The Cajuns Defense Pulls Together Post Bye Week
The Ragin' Cajuns limped into their bye week last week after a double overtime loss at the hands of Sunbelt opponent, ULM. In addition, their quarterback, Jordan Davis has been dealing with an injury, and the defense has looked beaten and battered all season long. Rest was very warranted.
The challenge after the bye was a trip to Moscow, Idaho for yet another Sunbelt Conference game to face the Vandals.
Now, coming into this game Head Coach Mark Hudspeth told voice of the Ragin' Cajuns Jay Walker at his very own Coaches Show that he was supremely confident that his defense would raise to the occasion Saturday afternoon. However, would his team be able to back up their coach? That was to be seen.
The Vandals got on the board first with a D.J. Henderson short yardage touchdown run and you thought, "Oh no, here we go again."
On the third offensive drive of the game for UL, Coach Hud made a change at quarterback as Jordan Davis still did not look like his explosive self that we saw earlier this season.
Enter, Andre Nunez. The Junior transfer was getting his second game action of the season and on his first offensive series he would bring UL down the field and set up a Dion Ray touchdown run. We were tied at seven.
Nunez's next offensive series would go just as well as his last. He utilized a multitude of offensive assets in bringing the team down the field and it was another runner that would finish off the drive. This time it was Freshman tailback, Trey Ragas.
With the Cajuns now in front 14-7 the defense was responsible for holding and hold they did.
Nunez and the offense were able to get the ball back with a chance to go up double digits. Unfortunately, the Vandals defense was up to the task as they picked off an Andre Nunez pass and set up their offense with good field position.
The mark of a good defense is standing up amidst tough circumstances and the Cajuns defense would bend but wouldn't break as they held Idaho to a field goal.
We headed for halftime with the Ragin' Cajuns leading 14-10.
Coming out of the locker room the Cajuns would receive the opening kick-off and led again by Andre Nunez. When you have an opportunity to extend a lead, especially on the road you certainly want to do it. Well, it only took a couple plays but again it was Nunez making a play. This one, the biggest of the game thus far when he hooked up on a 45 yard touchdown strike to Ja'Marcus Bradley to increase the lead to 21-10.
From there all the Idaho Vandals were able to do was muster a couple of field goals while their defense continued to hold UL in check offensively as well.
Late in the fourth quarter from the Cajuns 30 yard line the Vandals offense faced a crucial 4th and 3 with just under two minutes to go. The Cajuns defense needed one stop. On this play it would be defensive end Joe Dillon putting the heat on Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan, and his pass fell harmlessly incomplete.
With 1:47 in the 4th quarter and Idaho having all of their timeouts it was going to take two first downs for the UL offense in order to ice the game.
Trey Ragas picked up the first one they needed on their first offensive play. Then, on a 3rd and 4 Ragas came through again picking up 13 yards and a win for the Ragin' Cajuns. UL holds on for the victory, 21-16 over the Idaho Vandals.
The win was the teams second of the year and first within the Sunbelt Conference to move them to 2-3 on the year and 1-1 in the Sunbelt.
Next week, the Cajuns return home to Cajun Field to take on Texas State (1-5). The game is scheduled to be played on Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 6:30pm.