Arguably the most difficult game on the Cajuns schedule is coming up at easily the worst possible time. The Cajuns must travel to Boone, North Carolina, to face Appalachian State this week, and they need a win into keep their hopes of playing in a bowl alive. Since moving to the FBS last season, Appalachian State has won eight of its 11 games at home. This season, the Mountaineers have lost just two games — one to No. 1 Clemson — and are the Sun Belt’s top-ranked team in total offense, total defense and scoring defense. They’re really good, they’re really good at home. This does not look good.
The Cajuns’ sixth loss of the season looked a lot like some of their previous ones. They gave up some costly big plays defensively in an otherwise solid night. They fell behind in the first half and stormed back in the second half, only to see it fall short. It’s starting to take on a feeling of a doomed season, which may in fact be the case. There are two games remaining, and they might be the last two games of the season for a team that had conference title aspirations in August.
Elijah McGuire finally looked like himself Saturday. The junior running back, who’d looked uncharacteristically human in his previous four games, was back to his superhuman ways against New Mexico State. He announced his return to the stratosphere with a 64-yard touchdown burst through the middle of the New Mexico State defense, then tacked on a vintage Eli McGuire 27-yarder later where he cut back against the grain and juked a couple defenders out of their shoes. McGuire finished with 159 yards and two scores and is now the only active FBS football player with 3,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in his career.
Keep an eye on
The kicking situation. Freshman kicker Stevie Artigue was dealing with some tightness and ultimately found out he was not able to perform after he missed a 37-yard attempt. The Cajuns used Carlos Alvarez to kick off and Aaron Bird to kick field goals and extra points. Alvarez’s performance is tough to gauge because of howling winds, but Bird connected on every one of his opportunities. They could be called on again.
“They know right now we’re not playing as well as we can play. That’s pretty obvious. It don’t take Captain Obvious to tell us that. We’ve just got to improve, and we’ve got to improve in all facets of the game.” — Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth.