Location: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas
Start Time: Saturday, Sept. 16 at 11:00 am CT
TV: SEC Network
Live Coverage: 107.9 FM/1420 AM
The Series: Aggies lead 5-1
Betting Line: Aggies (-24)
The Ragin’ Cajuns are coming off of a shootout against Tulsa, where they gained 596 offensive yards and scored 42 points, as opposed to the Golden Hurricane’s 66 points. This game alleviated some concerns about the potential for the new offensive personnel of the Ragin’ Cajuns to produce, but now they go into an extremely unfriendly SEC stadium where they will face a real test. They are big underdogs heading into the matchup against the Texas A&M Aggies, but there are some paths (albeit slim paths) to victory that the Cajuns can take.
How Has the Season Gone So Far?
It is hard to get a reliable read on a team after they have played only two games in a season. Year-to-year there are certain expectations of performance due to the amount of returners, scheduling, and how the most recent season went. None of this matters once the first few games have been played, as the true nature of a squad starts to reveal itself. Each of these teams have much to prove after their first two contests, and this game can be the turning point.
Texas A&M Aggies
Texas A&M looked like they were ready to bring the heat this year in their season opener against UCLA. The Aggies had the game in hand for the first three quarters. Then Josh Rosen broke loose and finished off one of the best comebacks in college football history. They would end up losing the game, and it took a clear toll on the Aggies’ play in their next contest against FCS team Nicholls State.
An SEC team winning 24-14 against an FCS foe is never a good sign in any context. While the Aggies put up a valiant effort against UCLA, there was nothing to write home about against the Colonels. The Aggies will need to come out strong against the Ragin’ Cajuns if they don’t want their season to go off the rails. This team out of Louisiana has proven already this season that they can put up points and take advantage of opportunities that come their way.
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
The Ragin’ Cajuns are coming off of a loss to Tulsa, but they found themselves in an offensive rhythm late during that game which may define their entire season. Coming in to 2017 the general consensus was that the defense would lead the charge, helping the offense maintain productivity. If the season were to end today, the offense would be the more valuable side of the ball, as the Cajuns’ defense has given up 114 points over two games.
There is a lot to be optimistic about for this offensive squad. The new offensive scheme seems to be gelling early, and quarterback Jordan Davis has started to step up as a leader. He accounted for 4 touchdowns against Tulsa, using both the air and ground game. It is clear that his time in the program is starting to show through his on-field performance.
A lot of things need to fall into place in order for the upset to occur in this game. It’s possible, but unlikely. Here is a short list of the things that need to go right for the Cajuns if they want to pull it off:
- Show up on the defensive side of the ball. First and foremost, it will be a long day for the Cajuns if they cannot slow down the Aggies’ offensive attack.
- Keep the offense rolling. The theme of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ season thus far has been points, points, points. 207 combined points over two games. Luckily, the Cajuns’ offense has been effective enough to account for almost half of those points. If they can keep that up, they can hang in there for this matchup.
- Special teams needs to be a factor. The first game of the year for the Cajuns saw two kickoff return touchdowns in one quarter by Raymond Calais. These kinds of plays are useful both on the scoreboard and in garnering momentum. Momentum is one of those intangible aspects of football that you can’t measure, but wins countless games.
Texas A&M had a 36.5 point advantage according to the spread against Nicholls State last week. They won by 10 points. This week the Aggies have a 24 point advantage according to the spread. While it’s not likely that they fall to the Ragin’ Cajuns, stranger things have happened. This game could easily turn into another shootout.