‘Pooyie!’ Red Wolves go to Cajun Country
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 18:10
The Arkansas State Red Wolves football team journeys to Cajun Country Tuesday for a nationally-televised conference showdown against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.
The two extra days off are important for a banged-up ASU squad, giving players time to recover from nagging injuries and coaches the opportunity to analyze game film, said head coach Gus Malzahn.
ULL, currently ranked second in the Sun Belt, possesses the league’s third-best rushing defense, providing a stiff challenge for the Red Wolves’ top-ranked ground attack. Malzahn emphasized the importance of running the ball against a “big and athletic” defensive front.
The coaching staff is also concerned about sophomore quarterback Terrance Broadway, who split time with senior Blaine Gautier until the latter suffered a broken throwing hand. Broadway has tossed five touchdowns this season and ran for four over the past three games.
“I’m very impressed with him. He is very athletic, and it looks like he throws the ball pretty decent too,” said Malzahn. “He is a very good quarterback.”
“He is pretty involved. They have a great group of running backs and receivers, but I can tell that he’s able to make plays and the team feeds off his energy,” said redshirt sophomore safety Sterling Young.
The Ragin’ Cajuns only losses have come from Oklahoma State and North Texas. Their early success has made Tuesday’s game crucial for the Red Wolves, whose opportunity at a conference title was bolstered by Western Kentucky’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe Saturday night.
“We knew [ULL] had the makings of a very good team, especially from what they showed last year. This is one of those teams that make you feel like they can compete for the whole thing, and obviously right now that holds true,” Malzahn said.
ULL’s success stems from their ability to create turnovers. They lead the league in turnover margin and have what Malzahn calls an “opportunistic” and “aggressive” defense. The Ragin’ Cajuns have recorded at least one turnover in every game this season.
One of ASU’s main concerns is special teams play. Against South Alabama, the Red Wolves shanked two punts and had another blocked.
“Believe it or not, there were some parts of the special teams that we actually improved on. However, when you have a game like that, there is nothing really on my mind but the punt team,” Malzahn said. “We are getting better, but the punt team is definitely a factor, and I plan to get more involved with that aspect of our team.”
The Red Wolves will continue its journey for a SBC title Tuesday at 7 p.m.