BY CODY JUNOT
Special to The Advocate
LAFAYETTE — Louisiana-Lafayette fell to UL-Monroe on Saturday afternoon at Cajun Field 56-50.
The Ragin’ Cajuns’ furious comeback fell short but as coach Mark Hudspeth and his staff look at what could have been, they need to look no further than third down.
Third down haunted the Ragin’ Cajuns on both sides of the ball. The Louisiana-Lafayette offense, despite coming alive late, scored 50 points and put up 526 yards of total offense.
But they struggled to stay on the field and convert third downs into first downs for much of the evening. The Cajuns were just 4 of 13 on third down.
The other side of the ball didn’t fare much better as the Ragin’ Cajuns defense yielded 593 total yards — 343 yards coming through the air — and allowed the Warhawks to convert 62.5 percent or 10 of 16 third-down attempts.
The Ragin’ Cajuns inability to capitalize on third down on both sides of the ball reared its ugly head in the final overtime.
Facing a third-and-7 the second overtime, backup Cajuns quarterback Andre Nunez hit Keenan Barnes down the sideline but Barnes was ridden out of bounds, forcing an incompletion and the Ragin’ Cajuns to attempt a fourth down kick. Backup kicker Calvin Linden pushed the 38-yard attempt wide right, turning the ball over on downs to the Warhawks.
Conversely, it was Derrick Gore’s 8-yard touchdown run on third-and-4 that gave ULM the road victory.
The Cajuns now head into an open week searching for answers on both sides of the ball.
After the week break Louisiana-Lafayette will travel to Sun Belt foe Idaho.