One of the biggest surprises in a night full of them was the way Louisiana Tech eliminated the Ragin’ Cajuns’ big-play offense in UL-Lafayette’s 48-20 loss Saturday at Cajun Field.
Much of the Cajuns’ offensive difficulty can be credited to Louisiana Tech defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who outschemed Cajuns coaches with an exotic series of pressures that had quarterback Terrance Broadway either on the run or looking to get rid of the ball quickly.
But one could wonder how different the offense might’ve looked had senior wide receiver Jamal Robinson not left the game in the second quarter with a left leg injury.
“Obviously losing Jamal didn’t help, on the outside with that playmaking ability there,” Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth said.
Robinson made a couple of nice grabs, including one on a masterfully executed back-shoulder throw, before he exited the game.
The Cajuns became noticeably punchless when Robinson left, with most of their offense being predicated on the read option and short passes to the flat. The majority of Broadway’s 31 pass attempts traveled less than 10 yards in the air.
The result was an offense that gained just 112 second-half yards before backup quarterback Brooks Haack led an 84-yard drive to end the game.
“We probably should have taken a few more chances, looking back in hindsight,” Hudspeth said.
The Cajuns also didn’t have the services of dynamo Elijah McGuire, who looked like he was going to be heavily involved early before the Bulldogs bottled him up. McGuire sat most of the second half but, when asked for a reason why he wasn’t inserted back into the game, Hudspeth said he didn’t know the answer.
Watch Robinson’s health throughout the week. He’s one of the Cajuns’ few offensive players whose physical skill set compares favorably to that of a Southeastern Conference defender, and he’ll be critical to the Cajuns chances this weekend at Ole Miss.
Paging Dr. Bo
Which Ole Miss quarterback will show up against the Cajuns on Saturday?
Rebels senior Bo Wallace has been wildly erratic to start the season. When he has been bad, he has been putrid. But when he has been on, he has been brilliant.
He threw three first-half interceptions against Boise State in the season opener and followed with three second-half touchdown passes.
Wallace already has more than 700 yards and five touchdowns this season, and he has a plethora of receivers to spread the ball around to.
But Wallace might not need to be great Saturday. The Rebels young defense has been impressive, forcing five interceptions and holding opponents to a 32 percent conversion rate on third down.
Bright spot Brooks
There weren’t many positives to take away from the drubbing the Cajuns took at the hands of the Bulldogs on Saturday, but Haack turned in his second consecutive solid game in garbage time.
Haack slung some darts in the closing minutes of the loss, going 10-for-13 for 87 yards, including a touchdown on the game’s final play. He is 14-for-17 on the season with a pair of scores.
Should be good
The Cajuns should at least have the services of two of the three defensive starters that missed the game against Louisiana Tech.
Senior linebacker Jake Molbert (muscle fatigue) and junior defensive end Marquis White (ankle) — neither of whom dressed against the Bulldogs — should be available with an added week to recover.