with three tackles for loss to add to his league-leading total of 14 this season.
Keep an eye on
Sophomore receiver Devin Scott has been largely invisible this season, as the Cajuns hadn’t quite figured out the best way to use his elite-level speed. That wasn’t the case Saturday, as quarterback Terrance Broadway found him deep downfield for a career-long 45-yard gain. The play likely would’ve gone for a score if the ball wasn’t underthrown. Scott has been inconsistent this year, but maybe the light is starting to click.
“We were just waiting on that first man to strike that match. Once it strikes, it’s hard to put that fire out.”
— Ringo, describing the resurgent Cajuns defense