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Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns: 2015 Season In Review

For fans of the Ragin' Cajuns, 2015 was a rare poor performance after four straight years of the New Orleans Bowl. Whether the team underachieved or injuries took a toll or other factors came into play, the Cajuns are sitting at home disappointed this season.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Rather than do our normal good, bad, and ugly of the latest Louisiana Ragin Cajuns loss this season, it is instead time to take a look at the 2015 season as a whole.

It has been a very disappointing season that included a four game losing streak to end the season. That streak took the Cajuns from 4-4 on the season and bowl hopes alive to a 4-8 season and massive disappointment.

Let's look at the season for Louisiana in our good, bad, and ugly format.

The Good:

  • McGuire gets to 1,000 Rushing: It was not easy running behind an offensive line that lost the battle of the line of scrimmage versus nearly every opponent. McGuire had to fight and claw for every yard gained this season. In the end, the junior rushed for 1,047 yards and 13 carries on a 5.0 yards per carry average, 640 yards more than anyone else on the team.
  • Dominique Tovell: The senior linebacker led the team in tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks on the season. His 14.5 tackles for loss were 8.5 higher than anyone else on the team. He ended the season with nearly 33% of the team's overall sacks and was one of the few defenders to play up to his ability in 2015.
  • Youth: The Cajuns lose only 18 seniors from this squad and should return a group that is hungry to get back to winning ways again in 2016. Only seven starters on the season finale depth chart were seniors. There is hope moving forward for the Cajuns with a solid recruiting class and lots of youth on the roster.

The Bad:

  • Offensive Line Play: From the opening night of the season, it was clear that the offensive line would be a bit of a liability for the Cajuns in 2015. They struggled all season long to hold their own versus teams at and below their overall talent level. It was a deadly blow to the Cajuns when their best lineman, Mykhael Quave, went down in early October with a rotator cuff tear. Major changes will be made on the offensive line by the time spring ball rolls around.
  • No Bowl Berth: For the first time under Mark Hudspeth, the Cajuns will be sitting at home during the bowl season. They had their fortune in their hands with four games remaining, but losses to South Alabama, New Mexico State, Appalachian State, and Troy sent them falling to a 4-8 record.
  • NCAA Investigation: The Cajuns were accused by the NCAA during the season of major NCAA violations. The players and coaches said that it was not a distraction, but recent history says that it had to be. In a season of performing below expectations, a huge distraction like the accusations was a back breaker.
  • Stopping The Run: In the end, the Cajuns are at home for the postseason because of their inability to stop the run. They gave up 183.8 yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry during the season. Several Sun Belt programs gashed the defense for huge days. It was a huge step back for the Louisiana defense after defending the run well in 2014.

The Ugly:

  • The Quarterback Carousel: The Cajuns coaching staff could not make up their minds which quarterback to go with throughout the season, jumping from Brooks Haack to Jalen Nixon to Jordan Davis at the end. The instability showed with the passing game only accounting for 208 yards per game and a 13:12 touchdown to interception ratio.

Best Performance:

  • 49-27 Win Over Texas State: The Cajuns came to play in this game, scoring 28 third quarter points in route to the win. McGuire rushed for 170 and Nixon passed for 238 with the Cajuns accumulating 526 yards of total offense.

Worst Performance:

  • 41-17 Loss To Troy: The Cajuns were embarrassed by the Trojans in this game, falling behind 24-0 in the opening quarter. After pulling within seven points at 24-17, they were boat raced down the stretch to the tune of 17-0 in the loss.

Team MVP:

  • Elijah McGuire: Despite fighting through injuries throughout the season, McGuire ended the year with over 1,000 yards rushing and 34 catches for 304 yards. The junior running back scored a team-high 16 touchdowns on the season. He now has over 3,100 career rushing yards, over 1,100 receiving yards, and 43 career touchdowns.

Up Next:

  • Spring Practice: With no bowl invitation, the Cajuns will start off-season workouts in preparation for spring practice and the 2016 football season.