Football Looks to Bounce Back

All good things must come to an end and the Bearkats win streak was one of them.

The chances of winning the Southland conference are gone, but their playoff dreams are not.

“If we can win the last two games,” Keeler said. “We make the playoffs. Simple as that.”

The Bearkats look to get off to a good start to that goal against a Northwestern State team that has found its stride and is riding a two game win streak.

Against McNeese, the Bearkat offense struggled to ever get going, scoring only three points with 15 first downs.

One bright spot was running back Cory Avery, who turned in the first 100 yard rushing performance against the number two rushing defense in the nation.

The addition of running back Jalen Overstreet back to the depth chart should help immensely against a much weaker run defense in Northwestern, who is giving up an average of 279 rush yards per game.

Another play who looked good was sophomore receiver Grant Finney, who had 4 receptions for 58 yards filling in for LaDarius Brown. Finney will have to do it again against Northwestern and hopefully we will see a few plays tailored to Finney’s strengths.

McNeese managed to limit the up-tempo, 90 plus play a game Bearkat offense to only 66 plays, which was a big reason for their defeat.

The defense should take their performance with a grain of salt since they were on the field for 37 of the 60 minutes of the football game.

The Bearkats were once again plagued by a potent running attack, giving up 305 yards on the ground.

One of the bright spots from the McNeese game was a 90 yard pick-6 by junior cornerback Darion Flowers.

The other place Bearkat fans should be happy is with the performance of sophomore P.J. Hall, who added another two tackles for a loss to his growing total.

“He [P.J.] looks more dynamic,” Keeler said. “He got off to a bit of a slow start, which he wasn’t too happy with, and I think he was a little worried about a sophomore slump. Luckily, he broke out of that, and has really come out strong for us the past couple of weeks, and really picked up where he left off last year.”

P.J. and his friends on the defensive line are going to have to come up big for the Bearkats this week and they should have a much easier time than they did last week.

The Northwestern offensive line has allowed 22 sacks and has lost 255 yards from tackles for a loss.

This is a problem for Northwestern, as their biggest strength is having two quarterbacks both averaging over 100 yards through the air, and have come up big for them the last two weeks.

“It’s definitely different,” Keeler said. “Their styles aren’t too different, so that’s a benefit. We just have to get pressure early and often. If we can get in their faces, and get them uncomfortable in the pocket, that would be huge.”
If the Bearkats needed any more motivation than making the playoffs, they have two additional reasons to win this game.

The first, is that it is Senior Day.

“We want to send those guys off with a win,” Keeler said. “The mindset is a little different, because we have seniors who have really impacted this team, and we would love to give them a win in their last regular season home game.”

The other is a little beef with Northwestern that started after the Bearkats lost to this team last year.

“It’s never good to let your emotions run a game,” Keeler said. “But I think our guys will come out mad. After we lost last year, and they refused to shake our hands, our guys were pretty upset. I’m hoping they remember how that felt, and come out ready to play.”

The keys to the game are defensive pressure and getting the run game going again.

The game is on Saturday at 2:30 at Elliot T. Bowers.

Leave a Reply