“In the end, you can’t do things to beat yourself. We’ve said for a long time that the #1 way to win games is to not beat yourself.”
Louisiana had a slew of miscues Saturday night that led to them ultimately beating themselves in a 21-17 loss to ULM.
Desormeaux said Monday that this team is better than what it showed Saturday night and they will be better by season’s end.
The loss to the Warhawks marks the first Western Division loss since 2017, which was also the last time ULM got the best of the Cajuns.
Let’s look at three of the biggest takeaways from the contest in Monroe:
Special Teams miscues were a killer
From a botched snap on a punt that resulted in a ULM touchdown to a bad field goal snap resulting in a turnover on downs, Louisiana’s special teams had one of its worst nights in recent memory.
Also, Eric Garror muffed a punt for the first time since 2019. The special teams group has been a highlight of this program over the last five years, which is why this performance was so uncharacteristic. The Cajuns left points and opportunities out on the field and it ultimately cost them the game.
Offensive Line struggles are worse than anticipated
The Cajuns were forced to replace four starters on the offensive line after 2021 when Max Mitchell went to the NFL, O’Cyrus Torrence followed Billy Napier to Florida, and Shane Vallot and Ken Marks Jr graduated. Throw in Tyler Brown transferring and Kam Waites also going to Florida and Louisiana was behind the eight ball in terms of the five guys up front.
Through four games, that’s been evident.
The Cajuns have put together 429 yards on 126 attempts so far, which averages 3.4 yards per carry. Saturday night, Louisiana had 17 carries that went for two or less yards. If you extrapolate those rushing numbers, the Cajuns will see a nearly 1500 yard decrease in rushing production from 2021. That was to be expected, however not to this extreme.
The two-QB system isn’t working
Chandler Fields and Ben Wooldridge are two very talented quarterbacks that are at the disposal of Desormeaux and offensive coordinator Tim Leger.
However, the old saying “when you have two quarterbacks, you have none” is starting to apply here.
Fields has been the starter since the jump, with Wooldridge playing about every third Louisiana possession. In certain moments, it seems like it works fine. However, in the grand scheme, it doesn’t allow either player to ever get continuity and develop a rhythm on the field.
For example, Fields leads two possessions in the first quarter that result in touchdowns. Wooldridge comes out, Cajuns go three and out, and it feels like momentum was lost. Louisiana was only able to muster a field goal the rest of the way.
Now, nobody’s placing the blame of the loss on Ben Wooldridge or the fact that both guys played. However, if one player is your hot hand and has something going, you can’t bench him. If your point guard rips off 12 straight points in a basketball game, would you sit him as the coach? Probably not. The same rule applies here.
Louisiana is now 2-2 and it’s the first time they’ve lost back to back games since 2018. This is unchartered waters for this football team, and it doesn’t get easier with the likes of South Alabama, Marshall, Troy, and Georgia Southern waiting in the wings.
Louisiana will host South Alabama this Saturday for Homecoming. The kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. at Cajun Field.