Welcome everyone to the latest edition of #4Downs where I break down what went right and what went wrong for the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns! This week, I look at the Cajuns 30-28 loss to Coastal Carolina.
1st Down: Lewis Stalled Offense in Key Drive
After a rough end to the first half for the Cajuns, it seemed like things were starting to turn around with 14 unanswered points thanks to a pair of big runs by Elijah Mitchell and Raymond Calais respectively to make it a two-point ballgame. Add the fact that the defense recovered a fumble to stop another potential scoring drive, it felt like there was a chance that the Cajuns could take the lead late in the third quarter with another solid drive.
However, Levi Lewis was put into the ballgame and things wound turning a little bit sour after a solid start for the sophomore as he went 3-for-3 to start the drive. You just saw the offense buckle in a crucial moment and that wound up being a key reason why the Cajuns dropped to 1-2 on the season.
2nd Down: Hail to the King (Calais)
Speaking of Raymond Calais, he had a strong performance on Saturday night with almost 200 all-purpose yards. However his big moment was definitely the 61-yard run to get the deficit down to two-points.
The Cecilia product showed off his speed on that run, with no one able to touch him once he got across midfield. Add the fact that he racked up 108 yards rushing on only five carries, this is a guy that I wouldn’t want to try and keep up with.
3rd Down: Triple Option Trouble
One of the keys that I mentioned in the preview earlier in the week was that Coastal Carolina has a tough offense to prepare for with their triple option and that became clear towards the end of the first half with several chunk plays. Undoubtedly the biggest chunk play was when Kilton Anderson hauled it down the line with a 59-yard run before getting taken out of the game due to an injury.
Even then, backup Bryce Carpenter was able to hold it down for the rest of the second half and hold on to that nice lead that they had built up.
4th Down: Offensive Line Struggles in First Half
One of the big takeaways that I had from the first half was that Andre Nunez didn’t look like the same guy we saw to start the season. He had a hard time getting things going in the first half, going 3-for-7 for 71 yards and two sacks.
The Chanticleers defense saw a weakness in the Cajuns game and forced Nunez’ hand throughout. He had some strong moments, especially with the 53-yard pass he had to Ja’Marcus Bradley, but he wasn’t able to keep it going on that drive. With that in mind, it seems like we’re still going to see two quarterbacks in Napier’s system for the foreseeable future.
Extra Point: Coastal Carolina Better Than We Thought
Is Coastal Carolina better than we assumed they were. Yes, this is another FCS transplant that we’ve lost to but this one seems to hurt a lot more with Coastal Carolina projected by some pundits to finish at the bottom of the Sun Belt.
It’ll be interesting to see how they do the rest of the season, but they’ve already exceeded their win total from last season and a lot of that may have to do with the return of Joe Moglia after taking a sabbatical in 2017 due to a medical condition.
For what it’s worth, the year before joining the Sun Belt the Chanticleers were 10-2 under Moglia. They’ll have a true test next weekend against the Troy Trojans and if they can get another big road win, this could be a team that proves that preseason polls are about as useful as the letter g in lasagna.