Perhaps the most prevailing theme entering Thursday's UL-Ohio matchup was a strong desire on both teams to fare better on third downs on both sides of the ball.
For the Ragin' Cajuns anyway, it was mission accomplished … well, sort of.
On the defensive side of things, UL had allowed 19 conversions on third down in 31 tries through the first two games. On Thursday, that improved dramatically, limiting the Bobcats to only three conversions on third down in 11 tries during the 49-14 victory.
"Effort and really locking down on the pass coverage and quarterback scrambles," UL junior linebacker Lorenzo McCaskill said of the solution on third down. "That was our main thing – keeping him in the pocket and it's going to be hard to catch the ball on our DBs. That's exactly what we did."
Things were not as clear cut on offense, however. Technically, it wasn't really much of an upgrade there with UL only converting four of 11 tries on third down. But when you consider the fact that UL's offense ran 83 offensive plays to only 55 for Ohio and the Cajuns were successful on all three fourth-down tries, those numbers are a bit deceiving.
In other words, UL's response to third-down issues was simply to get the first downs on the two early downs.
"Third down avoidance is a big part of playing successful offense," UL coach Billy Napier said. "If you can avoid playing third down, it's one of the best things that can happen to you. We did take a two-down approach and sometimes that affects the third-down statistics, but we also evaluate the conversion downs.
"If we made it on fourth, then our plan worked. I think there were numerous examples of that."
Overall, the Cajuns posted 33 first downs in the big win and scored in all seven red zone opportunities, while Ohio didn't score in either red zone chance.
Unfortunate play call
Quarterbacks typically have a few passes each game they'd like to have back.
UL's offensive coaching staff certainly had a call they regretted in the first half Thursday.
Leading 14-0 and getting possession at its own 47 early in the second quarter, UL attempted a razzle-dazzle, double reverse and it resulted in an 8-yard loss and subsequent punt.
That snafu seemed to halt UL's momentum for three possessions, but the drive right before the half regained the momentum.
"We sputtered around there in the second quarter a little bit," Napier said of the sudden slump. "We had a three-and-out, a four-and-out, we ran a reverse into a pressure, got a grounding penalty, we got a tipped ball … we had three possessions we didn't score there.
"We were very fortunate to execute the two-minute – the defense gets a stop – and then we execute the two-minute before the half there to get a little bit of momentum going into halftime."
Not sky kicking
Starting in the Texas game, the Cajuns began kicking the ball short on kickoffs and typically covering real well.
Initially, it seems curious, but seemed to work well enough that it looked like a strategy perhaps.
It wasn't, as Napier cleared up after Thursday's win.
"Those are not sky kids buddy," Napier laughed. "I wish they were. Those are just bad kicks to be honest with you. That's an area of our team where we need to improve. We hit a couple early that were what we expect and what we want. As the night went there, we've got to fix that. But we did cover kicks tonight. I thought both of our cover units did a really good job in the game.
"We've got to get better ball placement, better hang time and certainly we've got to get it down there."
UL defensive end Zi'Yon Hill did not play in the game due to a lower-body injury. There were times during Thursday's win that his absence seemed noticeable with Ohio rushing for 104 yards in the first half.
Left tackle Carlos Rubio started after missing the Nicholls game. During the first drive of the second half, Rubio left the game shortly with an apparent injury, but returned before the end of the drive.
As expected, wide receiver Errol Rogers also did not play in the game and senior linebacker Ferrod Gardner missed his second straight game.
The Cajuns were also forced to play most of the second half without special teams standout Jayrin Wilson, who was ejected from the game for targeting after a big-hit tacklie on a kickoff return with 10:03 left in the third quarter.
- Ask a Publicist: Should Celebrities Purge Their Offensive Tweets?
- President Obama’s Commencement Address to Howard University (Full Transcript)
- Industries Turn to Bracewell Lobbyists to Scuttle Product Safety Rules
- These (Not So Popular) Social Media Mistakes Could Land You In Court
- You Lose Some, You Win None
- Live updates: Michigan Wolverines down in fourth at Northwestern Wildcats
- Live updates: Michigan Wolverines down in third at Northwestern Wildcats
- Detroit News predictions: Detroit Lions vs. Arizona Cardinals
- Why Richard Wright Hated Zora Neale Hurston
- How To Fix A Damning Business Review
- Philly Is About to Get a Radical District Attorney. How Much Can He Really Change?
- Street Harassment: What Men Can Learn
- Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood in review – The main scenario
- The Shouting Class
- ESPN Editor: Jeremy Lin Slur 'Unintentional'
- Twitter has failed at controlling horrifying anti-Semitism
- 9 Things to Consider When Starting Therapy
- Project Gorgon: Early Access Preview
- What Well-Meaning Men Don’t Understand When It Comes to Life as a Woman
- Dealing With Black Boys Who Deal Drugs
UL's offense addresses third-down woes by avoiding them have 994 words, post on www.theadvocate.com at September 16, 2021. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.