After losing two straight matchups to Coastal Carolina and Alabama, the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns are in must-win mode on Saturday when they travel over to San Marcos, Texas to take on the Bobcats of Texas State. Why is it must-win? Well, this could help make up for the tough conference opener thanks to some unusual finishes in the Sun Belt Western Division last weekend.
Let’s get on with the preview!
Last Time Out:
The Cajuns made the trip over to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to take their lumps this past weekend with a loss to the Crimson Tide by the score of 56-14. Meanwhile, the Bobcats of Texas State had last weekend off after losing a close ballgame back on September 22nd against the UTSA Roadrunners.
The last time these two teams faced off, it was in a Thursday night matchup that saw the Cajuns control the ballgame en route to a 24-7 win. In fact, the Cajuns have not lost a matchup to them in the series.
Storylines to Watch
At first glance, the Ragin Cajuns don’t seem to have a quarterback controversy after four games with Andre Nunez as the starter. It’s clear he’s the guy that Billy Napier wants to have as the starter, but is aware that Levi Lewis has the potential to be a spark for this offense and that is the cause of some of the “controversy”.
Looking back at the loss to Coastal Carolina, Levi Lewis came in on what was a pre-planned drive after they forced a fumble to give them another chance to take the lead in the second half when the momentum was on their side in the third quarter. That didn’t last long though as they were forced to punt on what was a crucial drive.
With that performance in mind, the Cajuns will continue to use a rotation at the position but will be dependent on how they perform throughout the week in practice. That will be an interesting thing to monitor as the season progresses.
Will Zi’Yon Hill Play?
It felt like there was no chance that the New Iberia product would play last weekend against Alabama after suffering a shoulder injury, but it’ll be interesting to see if Hill does play in the ballgame against San Marcos. According to Billy Napier, he’s been rehabbing well so far and is questionable for the big Sun Belt conference matchup this weekend and would be a huge loss in what many consider to be a must-win ballgame.
If he can play on Saturday, I’d expect him to have a big performance and be a key cog for a defense that is looking to bounce back from the last few ballgames.
Bad Luck Bobcats
If there was an accurate comparison for Texas State, it would likely be the Cleveland Browns headed into this season. It’s been almost three years since the Bobcats have won a conference matchup and it seems like this team is turning the corner with another team with a similar record.
Napier knows for a fact that they’re hungry for a win and if they can perform like they did two weeks ago, the Bobcats could very well pull off an upset and snap a pretty lengthy losing streak in Sun Belt play.
Louisiana Will Win If:
The Cajuns will get a much needed win this weekend if their defense can control the run game. The last few weeks have been a revelation that there’s still work to do in the front seven, especially when you look strictly at the Coastal Carolina game where the triple option controlled much of the ballgame at Cajun Field.
They’ll get some favors with the run game for the Bobcats being towards the bottom of the conference in rushing, but they’ll need to show that they can stop the run here.
Texas State Will Win If:
The Bobcats will get the win if they can affect what Andre Nunez and/or Levi Lewis do, especially in the first half. Going back to the Coastal game, it felt like Nunez was under pressure throughout the evening and that led to the passing game having a hard time the rest of the way.
If we see that happen, the Cajuns will have a hard time climbing out of that hole.