Getting to take the frustration of losing in the final minute to Kentucky, the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns dominated from the beginning in a 44-17 win over Northwestern State.
The Ragin' Cajuns offense put up 446 total yards, 269 that came from the rushing attack on an 8.7 yards per carry average, in the win. Running back Elijah McGuire (14/162/5TD) had touchdowns on five of his 14 carries for an 11.6 yards per carry average and a long of 88 yards. Torrey Pierce (12/52/1TD) had a solid game of his own with 52 yards, and quarterback Brooks Haack rushed for 55 yards of his own on the day.
The Ragin' Cajuns opened the game with a six-play, 75-yard drive that took just under two minutes with McGuire taking it in from seven yards out to take a 7-0 lead. Following a punt, McGuire was at it again with an 88-yard sprint to the endzone to give Louisiana a 14-0 with 9:07 still left in the first quarter.
Defense versus the rush was still an issue as Demons running back Chris Jones pulled Northwestern State within seven at 14-7 early in the second quarter. McGuire and comapny responded with his third and fourth touchdowns to extend the lead to 27-7. Northwestern State added a 21-yard field goal in the final seconds to make the score 27-10 in favor of Louisiana at the half.
The third quarter saws both teams trade touchdowns with McGuire adding his fifth score of the day to give Louisiana a solid 34-17 lead heading into the final stanza.
Torrey Pierce put the game out of reach to start the fourth quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run to cap a six-play, 74-yard drive that gave Louisiana a 41-17 lead on the first play of the quarter. A Steve Artigue 26-yard field goal capped scoring and gave the Ragin' Cajuns a 44-17 win.
Tracy Walker led Louisiana with nine tackles, followed by TJ Posey (8 tkl), and Zachary DeGrange (6 tkl, 1 sack). The Louisiana defense totaled four sacks and nine tackles for loss in the win.
The Ragin' Cajuns are back in action again on September 26 versus Akron.
With two games in the books, let's take a look at the positives and negatives of the week two win.
The Offense: Louisiana was able to have their way with Northwestern State offensively with 446 total yards, 25.3 yards per pass, and 8.7 yards per rush. Big plays were the norm for Louisiana with eight plays of 20 or more yards in the win.
No Turnovers: The only was a team like Northwestern State was going to challenge Louisiana was if turnovers became an issue. A crisp game that saw no turnovers on either side gave the Ragin Cajuns a chance to dominate throughout the game.
Staying Healthy: There are a few bumps and bruises but no one was significantly injured in the win. Louisiana has two weeks to heal up before facing Akron in a sneaky tough home game.
Haack Can Run?: Brooks Haack (7-8/187/0TD) was a dual threat during the game with 187 yards passing on only seven attempts as well as 55 yards rushing, clearly a career high. Hudspeth and company gave Haack full reins versus Northwestern State and Haack delivered.
Rush Defense: Nothwestern State was able to run all over the Ragin' Cajuns defense to the tune of 4.2 yards per carry on 48 attempts. 328 total yards given up is a good night, but it is troubling when an FCS program rushes for over four yards per carry.
Letting The Opponent Hang Around: Going into the fourth quarter, Louisiana was the lead 34-17 but hadn't quite put the Demons away. It is very important for the Ragin' Cajuns to find a killer instinct to put a team away before the fourth quarter.
Player of the Game: Elijah McGuire. Anytime you score five touchdowns, it is hard to give the award to anyone else.
Play of the Game: McGuire's 88-yard touchdown run. Leading 7-0, the Ragin' Cajuns essentially took the wind out of the sails of a Northwestern State upset bid with this run.