TROY at UL-LAFAYETTE
4 p.m. Saturday, Cajun Field
RADIO: KPEL-AM, 1420
FAVORITE: UL-Lafayette by 2
Top storyline: The QB discussion gets one last look
Saturday will be the last time the Ragin’ Cajuns take the field this season. With the way this year has gone, it’s fitting that there are still questions about how the quarterback position will be handled.
What’s currently unquestioned is that junior Brooks Haack will once again be the starter. What remains to be determined is how strong his hold on that job is going into 2016 and whether it’ll loosen in the final game.
Redshirt freshman Jordan Davis orchestrated the Cajuns’ lone scoring drive last week at Appalachian State, playing a part in all 81 yards the Cajuns covered on the drive.
He completed all seven of his passes for 60 yards and had three rush attempts for 21 yards, including a 20-yard scamper for a touchdown.
It was a small sample size on an ultimately meaningless drive, but it was one guy doing everything the Cajuns have been trying to find with the two-quarterback situation they were rolling with for much of the year.
It was not enough for Davis to earn a starting job in a game that similarly doesn’t have any meaning as far as postseason contention is concerned. Hudspeth said earlier this week that Davis simply hasn’t earned the right to start a game and, given his position as overseer of the program and the time he spends with the players, his word must be trusted in this situation.
Davis won’t start, but he will play against Troy. He might play one series; he might play three or four. But it will almost certainly come in a situation when the game isn’t already in hand.
If he delivers another performance like he did against Appalachian State against another good defense, it will give Hudspeth and his offensive staff something to think about during the long offseason.
The odd man out at this juncture appears to be junior Jalen Nixon, who could never quite manage enough in the passing game to hold on to the starting job.
Since he became Haack’s backup, the majority of Nixon’s snaps have come in running situations. Hudspeth said this week that it’s a possibility that Nixon switches to running back this offseason, where his physical build could provide a lift to a suddenly anemic rushing attack.
Either way, things aren’t much clearer now than they were in August and September. One game won’t change that, but it should provide more material for the coaches to use to ensure this doesn’t happen again next season.
1. Ground to a halt Both Troy and the Cajuns have had difficulty getting the running game going recently. The Cajuns have two sub-45-yard efforts in their past three games, and the Trojans have gained just 149 yards in their past two games. The correlating factor: When the run game isn’t going, points are hard to come by for both teams.
2. Sack party again? Troy’s defense has been one of the Sun Belt’s best at getting after the quarterback, especially vs. league opponents. Nineteen of Troy’s 25 sacks have come in its seven Sun Belt games. That’s not great news for a Cajuns offensive line that was dominated at the line of scrimmage last week.
3. Silvers bullet Then a freshman, Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers shredded the Cajuns for a career day last season, completing 85 percent of his 34 attempts for 272 yards and three touchdowns. In 10 games this season, Silvers has completed nearly 60 percent of his passes for 16 touchdowns against seven interceptions.
4. Senior day Eighteen Cajuns will be honored at Saturday’s game, many of whom were members of Mark Hudspeth’s first recruiting class. It’s a rather inglorious end for a group of players who have played a large role in the revival of the program, but they should still be a motivated bunch for their final college action.