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October 14, 2013

Analyzing the Enemy: Louisiana-Lafayette

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The Cajuns are coming, the Cajuns are coming! If you consider yourself a college football fan, the setting on Tuesday night couldn't be better. Two of the Sun Belt's best under the lights at Houchens-Smith Stadium on ESPN2. Regardless of whether you are a fan of Joe Davis and David Diaz-Infante, the ESPN announce team, it's a showcase game for the Hilltoppers across the entire nation.

After a couple of early payday losses at the hands of Arkansas and Kansas State, the Ragin' Cajuns have appeared to hit their stride with three consecutive wins that began with a brush-that-dirt-off-your-shoulders thrashing of Nicholls State, a tough road victory over the Zips of Akron, and an impressive conference opening stomping of Texas State where they held the Bobcats to 196 yards of total offense, including just 76 yards passing.

While their defense is coming off an impressive performance, the Louisiana-Lafayette offense is just as impressive, averaging 38.8 points and collecting 459.2 total yards per game so far this season. They are balanced offensively, of those total offensive yardage stats, 217.2 of those are rushing while 242 come via passing.

The Cajuns number one offensive weapon is quarterback Terrance Broadway, who's thrown for 1,153 yards and 10 touchdowns while rushing for another 154 yards and four scores. Since Western Kentucky was lucky and didn't have to defend the great Kolton Browning in their last outing, Broadway will be the best dual-threat quarterback the Tops have faced this season. Good thing the WKU defense is peaking.

Louisiana-Lafayette offensive playmakers:

Terrance Broadway - 1,153 passing yards, 10 TD, 4 INT - 154 rushing yards, 4 TD
Alonzo Smith - 329 rushing yards, 3 TD
Jamal Robinson - 23 catches, 379 yards, 6 TD
Darryl Surgent - 17 catches, 186 yards, 2 TD

Let's shift gears and focus on the Cajuns defense, who's allowing 386.4 total yards per game, 219 of those through the air and 167.2 via the ground. Defending the pass has been a problem at times this season for our fellow Sun Belt brethren from Louisiana, they've allowed 305 passing yards to Kansas State and 321 yards to Akron. With WKU coming off an FBS record-breaking passing yardage performance, this could be an opportunity the Hilltoppers could take advantage of on offense.

Lafayette's best defender is linebacker Justin Anderson, who can sniff out ball carriers like a beagle with a keen nose for rabbits in an open field. Anderson has already recorded 51 tackles, 3.5 of those for loss, and even has an interception under his belt this season as well. I have a feeling Anderson and the rest of the linebacker corps for the Cajuns will be keeping an eye on one, Antonio Andrews.

Ragin' Cajuns defensive playmakers:

Justin Anderson - 51 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception
Trevence Patt - 21 tackles, 3 pass break-ups
Chris Hill - 27 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack

Louisiana-Lafayette enters the game in first place in the Sun Belt Conference with their win over Texas State, it will be a battle for conference supremacy on Tuesday night under the lights of Houchens-Smith Stadium - hopefully, the joint will be blacked out like last year's Super Bowl.

Prediction: While both teams are currently riding three-game winning streaks, I think defending the likes of Terrance Broadway could pose too many problems for the Western Kentucky defense, 38-34 Cajuns.

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