Ragin’ Cajuns look for running room against Texas State _lowres

Associated Press file photo by DAVID STEPHENSON -- Louisiana-Lafayette running back Torrey Pierce finds room between Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen, left, and linebacker Khalid Henderson to score a touchdown during the Ragin' Cajuns' 40-33 loss Sept. 5 in Lexington, Ky.

Coming up

The Cajuns will try to build on the positive momentum from the second half of their 40-33 loss to Kentucky in their home opener against Northwestern State. The Demons were 34-20 losers to Southeastern Louisiana in their first game, and if the Cajuns play like they showed they’re capable against Kentucky, they should leave the field with their first win of the season. Don’t sleep on the Demons though. Remember, just last season Northwestern State went to Ruston and emerged with a win against a Louisiana Tech team that had won back-to-back games by at least three touchdowns.

Looking back

Things started about as bad as they possibly could against Kentucky. The Wildcats’ first play from scrimmage went for a 75-yard touchdown, and they picked up six more plays of 25 yards or more in the first half as they built a 24-7 halftime lead. But the Cajuns roared back to tie the game at 33 in the fourth quarter and very nearly pulled off the upset on the road. There are a lot of things to fix from Week 1, but there are just as many things to like. Now the Cajuns just need to find some consistency.

Saturday’s star

Who picked Torrey Pierce for player of the game in their office pool? Liar! The senior running back, playing for the first time after a season-ending injury in Week 6 last season, torched Kentucky for 110 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries. He ignited the comeback with a pair of long runs and provided a much-needed breather for star running back Elijah McGuire, who finished the game with a career-high 31 touches.

Keep an eye on

We didn’t necessarily think the Cajuns quarterback competition would carry on past Week 1, but Jalen Nixon forced that conversation to continue. He engineered the Cajuns’ comeback with effective play in both the read-option and passing games and was the best quarterback on the field. But the Kentucky defense had also played against a different style of quarterback for most of the first three quarters, and Brooks Haack deserves the benefit of the doubt after a mostly solid performance.

Worth repeating

“Coming in playing an SEC team, at this stadium with the noise and talent that (Kentucky) has, it showed a lot about our team. Even though we came down with the loss, it shows where we could be headed in the future. We made a good comeback. It showed that we have a lot of fight in us and I’m just excited to see where we’re going from here.” — Nixon taking the positive from the close loss.