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Can The Cajuns Get Back On Track? Previewing Louisiana at Boise

After two rough outings, will things get better for the Cajuns?

Kevin C. Cox

GAME DAY INFO

WHO: Louisiana (1-2) at Boise State (2-1)

WHERE: Albetsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho

WHEN: Saturday 9/20, 9:30 CST

WEATHER: 86°/60° 0% rain

KNOW THE ENEMY

Louisiana heads north this week to face the Boise State Broncos. Boise enters Saturday's contest with a 2-1 record, and is currently on a two game winning streak. The Broncos have defeated Colorado State and UCONN. They fell to Ole Miss in the season opener. While the Broncos are headed in the right direction, the Cajuns are not. Losers of two straight, Louisiana will be looking to turn their fortunes around this week on the magical blue turf.

The Cajuns and Broncos do share a common opponent in Ole Miss. Boise was able to keep things closer than Louisiana was, only giving up 35 points instead of the 55 that the Cajuns surrendered.  Boise comes into the game averaging 29.3 points per game and allows an average of 26.7 points. The Broncos just like the Cajuns have caught the turnover bug. Boise has given the football away six times but unlike Louisiana, their defense has been able to create takeaways too. The Bronco defense has intercepted 7 passes and caused three fumbles.  Their spread based offensive attack has capitalized on the turnovers, scoring 34 points off of the takeaways the defense has provided. Saturday's match up will be the first ever meeting between the Broncos and Cajuns. Boise is scheduled to make a return trip to Lafayette in 2016.

BOISE PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • Grant Hedrick, SR Quarterback: A member of the 2014 Preseason Davey O'Brein Award watch list has not disappointed through 3 games in 2014. The Independence, Oregon native is averaging 283 yards through the air and has tossed five touchdown passes. Hedrick has also been accurate, he enters Saturday's contest having completed 72.6% of his passes. The one knock on Hedrick would be the five interceptions he has thrown.
  • Matt Miller, SR Wide Receiver: Boise State's all-time receptions leader is off to a blazing start in 2014. Miller averages 103 yards per game, an amazing 16.3 yards per catch and has found the end zone three times thus far. Last week at UCONN, Miller even threw a touchdown pass.
  • Darian Thompson, JR Safety: The Lancaster, California native has been a ball hawk from his safety position. Thompson is tied for the team lead with two interceptions and is third in tackles. Of his 13 stops, two have been for loss.
  • Tanner Vallejo, SO Linebacker: After starting six games as freshman in 2013, Vallejo has taken over full time at linebacker in 2014. He leads the team in tackles with 18, has four stops behind the line of scrimmage and recovered one fumble.

HOW TO BEAT THE BRONCOS

  • PROTECT THE FOOTBALL: The Cajuns are currently minus eight in the turnover department on the season. I don't care who you are, if you turn the ball over, you will not win many games.
  • CONTROLL THE CLOCK: When the Cajuns have committed to pounding the rock, they have done a nice job. Louisiana is averaging over 200 yards a game and 5.5 yards per carry. If the Cajun offensive line is able to open up holes for backs Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris, Louisiana may be able to return home with a victory.
  • MAKE A PLAY OUTSIDE: With Jamal Robinson out, someone must step up and help out struggling quarterback Terrance Broadway out in the passing game. Broadway himself must also make sure that he avoids forcing any throws, if does he will see his interception total (currently at 7) rise.
  • GENERATE A PASS RUSH: The defense has been porous this season and a lack of a pass rush has a lot to do with that. Louisiana's inability to get to the quarterback has given wide-outs enough time to get out downfield.
  • DEFEND THE PASS: The Cajun secondary has been torched this season and Boise likes to air it out. This week the Cajuns moved Trevence Patt from safety to corner, and T.J. Worthy will move back to safety.
  • PREVENT THE BIG PLAY: The Cajun defense gave up 4 scores of 30 yards or more against Louisiana Tech, and again fell victim to the big play at Ole Miss. The Rebels scored on plays of 40, 56 and 71 yards.

KEY STATS

Points Per Game: Louisiana 26.67/Boise 29.3

Offensive Yards Per Game: Louisiana 416.3/Boise 455.7

Yards Allowed Per Game: Louisiana 455.3/Boise 403.3

PREDICTION

After two tough outings, things won't get any better for Louisiana. Boise is simply too good at throwing the football and the Broncos will exploit the Cajuns biggest weakness. Louisiana will play better than we've seen in the last two weeks unfortunately, it still won't be enough. Combine all of that with the 9:30 pm CST kickoff and Boise home field advantage, I see the Broncos coming away with a 48-24 victory. Check back after the game to get a full recap of Saturday's action.