Location: Cajun Field - Lafayette, LA
Date: Thursday, September 16
Time: 7:00 p.m. CT
Radio: Hot 107.9 (KHXT), ESPN1420 AM (Jay Walker, Chris Lanaux, Cody Junot)
Records: Louisiana 1-1 (0-0 SBC), Ohio 0-2 (0-0 MAC)
All-Time Series: Ohio leads 2-1
Last Meeting: 9/21/2019 Louisiana 45-25 Ohio
Thursday night national TV games are always a great game, and Louisiana matched up with Ohio this week will be no different. The Cajuns will be the home team after dealing with a second tropical system in this young season, and the Bobcats come to town looking to get into the win column after losses to Syracuse and Dusquene.
For Louisiana, the game plan is simple. Get back on track in a big way. After two close games where the Cajuns seemed to underperform, Billy Napier is looking for a big performance from his team, which is coming into this week averaging less than 3 yards a carry as an offense. That statistic is startling for anyone that has followed the Cajuns program over the last ten or so years. I expect a strong dose of Chris Smith, Emani Bailey, and Montrell Johnson Thursday night.
Defensively, the Cajuns have been solid. Sure, they’re giving up 4.8 yards per rush, but they’ve also faced Lindsey Scott Jr from Nicholls and Bi’jan Robinson, a consensus All-American from Texas. This defense under Patrick Toney is a much improved group full of veteran leadership that will make big plays against a young Kurtis Rourke for Ohio.
Injury wise for the Cajuns, Logan Newell is out with a lower body issue and both Ferrod Gardner and Errol Rogers Jr have been upgraded to questionable after missing last week’s game with an injury.
To say the Bobcats have been struggling to open 2021 is a understatement. After a loss to Syracuse where they didn’t find the endzone followed by a loss to FCS Dusquene after an opening kickoff touchdown was brought back, Tim Albin’s group is looking for any note of positivity before entering MAC play in two weeks.
Kurtis Rourke is running the show under center, which bodes well for Ohio considering his older brother Nathan is one of the greatest Bobcat QBs of all time. They also De’Montre Tuggle, a dynamic rusher who has family ties to Lafayette. This is an offense that can change the landscape of a game in a single play, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see those fireworks down on the Bayou.
Defensively, this group has seen the Cajuns before, At least five players on the Bobcat defense were also there in 2019 when Louisiana made the trip to Athens. This group will use that experience to their advantage and will make it very difficult for Levi Lewis and his skill players to get much of anything done.
This will be a battle of two strong, well-coached football teams. Louisiana will do big things on offense and the Cajun defense will hold the Ohio offense. 37-14 Cajuns