The Louisiana Ragin Cajuns jumped out to a dominating 31-7 lead in the third quarter Saturday night against Buffalo, but before long it was 45-38 and the Bulls were threatening to score again. The Cajuns were able to hold on and pick up the seven-point win, but there’s no time for celebration as now Michael Desomreaux’s team will travel to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers out of the Big 10.
“We have a great opportunity”
This will be a challenge for Louisiana as this will be by far the toughest opponent they’ve had in 2023. Minnesota is long and physical while possessing an obvious advantage in recruiting. However, Desormeaux and his coaching staff know the opportunity that is in front of them.
“This week, we got a great opportunity to go up and face a really good Minnesota football team,” Desormeaux said at his weekly press conference. “That’s what our focus is right now moving forward. They’re disciplined, they play really hard, they’re extremely well-coached. They have a really big long football team, they got really good players, and they’re coming off of a really tough loss. They had a game go just the way ours did, and they ended up coming up short. So I know we’re gonna get their best. We have to make sure they get ours.”
Zeon Chriss had a great outing
The redshirt freshman quarterback was impressive in his first collegiate start. The former Madison Prep star went 22-29 for 249 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 70 yards and two touchdowns. His biggest blemish on the night were his two interceptions, one of which was a throw away attempt that didn’t get out of bounds.
“Zeon played really well,” Desormeaux said. “I mean, I’m proud of them. He’s a big part of it on offense. We had one penalty on offense, a holding penalty, and you can live with those. Those happen now and then. It shouldn’t, it’s a technical thing we can fix. But we had no procedure penalties, which we had quite a few that week before. So he operated the offense much better, which is the most important thing. I don’t care who’s back there. They got to get the play call. They’ve got to get the operation and they’ve got to run it effectively. If you start having pre-snap penalties, then you’re shooting yourself in the foot and you got a real problem. So he did a really good job of that.”
Defense continues to be solid
The Ragin Cajuns’ defense has been strong to start the 2023 season, with their two most recent flaws coming with short rest and offensive mistakes.
However, the Cajuns are up to 18 sacks through four games, which leads the FBS. Louisiana also has four interceptions in the last two games, including one returned for a touchdown. They’ll now look to rattle Darius Taylor and the powerful Golden Gophers rushing attack. However, Desormeaux knows you don’t create a good defensive group by yourself.
“Number one, you got good players,” Desormeaux said. “We’ve talked about that defensive line and the front end, kind of what we felt that group could be for our team from the beginning. But our defensive staff had a good plan on defense, and we talked about that a little bit, we had a good plan for those guys.”
“Some of it was a straight rush where you win one-on-ones. Which is man on man. That’s one guy against another. A lot of them though, we had some pretty good games called. We’re able to get some of the linebackers into the right stunts or movements. Then certainly it comes down to execution. So, again, it’s like you asked about running the football, it’s the same thing right there. It takes design, and communication to make sure that we have it called in the right settings, and then it takes execution to go out there and go do it.