It was not the most amazing game to watch, but the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns willed their way to a 23-21 win over the Georgia State Panthers. In getting back to .500 on the season, let's take a look at the good, bad, and ugly of the Cajuns win.
- Getting The Win: In the end, all that matters is getting a win. This 23-21 win gets the Cajuns to 4-4 on the season and puts them in shape to still get 7-8 regular season wins. All they have to do is win two of their final four games and they will be bowl eligible. It would be better to win at least three of the final four and remove all doubt. It wasn't a pretty game, but they got the win.
- Special Teams: Other than a missed 42-yard field goal, the Cajuns were excellent on special teams. Stevie Artigue made field goals from 40, 21, and 49 yards, Gary Haynes had a 42-yard punt return, and the Cajuns blocked a punt with Montrel Carter recovering for a touchdown. In addition, Steven Coutts had three of his five punts downed inside the 20-yard line, with another landing for a touchback.
- Al Riles: The junior had his best game of the season with eight catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. He showed a good connection with quarterback Brooks Haack all game long. He is now only two catches and 14 yards short of establishing career highs in both categories. He has only gotten better and better since making the move after his redshirt freshman season from defense to offense.
- Pass Defense: The Cajuns knew coming into this game that Georgia State would throw the ball quite a bit. They were unable to slow down the Panther passing attack very much at all, giving up 312 yards in the air and three touchdowns. In addition, the Cajuns secondary committed three pass interference and a defensive holding penalty. Not the best day for the Cajun secondary.
- Offensive Balance: As much as the coaching staff talks about a more balanced offense, it is hard to believe with 41 rush attempts and only 27 pass attempts. Defenses are so focused on stopping Elijah McGuire, so it would seem that some early play action passing would give McGuire and company more room to operate.
- The Two-Quarterback System: The coaching staff said to expect both quarterbacks this week. Instead of waiting for a good time to give Jalen Nixon a series, he was instead showhorned into the game at the start of the second quarter. His interception came with the Cajuns up 17-7 and a chance to put the game away. Louisiana was never quite able to find their rhythm after that drive, barely finding a way to pull out the win.
- 12 penalties for 126 yards. Three pass interference calls, two false starts, a huge holding call that negated a 21-yard run, and three personal foul penalties. The Cajuns looked undisciplined and poorly coached versus Georgia State.
Play of the Game:
- The failed Georgia State fake punt. It seemed like the only way the Cajuns would score late would be from a Panthers error. For some reason, running a fake punt inside their own 25-yard line was a decision made by the Georgia State coaching staff. The field goal made six plays later gave Louisiana the lead at 23-21.
- The Ragin' Cajuns head to Mobile, Alabama to face the South Alabama Jaguars. With both teams at 4-4, this is a huge game that will determine who makes a Sun Belt bowl game.