With a handful of expected starters nursing injuries and a move into the recently completed Athletics Performance Center on the schedule, this week’s open date couldn’t have come at a better time for the Cajuns. They’ll now have a full two weeks to settle into their new digs, get healthy and prepare for an Akron team that, to this point, has struggled to move the ball against Power Conference foes Oklahoma and Pitt. The Zips, like the Cajuns, have operated with a dual quarterback system for the first two weeks of the season.
After throwing everything they had at Kentucky, the Cajuns kept their game plan as basic as they could against FCS opponent Northwestern State — and it worked. The Cajuns rolled up 360 yards on the ground as they worked their way to a big lead. Quarterback Brooks Haack didn’t need to throw much, but he was lethal when he did, completing 7-of-8 passes for 187 yards. The defense is still a work in progress as it left receivers running free too often, but it made nine stops in the Demons’ backfield.
After what was a pedestrian opener by his standards, junior running back Elijah McGuire showed he’s still the same explosive back that everybody remembers. He scored four touchdowns in the first half, including one on an 88-yard blast through the heart of Northwestern State’s defense, and finished the night with a school-record-tying five touchdowns in roughly two and a half quarters of work. That’s a solid way to get back on track for what should be another huge year for the Cajuns star.
Keep an eye on
The Cajuns aren’t as healthy as they’d like to be right now. Four key players sat out the Northwestern State game, and while they may have been able to play if the Cajuns really needed them, it’s still worth monitoring during the Cajuns extended preparation time for Akron. Jalen Nixon, Al Riles and T.J. Worthy should be ready, but Darzil Washington will likely be out until conference play starts.
“Coming off last week we had a bad taste in our mouth. … The plan was to come out of the gates and hit them in the mouth and keep running the ball. We executed real well tonight.” — McGuire on the Cajuns putting the Kentucky game behind them with purpose.