The Cajuns lined up for their second straight Tuesday night showdown, this time at home against the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Both teams came in undefeated in the conference, and sporting some shiny new Adidas gear.
Here's another good look at the Cajuns unis. pic.twitter.com/4ElchMOu1i— Luke Johnson (@LukeJohnsonAdv) October 21, 2014
Arkansas State's uniforms. pic.twitter.com/2PbzlTkWib— Luke Johnson (@LukeJohnsonAdv) October 21, 2014
Even before kickoff we knew this one would be strange when the UL band director fell off his post, breaking his leg. It was that kind of night.
After a short first drive, UL punted and the game really began. A-State and the Cajuns traded touchdowns (both failing to convert PATs because why not), and have kept scoring since. The Red Wolves would add a 44 yard field goal, because that's apparently easier than an extra point, and UL would score a full seven points on the ensuing drive.
It didn't take very long into the second quarter for the Cajuns' Christian Ringo to add a second sack, and for the offense to add 21 more points. This time with Elijah McGuire getting in on the action.
After throwing a pick early in the second quarter, Fredi Knighten and the Arkansas State offense struggled . This was especially problematic because the Red Wolves still hadn't found a solution for the Cajuns running back tandem of Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire. The pair would ultimately combine for eight rushing touchdowns on the night.
Going into the game we expected Arkansas State's conference leading defense to give the Cajuns fits, especially in the passing game. But the Cajuns found a way to move the ball without worrying about those defensive backs. McGuire was expected to be a standout on offense, but Harris seems to be the one punishing the Red Wolf defense the most.
Arkansas State did manage to score on one of the strangest touchdown runs in recent memory. Even by Sun Belt standards. Check it out.
Running back Michael Gordon seemed to be tackled on a short gain, when in fact he was laying on one of his linemen. Because the officials swallowed the whistle, the play wasn't dead, unbeknownst to the Cajun defenders. Gordon quickly got up and scooted 70 yards with no Cajuns (other than a lumbering Jacoby Brisco) giving chase.
That weirdness stopped the bleeding, and put the Red Wolves back in the game. The Cajuns were forced to punt on the next drive, and Arkansas State took immediate advantage, scoring on the first play with an 87-yard touchdown strike from Knighten to Paschal.
The half came to a close with both teams trading punches, punts, and an A-State fake kneel down. At one point the Cajuns were up by 25, but the Red Wolves would not go quietly into the night.
The second half proved to be an odd change of pace. After a first half that was chock full of #FunBelt, we got a little bit of defensive performance. As a matter of fact, if it wasn't for a botched Arkansas State fake punt FROM THEIR OWN SIX YARD LINE, the score wouldn't have changed in the third.
Both of these teams made solid adjustments at the half, but the Cajuns extended their lead.
The night was highlighted by some special performances for the Cajuns. Punter Daniel Cordona has added two punts of more than 50 yards, and another for 49. Kicker Daniel Cardona actually recorded three tackles on the night. On defense, Christian Ringo had another standout performance with two sacks. Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire had four touchdowns each, and McGuire recorded 265 rushing yards, with 156 at the half.
Fredi Knighten would put up 334 yards and three touchdowns for the Red Wolves, and Michael Gordon would ad 134 yards and a touchdown before going down with a scary knee injury in the second half.
The night would end on another scoring flurry from both teams, and despite A-State pulling within eight, the game never really felt like it would slip away from the Cajuns after the half.
The Red Wolves move to 4-3 (2-1), while the Cajuns get back into the black at 4-3 (3-0). Both teams enjoy an extended break before facing Idaho and South Alabama respectively. The Cajuns are now in the driver seat for the Sun Belt, with only Georgia Southern challenging their crown, despite not playing the Cajuns or Red Wolves this year.