Red Wolves offense stagnant in conference loss
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 17:10
This game was circled by many in the Sun Belt Conference. A game that many said would set up the path to a potential Sun Belt Conference title.
Arkansas State came into this matchup coming off a convincing 48-24 victory over Idaho on Homecoming night, while Louisiana-Lafayette came in fresh off a convincing 37-20 victory of their own against Western Kentucky.
A matchup of two Sun Belt teams figuring to be in the Sun Belt race throughout the season quickly turned into a slaughter as ULL would coast to their fifth straight win with a convincing 23-7 victory in front of 24,578 fans at Liberty Bank Stadium.
“Tonight we didn’t execute well,” Head Coach Bryan Harsin said.
“The routine plays, over and over, we didn’t execute tonight. There’s a concern on all phases of offense after tonight. We need to go back and do the little things well.”
A top tier matchup turned ugly quickly as the Red Wolves offense would struggle right out of the gate.
Shades of Memphis seemed to show in this game, as Louisiana-Lafayette would take advantage of each opportunity that was given to them.
The Red Wolves offense would struggle right out of the gate.
Senior quarterback Adam Kennedy would throw his only interception of the night on the first drive of the game.
Kennedy would wind up with only 89 yards passing on only 11 completions and 21 attempts.
Kennedy’s longest throw totaled only 18 yards.
“I think we struggled to get a rhythm going,” Kennedy said.
“Coming in, we knew they were good. But there were plenty of plays out there for us, certainly myself, that we missed, that I missed, that could have changed the game.”
The first drive interception would set the tone for what would be the Red Wolves night. Not so much in terms of turnovers, but in terms of offensive struggle.
ULL would immediately take over at midfield following the opening drive interception, marching the ball down to the Red Wolves 19 yard line before opening the scoring with a 36 yard field goal from sophomore Stephen Brauchle.
Arkansas State would go three and out on their next possession, setting up ULL once again at their own 23 yard line.
From there, the Ragin’ Cajuns would march 77 yards down the field for the game’s first touchdown, scored on a three yard run by Alonzo Harris.
It was the first of two touchdowns on the night for Harris.
After falling behind 17-0, the Red Wolves would show some life.
After a sophomore Rocky Hayes interception set up Arkansas State at the ULL 39, the Red Wolves would punch in their only points of the contest in six plays, capped by a three yard rush from Kennedy, making the score 17-7.
For some, the pivotal moment came late in the second quarter.
With the Red Wolves in possession, three straight running plays, capped by an unsuccessful fourth down conversion on a trick play attempt, would set the Ragin’ Cajuns up at their 32 yard line.
From there, ULL would go on an eight play, 47 yard drive to close the half, culminating in a field goal from Brauchle, making the score 20-7 and for some, the score put the game out of reach.
The Ragin’ Cajuns would dominate the third, possessing the ball for all but less than a minute and a half.
The Cajuns would only muster another field goal to set the final score of 23-7 in the quarter, but the Red Wolves offense struggles continued, as did the defense at times.
ULL converted three of six third down opportunities in the third, including a 15 yard personal foul penalty, which gave ULL another first down.
“A foolish play,” Harsin said. “That’s not who we are.”
“I’m proud of our defense,” Harsin continued.
“They gave us a chance tonight, on a night where we struggled offensively.”
The Red Wolves defense did play well, with senior Ryan Carrethers totaling 16 tackles.
Junior Qushaun Lee totaled 13, while sophomore Chris Stone and junior Artez Brown each totaled seven tackles in the loss.
It was not enough, however, to undo the Red Wolves offensive struggles.
Possessing the ball for only 17:42 of game time, the Red Wolves mustered a mere 168 yards of total offense on only 46 offensive plays.
Kennedy accounted for 124 of those 168 yards, rushing for 35 yards to go with his 89 yards passing.
The Red Wolves would also bring in only 10 first downs on the night.
Sophomore J.D. McKissic was the lone bright spot in receiving, totaling 51 yards.
For Louisiana, running back Alonzo Harris would total 105 yards rushing on 29 carries to go with two touchdowns.
Quarterback Terrence Broadway went 18 for 28 passing for 205 yards and an interception.
Unlike the Red Wolves mere 46 plays, the Ragin’ Cajuns ran 86 total plays and totaled 470 yards total offense.
The Ragin’ Cajuns now move to 5-2 overall and 3-0 in Sun Belt Conference play and now control their own destiny.
Meanwhile, the Red Wolves drop to 3-4 and fall to 1-1 in the Sun Belt.
The Red Wolves will continue play on Saturday, Nov. 2nd when they take on the South Alabama Jaguars at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 P.M. and will air on ESPN3.