Terrance Broadway and Kenneth Dixon are the top players on offense for their respective teams and how they are defended will be two key points to this game. The offensive lines for both teams will also be put to the test, but for this discussion we will debate the Cajuns offensive line against Louisiana Tech's defensive line.
Terrance Broadway vs LA Tech Secondary
Matt Monte: Broadway looked good in the first game, but I'm not sure if the same can be said for all of his receivers. Jamal Robinson is the go-to guy, especially when a play breaks down. He always has the advantage on the defender, and makes freakish catches even when they look impossible. But Robinson can't be the only outlet for the passing game, especially against this Tech secondary. Jared Johnson will need to continue showing flashes of brilliance like he had against Southern. Likewise, Al Riles and UL's slot receivers will have to be reliable if the Cajuns intend to make it past Tech unscathed.
Jason Jones: The Bulldogs have some extremely talented players in the secondary; including Lloyd Grogan, Kentrell Brice, Xavier Woods, Levander Liggins, and Adarius Barnes. These five players are just a handful of the highest profile recruits that the Bulldogs have landed in recent years. Their talent has translated to the field and they are the strength of the team's defense. They took a while to get going against Oklahoma, but they competed hard and ended up holding Trevor Knight to a 56% completion rate.
Kenneth Dixon vs ULL Linebackers
JJ: Kenneth Dixon averaged 2.6 yards per carry against Oklahoma, after averaging 6.1 last season. While the Cajuns have a physical front seven, they aren't Oklahoma. ULL gave up 4.9 yards per carry last season in a five point home victory against Troy; they followed that up with a better performance against ULM. ULM won the game by three points, but the Warhawks rushing attack was mostly held in check (3.8 ypc.) The Louisiana Tech offensive line averages 311 pounds and they will need to do a better job of opening running lanes for Dixon. The Cajuns were 47th in the nation in rushing defense (150.7 ypg) last season.
MM: UL has a few fresh faces at linebacker, but I think this battle will depend more on the defensive backs. With the secondary help the Cajuns need, they won't afford to be able to leave too many men in the box. UL will get Jake Molbert and Chris Hill back at linebacker for this game, and that should be a boost for the run defense, but they'll have to play disciplined to keep the Bulldogs in check..
I fully expect Tech's play calling to revolve around spreading the Cajun front seven out, with a bit of pre-snap motion thrown in for good measure. The name of this game will be putting UL's limited resources into the right gaps, because who knows if they'll be able to rely on the guys behind them for help.
ULL Offensive Line vs LA Tech Defensive Line
JJ: LA Tech will rotate in four defensive tackles, led by 317 pound Vernon Butler, that average 310 pounds per man. They will have to do a better job than they did against Oklahoma, but they should provide a challenge to 324 pound Guard Daniel Quave, 295 pound Center Terry Johnson, and 315 pound Guard Donovan Williams. It should be a war in the trenches on Saturday night.On the outside, the Cajuns feature a couple of junior 295 pound tackles in Mykhael Quave and Octravian Anderson.
Their backups are younger and a good bit lighter, but the starters are solid. Tech on the other side is also not deep at defensive end. 256 pound Houston Bates and 245 pound Vontarrius Dora are very active and should be able to put pressure on Brodway. Despite both being 5th year seniors, backups Mike Schrang and Andre Taylor have limited experience at the defensive end position. Schrang is a converted linebacker, while Taylor has totaled 35 tackles in three years as a reserve.
MM: The Tech secondary and their size at tackle should make for a long day for UL's offensive line. Better coverage on the receivers means they will have to hold the pocket longer than they would like, but UL does have the advantage of an extremely mobile quarterback in Broadway. I expect Octravian and the brothers Quave to hold their own for the first three quarters, before feeling a little fatigue in the fourth. Luckily Tech's ends should also be feeling that fatigue after chasing Broadway all night. On both sides, depth will be the deciding factor, IF the game is close in the fourth quarter.