The Ragin' Cajuns (4-2) are off to a 2-0 league start for the second straight year. However, it was at this time last season, the Cajuns went 1-3 during a tough stretch of SBC play that eventually led to 6-6 finish and no bowl appearance. But going into Saturday's home game against Florida Atlantic, Coach Rickey Bustle knows his team must improve to compete for the league title.
"My biggest disappointment was the number of penalties (nine) we had (against Western Kentucky," Bustle said. "We have to play with better poise, discipline and focus.
"We're very fortunate to be 2-0 right now in the conference."
The Cajuns will certainly get a tough test Saturday against Florida Atlantic, which is coming off its first win, 44-40, over North Texas.
The Cajun's pass defense will face a huge challenge in trying to slow down FAU quarterback Rusty Smith, a former Sun Belt offensive player of the year. Smith has thrown for over 8,000 yards and 70 td's in his college career and is considered a viable NFL prospect. This season, Smith is average 250 yards per game and has only thrown 3 int's in 180 pass attempts. He is not a quarterback prone to throwing interceptions and is willing to pull the ball down at times and run. Smith is the best quarterback the Cajuns will face this season and will test the defense's soft zone often.
Smith has a trio of big targets to throw to in (6-2,185) Cortez Gent, (6-3,205) Chris Bonner and the (6-3, 215) Jason Harmon, arguably the SBC's best group of receivers. This group will present matchup problems for the Cajuns all over the field.
The Owls pro-set offense is hardly one dimensional in its attack with running back Alfred Morris averaging 104 yards rushing per game. Morris is a solid power back at 222 lbs., but also runs with good quickness.
Owls are not defensive…
FAU is not as impressive on the defensive side of the ball this season, allowing 234 yards rushing and 227 yards passing, for a total of 461 yards in offense per game. Dino Cox, 6-3, 280 has been the owls most impressive pass rusher to date with 3 sacks on the year. Linebackers Edward Bradwell and Michael Lockley lead the team in tackles with 37 and 49 respectfully on the year.
The Cajun's defense has been up-and-down the past two weeks in conference play and it will have its hands full with FAU's pro-set offense. The strength of the defense is the linebacking core of Daylon McCoy, Antwyne Zanders and Grant Fleming. This group is athletic and will need to have a good game playing in the soft zones and coming at Smith on the blitz at times. The secondary has had it's moments at times this season, and will need Dwight Bentley to play as many downs as his injured ankle will allow Saturday night. The def-line must put pressure on Smith because if he's allowed to sit in the pocket untouched, he'll have a lot of success.
The Cajuns are averaging 21.7 points per game, and have done enough offensively to be 2-0 in Sun Belt play. QB Chris Masson has thrown for 1,055 yards and six touchdowns and just four interceptions. He also has rushed for three touchdowns. Back-up quarterback Brad McGuire has played the last two games. He rushed for 59 yards against Western Kentucky in last weeks win at WKU.
The offensive line is a strength, and first-year starting quarterback Chris Masson has done an efficient job managing the offense. The Cajuns lost starting tailback Undrea Sails to a broken leg last week, so it will interesting to see how redshirt freshman Yobes Walker plays in the upcoming weeks.
TE Ladarius Green has become one of Masson's favorite targets. He is tied for the team lead with 20 receptions and averages 14.1 yards a catch and will need another big game to the Cajun offense move the chains.
Quote that make sense…
Head coach Ricky Bustle----""If we're going to win a conference championship, we better quit talking about getting better and just play better. We didn't play well. It drives me nuts to see so many penalties in a game. That's just a lack of discipline."
And in a game that is expected to be close, little things -- like penalties -- could determine the outcome.
NO need for motivation…
FAU spanked the Cajuns last year in Boca Raton, 49-20. The Cajuns should have no problem getting motivated for this game considering the results of last year's game and FAU's previous visit to Cajun Field in 2007.
Louisiana vs. FAU Game Day
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