It took about a quarter for UL to shake the offseason rust, but once they did, the game quickly got out of Southern's reach. In part due to the balmy weather, Terrance Broadway had a tough time getting started, going 5/8 passing with an interception in the first quarter. But Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire got things moving on the ground, while Jamal Robinson chipped in with a few circus receptions.
Converted slot receivers Al Riles and Matt Barnes also struggled a little bit catching the ball, combining to miss four passes in the first half alone, but tight ends Larry Pettis and Nick Byrne ended up being bright spots both as blockers and receiving.
Before the season we expected the secondary to be the weakest part of the Cajuns' team, but to still hold their own. Well, if tonight was any indication, UL may have a little trouble containing opposing receivers. Southern finished the night with 202 passing yards, the vast majority being produced by freshman QB Austin Howard in replacement of Deonte Shorts, also a freshman.
The offensive line also struggled a bit to keep Broadway upright, though they didn't give up any sacks. Broadway did scramble quite a bit, frequently opening opportunities downfield. Not counting Broadway, four backs took handoffs for the Cajuns, with Elijah McGuire racking up 129 yards on the night.
Leading up to the game the line moved from giving Southern 24.5 points, to 34.5. Despite UL's slow start, the former was achieved in the first half. The larger spread was also covered midway through the fourth quarter on a 2-yard pass from backup Brooks Haack, who replaced Broadway in the fourth quarter with the game out of hand.
As with any team in week one, the Cajuns have some things to clean up. But there is no reason this can't still be a special season. I'll be looking for an improved offensive line going into week two, and possibly some movement in the secondary. Overall, this was a good win for UL. They managed to learn their flaws so they can be addressed early, and they didn't leave much on the tape for opposing teams to study.