This isn’t quite the same Georgia State team as years past. Yes, the Panthers are just 2-5, but they just played Arkansas State tough on the road and they possess one of the nation’s top passing attacks. The Cajuns defense will be challenged by Georgia State quarterback Nick Arbuckle, who is averaging well over 300 yards per game this season for a Georgia State offense that entered last week ranked 15th nationally in passing yards. And remember, the Panthers gave the Cajuns a heck of a fight last season at Cajun Field. Georgia State’s problem has been with a defense that is yielding 37 points per game.
On a wet and blustery night at Cajun Field, the Cajuns stormed back from a 24-9 halftime deficit to topple ULM at home. It wasn’t a pretty game by any means. The Cajuns once again missed opportunities to force turnovers and again dug themselves a massive hole to climb out of in the second half. But, for once, they did it. Brooks Haack came off the bench to lead three second-half touchdown drives and the Cajuns defense turned in a lock-down performance after being gashed in the first half. Could this have been the turning point for the season? Stay tuned.
Haack will get a lot of credit for those three touchdown drives that won the game, particularly for his 64-yard strike to Jamal Robinson for the go-ahead score. That praise is deserved, but those points wouldn’t have meant anything if not for the effort of the players on the defensive side of the ball. ULM gained just 106 yards in the second half as the Cajuns held the Warhawks off the scoreboard. Mario Osborne’s strip sack of ULM quarterback Garrett Smith on ULM’s final offensive play might’ve been the most important play of the day.
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Here we are again: the Cajuns’ starting quarterback failed to generate anything offensively, and the coaching staff had to turn to the guy on the bench to start a rally. This time the roles were reversed, it was Haack providing the spark in relief of Jalen Nixon. Will that performance, combined with Nixon’s periodic struggles in the passing game, be enough for Haack to reclaim his starter’s job? Probably so, but coach Mark Hudspeth was not saying as much after the game.
“What can I say about these guys’ resilience, about their attitudes, about their determination? I can’t say enough about these guys. You can always fix schemes, you can always fix technique. You can fix a lot of stuff. You can’t fix effort. You can’t fix determination.” — Hudspeth, on his team’s refusal to allow the 24-9 halftime deficit to get in its way.